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How does an intervention work?

We have drug intervention specialists for every kind of intervention possible. Your interventionist will come to your home, no matter where you are in the country. The interventionist will take over the situation that once seemed hopeless and with the family’s help, achieve the desired result of getting your loved one into treatment to get the help they deserve. Our goal is to help you and your family in the fight against addiction.

Much of the intervention process is educational and informational for the friends and family. The opportunity for everyone to come together, share information and support each other is critically important.  Once everyone is ready, a meeting is scheduled with the person everyone is concerned about.

An intervention usually includes the following steps:

1. Make a plan. A family member or friend proposes an intervention and forms a planning group. It’s best if you consult with a qualified professional counsellor, interventionist, addiction specialist, psychologist, mental health counsellor, social worker or an interventionist to help you organize an effective intervention. An intervention is a highly charged situation with the potential to cause anger, resentment or a sense of betrayal and you need the expertise to manage these behaviors.

2. Gather information. The group members find out about the extent of the loved one’s problem and research the condition and treatment programs. The group may initiate arrangements to enroll the loved one in a specific treatment program.

3. Form the intervention team. The planning group forms a team that will personally participate in the intervention. Team members set a date and location and work together to present a consistent, rehearsed message and a structured plan. Often, nonfamily members of the team help keep the discussion focused on the facts of the problem and shared solutions rather than strong emotional responses. Do not let your loved one know what you are doing until the day of the intervention.

4. Decide on specific consequences. If your loved one doesn’t accept treatment, each person on the team needs to decide what action he or she will take. Examples include asking your loved one to move out or taking away contact with children. 5. Make notes on what to say. Each member of the intervention team describes specific incidents where the addiction caused problems, such as emotional or financial issues. Discuss the toll of your loved one’s behaviour while still expressing care and the expectation that your loved one can change. Your loved one can’t argue with facts or with your emotional response to the problem. For example begin by saying “I was upset and hurt when you drank…”

6. Hold the intervention meeting. Without revealing the reason, the loved one is asked to the intervention site. Members of the core team then take turns expressing their concerns and feelings. The loved one is presented with a treatment option and asked to accept that option on the spot. Each team member will say what specific changes he or she will make if the addicted person doesn’t accept the plan. Do not threaten a consequence unless you are ready to follow through with it. 7. Follow up. Involving a spouse, family members or others is critical to help someone with an addiction stay in treatment and avoid relapsing. This can include changing patterns of everyday living to make it easier to avoid destructive behavior, offering to participate in counselling with your loved one, seeking your own therapist and recovery support, and knowing what to do if relapse occurs.

A successful Intervention must be planned carefully to work as intended. A poorly planned intervention can worsen the situation — your loved one may feel attacked and become isolated or more resistant to treatment.

If your loved one refuses help

As stated above, most interventions are successful; however, unfortunately, in some cases, a loved one may refuse the treatment plan. If this occurs, it’s still important to stick to the plan. In some cases, a person may refuse help at the time of the intervention, but as a result of the intervention, come back and ask for help later.

Often, children, partners, siblings and parents are subjected to abuse, violence, threats and emotional upheaval because of alcohol and drug problems. You don’t have control over an addicted person’s behaviour. However, you do have the ability to remove yourself, and any children, from a destructive situation.

Even if an intervention doesn’t work, you and others involved in your loved one’s life can make changes that may help. Ask other people involved to avoid enabling the destructive cycle of behaviour and take active steps to encourage positive change.