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Staging an intervention can feel so overwhelming that some people barely consider it an option. It is easy to see why, as addiction plays high stakes. Moreover, for an intervention to succeed, it must be meticulously planned: details such as where to meet, whom to assemble and how to carry off the event are critical for its success, as is figuring out which intervention type to stage. Seek help with this process to have your meeting go as well as possible.
Interventions: A Brief Explanation
Holding an intervention is a little bit like throwing a life preserver to someone who is drowning: you cannot force someone to grab hold of help, but placing a compelling solution in front of her can increase her chances of reaching out. Experts at the Intervention Resource Center maintain that the main strength of interventions is that they create controlled crises to breaks the addict’s pattern of destruction. In this way, many clinicians referenced in Psychology Today say that interventions hasten recovery, as they create the following benefits:
- Raising the “bottom” so an addict can see the damage of addiction
- Highlighting connections between the causes and effects of drug use
- Receiving encouragement from people who provide the support to initiate recovery
Hollywood portrays interventions as emotional ambushes, but most interventions are anything but dramatic. In fact, the Association of Intervention Specialists, an international network of certified facilitators, note that the best and healthiest interventions are honest, gentle and loving.
Interventions at Work
The basis of every intervention is simple. Nevertheless, different approaches may work depending upon the addict’s personality, the setting of the substance abuse and who is involved in the intervention itself. Workplace interventions are arranged by a co-worker or employer, and they usually occur within the work setting. Drug and alcohol is highly prevalent in commercial settings: according to National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 12.9 million drug users were employed in 2005 within the US alone. Typically, managers spearhead workplace interventions by establishing educational guidelines and teaching staff how to spot drug abuse in co-workers. Workplace policies also detail how to set up an intervention so there is a better chance of success.
Interventions Closer to Home
Sometimes, the best way to reach out to a drug or alcohol addict is in a familiar setting surrounded by loved ones. The family intervention aims to convince the addict softly that he needs treatment while still placing him in a situation where he must look at his behavior. In this scenario, family members and friends meet together to discuss how they can best reach out to a loved one who abuses drugs and/or alcohol. The more emotionally neutral the intervention stays, the more clearly your addicted loved one can see reality. However, when a family member facilitates the event, it can be difficult to keep the atmosphere calm and positive. For that reason, hiring an intervention expert can alleviate pressure and bring order to the meeting.
Calling a treatment facility is the first step toward finding someone who will fit your and your loved one’s needs. The next step is to meet with your interventionist before the event to learn about the process. One important part of the pre-planning stage is to clarify the following goals of the intervention:
- To communicate the impact of destructive behaviors
- To offer a prearranged treatment plan that includes steps, goals and guidelines
- To set boundaries about how each person will respond if the addict refuses treatment
Once the foundation has been laid, practical details of the intervention are planned, such as the following tasks:
- Choose a private location free of distraction
- Instruct participants to speak positively
- Define participants’ roles
- Research treatment options
- Outline the format
- Assign one person the job of timekeeper to make sure the meeting does not stall out
Thorough preparation not only shields the intervention from counterproductive outbursts, but it also propels a constructive direction. Intervention letters maximize the chances of achieving this outcome, as they protect against wayward emotions. If they plan out what to say, then friends and family members will not explode into a torrent of words, nor will they freeze up at the last minute. Mayo Clinic physicians also say that letters also help participants say exactly what they want to say exactly how they want to say it.
Interventions When Danger Is Imminent
Crisis interventions are best used in situations where drug or alcohol use has created potentially devastating problems for both the user and others. In these circumstances, the intervention is performed as soon as possible, i.e. before the addict harms himself or others, such as friends or family members. These issues that lead to such meetings can be medical, legal or personal, and most of the time the addict will not even be aware of them. For this reason, the surprise intervention can be a better method of bringing these problems to the surface and convincing an individual that he needs help.
The Johnson’s Approach
The Johnson Model of Intervention uses a more forceful approach in persuading an addict of her past actions and then convincing her to seek treatment. The belief here is that an addict cannot confront the reality of her actions until she hits “rock bottom.” Sometimes mental defenses and denial can be so strong that addicts cannot face it without force. Therefore, the intervention is used to present the individual with a series of damning facts about her life, and then compelling her to admit that she has caused numerous problems in the past and present. This confrontation should never be malicious; its forceful nature can be smoothed over by displaying a great amount of love and care.
Help for Addiction
If you or someone you love struggles with an addiction, then know that help is available. Admissions coordinators at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can guide you to wellness, so do not go it alone when support is just one phone call away. You never have to go back to a life of addiction: please call now and start your recovery as soon as possible.