With an estimated 1.1 million heavy alcohol users and 28.6 illegal drug users, most people know someone that’s addicted to drugs or alcohol.
If you’re watching a loved one struggle with addiction, you may be wondering what you can do about it. You may even be considering holding a drug intervention but aren’t sure how successful it will be.
Keep reading to find out whether or not drug and alcohol intervention programs really work and see what you can do to help an addicted loved one.
What is an Intervention?
Before we get into how interventions work, let’s take a moment to define them.
An intervention is when friends and family members take action to help someone break the cycle of self-destructive behavior.
Interventions can be held for a variety of reasons, but we’re going to focus on alcohol and drug interventions. These occur when someone is addicted to alcohol or drugs but isn’t taking steps to get help for themselves. Friends and family members would then step in to show them they need help.
How Do Interventions Work?
Many addicts don’t realize they have a problem, nor do they see how it’s affecting the people around them. They may honestly believe that they’re fine, or be in denial and are unwilling to admit they need to change.
During an intervention, friends and family members tell their addicted loved one how their actions are affecting them. They help them to see that they do have a problem and are ready to help them in any way possible.
The goal with interventions should always be getting the addicted person the help they need. In most cases, that means having them check into a rehabilitation center or begin counseling as soon as possible.
Typically, an intervention follows this process:
- Family and friends arrive at the meeting location.
- Addict arrives at the location without knowing that an intervention is planned.
- Family and friends announce that it’s an intervention.
- Everyone shares prepared statements detailing how the person’s addiction has affected them, how much they care for them, and how badly they want them to change.
- Present a well-researched treatment plan for the addict.
- Ask the addict to make a decision about seeking help.
- If they accept help, take immediate action to get them what they need.
- If they don’t accept help, friends and family members should share prepared consequences for their actions.
Following the intervention, family members and friends need to follow through with their loved one.
If that person is seeking help, then they need to be supportive as they promised and beyond if necessary. If the addict refuses treatment, then family members and friends will need to follow through with their negative consequences.
How Successful are Interventions?
When interventions are done correctly, they have a 90% success rate. However, there are many factors that go into how successful an intervention is, so this rate is not guaranteed.
The most successful interventions have two key factors: planning and a professional.
Why Plan an Intervention?
Although it may seem like you can hold an intervention with little to no planning, the truth is that you need to be prepared. Some of the things you need to plan for an intervention include:
- Who will be there
- Who will lead the intervention
- What order people will speak in
- What treatment option(s) will be presented
- How each person will help support the addict
- What consequences will be presented for not seeking help
- How negative responses will be handled
One of the main reasons planning is so important is that interventions are emotional for everyone involved. This makes it easy for them to get out of hand, which can lead to anger, yelling, fights, and, ultimately, making things worse.
When each person has taken the time to plan and write out exactly what they want to say, this can help keep them on track. They may still be emotional (crying is okay!), but won’t shift the focus or become too upset.
Treatment options need to be carefully researched, and one should be chosen as being the best for that person. The gathered family members and friends should then have a plan to help their loved one go through with that treatment.
This could mean arranging for them to take time off of work, helping them cover expenses, and making arrangements to care for their children or pets. The person should be able to get treatment without having any excuses.
Why Use a Professional
Having a professional lead an intervention is especially recommended if the person:
- Has a history of mental illness
- Has been known to become violent
- Is likely to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the intervention
- Has recently mentioned suicide or been suicidal in the past
A professional knows how to deal with the variety of situations that can arise during an intervention. They can help guide the discussion and will provide a neutral, emotionally-uninvolved presence.
For many people, the most difficult part of planning an intervention is knowing what they should say to their loved one. A professional can help you say what needs to be said in a way that helps rather than hurts.
Professionals will also be able to present proven treatment options that others may not know about. They have the knowledge necessary to recommend what treatment method might work best and connections to get your loved one where they can overcome their addiction.
Another way a professional can help is by creating a follow-up plan. Your support of your loved one won’t end when the intervention does, and a professional can help you be prepared to support your loved one throughout their healing process.
How to Find a Drug Intervention Professional
Now you’ve seen that a drug intervention can be successful with the help of a professional and the use of careful planning. If you’re ready to start the process of staging an intervention for a loved one, you can.
Contact us today, and start on this journey of helping your loved one get the help they need to live a healthier, addiction-free life.