Drug and Alcohol Interventions
A drug and alcohol intervention is a technique used to guide a person dependent on drugs or alcohol to seek the help they desperately need and deserve. When administered effectively, an intervention can be a successful tool used to get the individual in need of help to a rehab center so they can begin their road to recovery.
An intervention is when a group of people who are mutually invested in the well-being of another person come together to intervene on their behalf in the hopes of changing the negative trajectory their life is currently on. There are many techniques to choose from when planning to do an intervention. However, the fundamentals of all intervention strategies are the same and they all share the same goal.
Usually the people involved in a drug and alcohol intervention are the folks closest to the addicted person and often include family members, spouses and sometimes close friends. Because the goal of an intervention is to get the person who needs help checked into a rehab center, you’ll want to make sure to involve the people that they are most likely to listen to and feel safe with. This will give the best chance of getting though to them.
Having close family and friends at the forefront of the drug and alcohol intervention also helps the addict or alcoholic to see his or her dependency behaviors and the effects they have on others from a different perspective. Addiction and alcoholism are very selfish diseases and it is often hard for the person to get outside of themselves long enough to think about others and the harm they are causing them. Having close family and friends to share their feelings in a constructive way can cause the dependent person to see their actions from a different point of view.
Is Someone You Love in Need of an Intervention?
Keys to Setting Up and Executing a Successful Intervention
Note: Should the client refuse treatment, educate the family/friends/employer on setting boundaries with the client. A behavioral contract is useful.
An Opportunity to Listen and Be Heard
The end goal of a drug and alcohol intervention is to get the addict or alcoholic to be agreeable to checking into a rehab center immediately after the intervention. However, trying to make them feel worse than they already do is not the goal. The goal is to help them see the whole perspective and the domino effect these dependencies can have on not just one, but multiple people all at once. Drug and alcohol addiction often ruins the lives of entire families and it is imperative to get all those affected the help and healing they need.
The drug and alcohol intervention is used as a time to give family and friends a platform to speak. This opportunity can have therapeutic effects for loved ones of an addict or alcoholic which is an added benefit.
The hope is that listening to the well thought out words of their loved ones resonates with them and that they have a desire to check into a rehab center; not just for themselves but for the benefit of the others that are important to them as well.
Keeping in mind that pain is often a trigger for most addicts and alcoholics, the tone which is used to communicate with the addict or alcoholic during a drug and alcohol intervention is very important and needs to be considered. While naturally they will feel guilt and pain when hearing the stark reality of their actions, there are ways this can be minimized.
The Value of a Script
Using a scripted dialogue is very useful tool in this case. When we read from a script we are more likely to stay calm, cool and collected versus letting our emotions run wild. It is okay however to show some emotion but it needs to be in a controlled manner. For a drug and alcohol intervention a script will be in the form of a pre-written letter. Reading your letter will force you to stay on topic and to not get too heated or emotionally charged during the intervention. Theatrical speaking can often distract the person who needs to listen the most.
Each person’s letter to the addict or alcoholic should follow a similar outline. Each letter should typically touch on: what the dependent person means to you; how their addiction to drugs or alcohol have affected you; how you would feel if you lost that person to drugs or alcohol; what you are prepared to do if the person doesn’t stop drug or alcohol use (an ultimatum); and most importantly the letter should end with the biggest question of all which is whether they will go to a rehab center to get the help they need? This model would most resemble the Love First Model. While other models are similar they will vary slightly on things such as how much confrontation is involved, whether or not to use an ultimatum, how much knowledge the addict or alcoholic should have about the intervention ahead of time, etc. Knowing the personality type of the addict and other circumstances that exist will help determine which tactic will be most suitable for that individual.
The Intervention Specialist
Determining when to have the intervention will be up to the planning committee, which is composed of the family and friends that will be involved in executing the drug and alcohol intervention.
Intervention specialists are available to assist friends and family in the planning and execution of a successful drug and alcohol intervention. This person is highly-skilled and trained in this field and can be used as a resource in achieving the best possible result – which is to get the addict or alcoholic to say yes to going to a rehab center.
Intervention specialists have been a part of many drug and alcohol interventions and know what works and what doesn’t. They will impart this knowledge to you and you may use that information to tailor a strategy that will hopefully yield the best possible outcome of getting your loved one into a rehab center as soon as possible.
Intervention specialists can also share the pros and cons of each model to help you make an informed decision on which one to utilize. They are privy to knowledge like what will likely have the least amount of triggering effects during an intervention. They can offer feedback and help during the planning stages of the drug and alcohol intervention and even attend the intervention should the family and friends so choose. Essentially, they can be involved in as much or as little as the intervention group would like. Much like a party planner is hired to throw a successful party, an intervention specialist can be an integral component to planning and executing a successful intervention.
There are many intervention specialists to choose from near you. Be sure to ask the right questions when making your choice. Have an idea of what kind of intervention technique the group would like to use. Find out what credentials and experience the intervention specialist has and make sure those fit your needs.
Preparation For Success
The intervention should take place in a familiar and safe environment for the addict or alcoholic. Typically you would choose a place where the risk for drug or alcohol use is minimal. If a family home has positive memories associated with it that can be a great option. However, family homes can also have negative associations and should be avoided in that case.
Preparation is also a key component to a successful intervention. For instance, it is very common for the person to agree to go to the rehab center if they can use or drink one last time. Work with your intervention specialist to have a plan in place if this request occurs. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard and jeopardize the whole intervention by not being prepared. Loving family members and friends coupled with a professional intervention specialist will be set up for the highest chances of success.
Arrangements for what rehab center the patient will check into should be made ahead of time. The biggest mistake people can make when planning an intervention is to not have this lined up prior to the scheduled intervention. The end goal of the intervention is always to get the person who needs help to agree to check into a rehab center right away. The best gift you can give them is this opportunity.
If arrangements aren’t made ahead of time the emotional effects the intervention had on the addict or alcoholic can quickly cause them to want to numb the pain they feel by using drugs and alcohol as soon as they leave. This is highly counterproductive. Having a reputable rehab center ready and able to accept your loved one will be paramount to the success of an intervention.
Once the person has accepted the help, the Orchard on the Brazos is here for them every step of the way.
If your loved one does not agree the first time to check into a rehab center, do not get discouraged. Much like addiction recovery, it can often take multiple attempts to be successful.
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” ― Winston S. Churchill