Drug abusers and alcoholics are infamous for exhibiting strong signs of denial. When confronted by family members, friends or loved ones about their addiction or a need for help, substance abusers commonly choose to run from the problem or deny its existence altogether. The word intervention is defined by the Medical Dictionary.com as the process of intervening. In this setting it is deconstructing an individual’s substance abuse downward spiral. By intervening, family members or professionals interrupt the inevitable decline of an addict or alcoholic.
Many interventions are done differently, but all serve the same purpose—to rapidly get the struggling individual the help he/she needs.
When is an Intervention Necessary
It commonly occurs that alcoholics and drug abusers admit their issues and reach out for help. This is an unfortunate situation and yet a positive response to resolving one’s medical condition. There are many thousands of individuals suffering with addiction and alcoholism who deny that they have a problem, and continue to risk their lives with heavy substance abuse on a regular basis.
When is it time to perform an intervention? Opinions can vary, but many professionals agree that because time is of the essence in all substance abuse situations, it’s always better to act quickly than to wait until it’s too late.
When it appears that an individual is endangering himself/herself and others with a chronic substance abuse situation, offers for help are refused or substance abuse is continually denied—it’s time for an intervention.
Family interventions can be performed privately within the addict’s home, or with the help of a professional interventionist.
Performing a Family Intervention
The purpose of an intervention, whether performed as a family or under the guidance of a professional interventionist, is to communicate strongly yet lovingly to the addict or alcoholic that change needs to occur, right away.
Family interventions can be conducted in a number of different ways, but usually the friends and family involved in the intervention each take some time to express their feelings about their loved one’s abuse, how it has affected them personally and what they hope the addict to achieve.
Because drugs and alcohol enter emotional variables into the situation, interventions can get heated, violent or bogged down in a matter of a few moments. Professional interventionists are trained and experienced in how to deal with denial, emotional outbursts, runaways and other roadblocks that can get in the way.
Below is a very basic example of steps one might take to organize a private family intervention.
- It is noted by Wikipedia that prior preparation is essential to any successful intervention.
- In the days leading up to your family intervention, decide who will attend, when it will be held and where exactly everyone will meet. It is a good idea to have all family and friends present well before the addict/alcoholic shows up.
- Determine who, if necessary, will be responsible for getting the substance abuser to attend.
- Do not announce that you’re holding an intervention; keep this fact hidden.
- Have participating family members and loved ones write down their thoughts, feelings and key discussion points for the intervention—decide on a rough time limit for everyone to be able to get their points across.
You may also find it helpful to have already information on a few treatment facilities to hand, just in case. Further, look ahead to any questions you anticipate will be asked (such as those concerning children, a job or other responsibilities) and be able to answer these quickly without hesitation.
- In carrying out an intervention, it’s very important to remain calm whenever possible. Emotional expression is inevitable, but avoid heavy violence or yelling at all costs.
- Maintain the theme that the addict/alcoholic is loved by all present.
- Avoid tactics of blame or finger pointing; the intervention is merely to offer help and gain some agreement from the addict that he/she will get help.
Above all keep in mind that this could be the beginning of a new life for someone who has struggled with drugs. Do everything necessary to help them get into an effective treatment program.