Help! I Need Drug Intervention Advice. Does It Work?

November 10, 2020 | addiction treatment

An intervention is not an attack on an individual.

If you have a loved one struggling with substance abuse, you’re likely looking for ways to help them. However, the situation may feel hopeless if they do not acknowledge or refuse to admit that they have a problem. 

You and your family may be considering staging an intervention. Why? Because 90 percent of people agree to get help after one. But how do you do it? How do you ensure it is effective? We are here to give you some drug intervention advice that will increase the likelihood of its success.

An intervention is not an attack on an individual.

What is an intervention?

To help you get an idea of what an effective intervention is, let’s start by talking about what it is not. An intervention is not an attack on an individual. An intervention is not a session where everyone takes turns criticizing and person for their behavior. And it’s not an attempt to force someone to get help by yelling at them or deliberately trying to make them feel bad.

While it may feel harsh at times, you must always voice your concerns from a place of love, concern, and respect. An intervention does involve a group of close friends or family members getting together to bring light to a focus individual’s drug or alcohol addiction.

During the session, members of the group will take turns talking about their addiction’s negative consequences. The goal isn’t to try and hurt them but to bring light to their problem’s harsh reality. They will also talk about the actions they are willing to take if refusing help from an addiction treatment center.

Through the process, everyone must keep in mind that they are there out of concern for the person suffering from the addiction’s welfare. Elements of encouragement and love are vital aspects, but it must be clear that their refusal to get clean will have consequences on their relationships with the group members.

How do you manage it?

An intervention is an emotional experience, and without proper planning and management, it can do more harm than good. It can quickly turn from a loving and genuine effort to an endless argument with the person of concern if not done correctly.

Many will opt to seek help with conducting an intervention from an addiction specialist or interventionalist. It’s far from uncommon for an intervention professional to attend the meeting to help guide the session. However, many opt out of this to help keep the session as personal as possible.

However, you can still ask for guidance on how to set up and approach the situation. Of course, the finer details, such as what to mention and what promises to make, are situational. 

A specialist will provide you with tips similar to the following:   

  • Gather the Facts: Everyone involved in an intervention must clearly understand the addiction’s severity and what treatment is necessary. They must also do their research on treatment programs and decide which is best for their loved one. 
  • Form an Intervention Team: The group that works to develop an intervention may include more than one who will attend it. We will talk more about this in a moment, but for now, you should know only close friends and family members are to be involved. 
  • Decide on Consequences: Everyone involved must decide on the actions they are willing to take if the loved one refuses to get help. Each person must provide separate actions they are going to use as leverage to motivate the individual. 
  • Make Notes/Write Letters: Each person who attends will be allowed to speak. For more structure, each person is recommended to write letters or notes that will guide the discussion.  Highlighting the destructive behavior and how it has impacted each individual is vital. 
  • Hold The Meeting: Everyone agrees to set a date and must then attend the meeting and speak to the person as a group about their concerns. Each person must be prepared to talk coherently and from a place of respect. 
  • Stick to Your Promises After the meeting, it’s essential to follow through with any promises. If you threatened to drop communications if they refuse to get the help, you must. But it’s also crucial to follow up and stand by their side if they do. 

Always be mindful that an intervention poses the opportunity for the loved one to feel angered or betrayed. Therefore, it’s wise to keep the intervention short and structured. Most sessions only need to last about 60 to 90 minutes. This allows each person to voice their concerns, detail the consequences of their refusal to get help, and prevent the likelihood of the conversation derailing.  

Who should be involved?

Only close friends and loved ones should attend an intervention, except for a professional if their presence is necessary. You must remember an intervention is meant to be conducted by those held in a special place of your loved one’s heart.

You shouldn’t invite anyone who doesn’t like or doesn’t have a good relationship with the addict. This can create a sense of betrayal and lead to the failure of your efforts. Be mindful of who will indeed be inspirational and not overly critical.

Also, be mindful of the person’s ability to hold their tongue or stick to the plan. If you don’t feel a person can stick to talking about what they agreed upon before attending, you shouldn’t include them.

You must never involve anyone who also frequently misuses drugs or alcohol to attend an intervention, especially those who may have a substance abuse disorder themselves. Otherwise, those who attend may be viewed as hypocritical in the eyes of the person of focus.

Are there different types?

There are different types of interventions and what we’ve highlighted today is the more commonly used approach. It is a confrontational method because you take the stance that their addiction has led to consequences, and they are ready to take responsibility.

Many specialists favor the confrontational approach because addiction is a disease that impacts a person’s perception. By laying out their situation’s harsh reality, they are often more likely to come to terms with their actions. Also, consider that making promises to take specific steps if they refuse to get help is often a great motivator.

The Invitational Model 

A confrontational approach may not be the best choice for several reasons. The invitational method, otherwise known as the systematic family approach, is a group effort to aid in recovery.

This is considered less adversarial because it takes an educational approach and avoids blaming the person suffering from addiction. A counselor will lead the session and highlight several topics that often contribute to addiction. They will also talk about each person who attends and how their actions may have contributed to the problem.

The goal is to prevent the user from feeling isolated or attacked, or that only they need to get help. During the session, a recovery plan will be implemented. Each person who attends will be given specific steps to follow to achieve recovery. In many cases, other members will be tasked with seeking professional help, not just the person suffering from addiction.

This is an effective route to take if everyone does feel that they are responsible. However, many feel it is ineffective because it leaves room for the addicted to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

Which approach to take is ultimately case sensitive. Many factors come into play, and the best choice may not always be clear. This is another reason why using the services of an intervention specialist is preferable. While most do tend to prefer the confrontational approach, they may ultimately decide that an invitational approach is better under specific circumstances.

Concluding Thoughts

No matter the approach you take, it’s always important to remember that you are ultimately holding an intervention to help someone you love. Yes, you will be threatening to take action if they do not seek help but always bear in mind that they are a person struggling with a disease.

It’s also important to be ready for the chance that they may refuse to get help and hold the intervention against you. That’s usually why it is a last-ditch effort in an attempt to communicate with someone you love about their problem; despite the likelihood of its success.

But if they don’t listen and refuse to see the issue, an intervention is a great option. And in the case that they refuse to listen, you must stick to your promises. Even if it means kicking them out of your home or cutting all ties to them, you have to follow through. Stay strong, though. With time, they are likely to come around.