Addiction lntervention Drugs and Alcohol
Addiction or alcoholism intervention means taking drastic measures before its too late. If an addict/alcoholic can’t be honest, its time to intervene before more damage is caused to themselves or others.
- Contact a alcohol and drug treatment professional with a established track record of successful interventions.
- Make a list of key family members, friends, co-workers and employers to take part in the planning and intervention.
- Meet with professional counsellor to discuss and evaluate the situation honestly.
- Discuss barriers and difficulties that have been a hindrance to seeking help in the past.
- Plan the actual intervention, rehearsing what each person in the group will say to the addict/alcoholic.
- Schedule the actual intervention at a time when the addict/alcoholic family member will be available and hopefully sober.
- Confront the addict/alcoholic in a loving but honest manner, letting him know that their drinking is effecting more than just himself
Addiction interventions can back-fire and cause more problems than they provide solutions. Don't attempt one without advice from a trained professional.
Sometimes it is the only choice left
Sometimes when the addict/alcoholic's problems reach the crisis level, the only choice left to their family is professional intervention.
What is intervention?
Basically it comes down to confronting the addict/alcoholic with how their using has effected everyone around him. The addict/alcoholic’s family, friends, and employers tell the addict/alcoholic in their own words how their (or her) drinking has been a problem in their lives.
But it is not as simple as that. Interventions should be carefully planned and developed by professional substance abuse counsellor who are experienced in such procedures. The only purpose of an intervention is to get the addict/alcoholic to go into a treatment program.
Most alcohol and drug treatment centres have counsellor who are trained to help families prepare for the confrontation, which always takes place in a "controlled" environment, specifically selected to put the addict/alcoholic in a position in which he is most likely to listen.
Many times these interventions take place at the workplace, with the full cooperation of the employer.
Sometimes, the intervention comes as a total surprise to the addict/alcoholic, but recently new techniques have been developed in which the members of the intervention team tell the addict/alcoholic that they are talking with a counsellor about their drinking problem several days prior to the actual intervention.
Does it work?
With the new method, the addict/alcoholic realizes that the most important people in their life are meeting about their problem, and when he is finally invited to the discussion, he does not feel as "ambushed" as with the earlier intervention techniques.
If the addict/alcoholic does decide to enter the treatment centre, he is more apt to be less angry than with the former procedure of surprising him with the confrontation. He feels less manipulated and usually enters the program with the attitude of trying to get better from the start.
With the old method, many times the addict/alcoholic agreed to the treatment, but started the recovery process with an "attitude."
Some risks involved
Professional intervention is not an option for every family and every situation. The decision to choose the intervention path is one that should be made carefully and with the advice of an experienced counsellor. There are some potential risks.
As one health care professional put it: "There are a fair number of substance abuse treatment centres who have stopped doing these interventions because when the intervention fails, as it sometimes inevitably does, the family can be further torn apart by all the bad feelings about the intervention. Not a small point for a family already on the edge of destruction from having an actively addict/alcoholic member."
"The intervention may fail if the addict/alcoholic doesn't make some important transitions during and after formal treatment, but the addict/alcoholic identified patient may very well storm out of the intervention session and the family will have to pick up the pieces of a failed intervention on top of the rest of their problems."
There are others who believe no intervention can be successful in the long run, because of their experience that most addict/alcoholics can't be helped until they are ready to reach out for help on their own. Although the confrontation itself may in fact put the addict/alcoholic in the frame of mind to be "ready" to get help, it can also be a point of resentment in the future.
According to A.A. There is no known "cure" for addiction. It can be treated, but never "cured." Intervention will work only if the addict/alcoholic becomes committed to never taking another drink.
If the addict/alcoholic's problems have progressed so that he has become a danger to himself or others, or if their addiction has reached the point that he is no longer capable of looking out for himself, intervention can be a life-saving choice. But it is not a permanent cure. Only the addict/alcoholic himself can turn a 28-day treatment program into a life-long program of recovery.
Intervention can produce some undesirable consequences
Deciding to approach the addict/alcoholic in your life with a confrontational intervention can produce some potentially very undesirable consequences.
A highly-qualified professional in the treatment field, wrote to point out the possible negative side to taking the intervention step.
He explains their concerns, in their own words:
“Many professional people have stopped doing these interventions as they can be so very painful to families and to individuals who are already under the enormous strain of being involved with the practising addict/alcoholic.
If the intervention goes well and the target individual seeks treatment, it is a great beginning; if the target individual angrily stomps out of the intervention and/or otherwise refuses cooperation and refuses to seek treatment, all is likely not so fine.
The family and the other interveners then are left sitting there wondering what to do next, what to do with themselves, what to do in regard to any options/alternatives they have told the target person about (e.g., threats of divorce, taking the children away, etc.), and so on.
Of course it is as true in interventions as in any other area of life that there are no guarantees, no certainties, no sure deals, no "something for nothing."
Basically, my issue here is that I strongly recommend that anyone considering an intervention give very serious thought to the very real option that treatment will be refused and/or that treatment will be briefly accepted but that the alcohol or drug abusing individual will return to abusing.
What happens then? Have all involved made progress or lost ground? In what ways are things better for any one person, and in what ways are they worse?
What happens next? The answers to these questions may help someone decide whether they see an intervention as a desirable or an undesirable thing to do.
I think that these questions do need to be carefully addressed ahead of time, and I think that it is perfectly reasonable to ask any professional intervener to help you address these questions.”
Ask for information
I would also recommend asking any prospective intervener what their/her background, training, and experience with ttheir type of treatment approach is, and what their level of licensing and/or certification is.
Are they self-employed or are they a part of a larger hospital or treatment centre which in turn must meet various professional and governmental requirements.
At a minimum, you should find out if your potential intervening professional is licensed and/or certified by the appropriate source, and you additionally might ask local people whom you trust (your clergyman, your doctor) if they know anyone to recommend.
I do want to be clear in saying that planning and carrying out a structured, confrontational style intervention is serious business, and that it is a very complex and difficult intervention.
I would recommend that anyone contemplating it consider the risks as well as the potential advantages, and that anyone considering seeking any type of professional assistance should inquire carefully as to the qualifications of the potential professional person to be involved.