What Is Actually Involved in an Intervention?

What Is Actually Involved in an Intervention?

Interventions come in many forms, which means that what is involved in an intervention is subject to change. However, most interventions hold the same basic principles, including talking to the addict, asking her to stop using drugs and trying to get her to seek help.

The different approaches to interventions exist, because not every addict is the same, so everyone responds differently to a request for recovery. Many people associate interventions with how they are portrayed in television shows and movies: most media outlets portray interventions as highly confrontational experiences with overdramatized dialogues. In fact, these portrayals tend to focus on the extremely low points of an addict’s life and even other people involved with the intervention. The shows film extreme ultimatums and dramatic threats for the addict, and they typically do not want to help the addict in a loving or caring way. Even shows that claim to depict real people cannot be regarded as true, because the participants know they are being filmed, are likely wired with microphones and are more likely to skew reality for the sake of entertainment.

Fortunately, a real and professional intervention held off the screen will not and should not look like what the media has portrayed interventions to look like. People should thoroughly prepare for true interventions, only invite trusted and respected friends and family members, make use of a professional interventionist and conduct themselves in a loving, caring and respectful manner. It is important to understand that not every intervention will be calm, as the mood all depends upon the way the addict responds. However, if everyone involved conducts themselves well, then the likelihood of the addict listening in the intervention significantly increases.

The Association of Intervention Specialists breaks down what is actually involved in a typical intervention. The first step is to formulate the plan, which is where a professional can be irreplaceable. A professional interventionist knows how these meetings work and the best ways to succeed based upon the family’s situation. Different approaches can be used based on the information the interventionist receives from friends and family: if the addict is more likely to respond with anger in the event of the intervention, then it may be best for the participants to tell the addict that everyone there wants what is best; if the addict is more likely to respond with promising to change immediately with no need for treatment, then coming in with clear expectations and ultimatums for refusing treatment may be the better route.

Whatever approach someone uses, an interventionist will likely start by gathering everyone who will be involved with the meeting to ensure that they all have a good standing with the addict. If someone who the addict simply dislikes attends the intervention, then the entire process may suffer. The interventionist may ask everyone involved to write a heartfelt letter about how much they care for the addict and how the addict’s drug use has affected them personally. The letter should describe in detail how instances when the addict was under the influence damaged them. These letters should be kept for the actual intervention and read aloud for everyone to hear.

When the actual intervention begins, it will likely be a surprise for the addict, as telling her beforehand about the intervention will likely cause her to run. A professional interventionist can calm the addict when the initial surprise takes effect, but the intervention will likely work best with a strong set of ground rules. First, everyone needs a turn to speak without being interrupted, and the addict needs a chance to respond without being interrupted. This process will likely continue until everyone has had a chance to say what they needed to say. Then, the addict must be told that accepting treatment is the only way he can avoid consequences. All people involved should have a list of consequences that they will implement in the event that the addict refuses treatment.

The Mayo Clinic explains that the addict needs to give an immediate answer in regard to treatment rather than taking a day or two to think about it. If the addict decides to accept treatment, then the interventionist should drive or fly the addict directly to rehab. A bag should be packed for the addict beforehand so there is no time for second thoughts. If the addict does not accept treatment, then everyone involved with the intervention should explain the consequences that they will immediately implement. Common consequences could include the end of communication, being kicked out of the house, being cut off financially, being separated from a spouse, filing for divorce or applying for full custody of children. If the addict still refuses treatment after fully understanding the consequences, then the consequences must be immediately implemented.

The success of an intervention is directly linked to the level of preparation achieved by the people who conduct the intervention and their ability to stay calm and clear during the meeting.

Find Treatment for Drug Addiction

If you or someone you love struggles with drug addiction and needs help, then please call our toll-free helpline now. Our admissions coordinators are standing by 24 hours a day to help you find the right program, so call now for instant, professional support.