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An intervention is generally accepted as a powerful tool to help loved ones recognize they have a problem with substance abuse. However, when carried out without the proper planning, an intervention can be completely ineffective and in some cases, make matters much worse.

In order to increase the chances of a successful intervention, it is important to bear in mind the following:

  • What a drug intervention actually is
  • How they are planned in advance
  • What follow-up is necessary afterward

What Is an Intervention?

Although the appearance of a drug intervention makes it seem like an informal meeting where loved ones rally around the addict and urge them to get help, there is much more to it. On closer inspection, interventions are formally planned which takes place after weeks of preparation so that there is a strategy in place to take the next step after the event.

The kind of preparation required for an intervention includes:

  • Research into substance abuse
  • Contact with a drug intervention specialist
  • Communication between family members and those close to the addict
  • Plans for treatment in a drug rehab center
  • Preparing a contingency plan should the addict refuse to seek treatment, with clear plans on how to maintain boundaries after that point

Drug Interventions and Denial

Many people who are caught up in an addictive cycle will remain unaware of the damage they are doing to themselves and others. This may be because they are unable to cope with cravings and feel ashamed of their lack of self-control. Others may not feel they have a problem, particularly if they are managing to hold down a responsible job or caregiving role.

One of the main characteristics of addiction is that the person will continue to use, even though drugs or alcohol are effectively ruining their lives. The goal of a drug intervention should be to present the facts of how substance abuse is negatively impacting the individual and those close to them so that they can move past denial into acceptance. In order for individuals to draw the maximum benefits from drug rehab, they have to be on board with the idea that they can get better.

Planning and Staging an Intervention

When considering staging an intervention, the first decision should be whether to employ a drug intervention specialist to assist. Interventionists are specifically trained to deal with the emotionally charged atmosphere when a person is confronted by their loved ones on their substance abuse. In many respects, it is invaluable to have a neutral third party present at an intervention to chair proceedings and ensure matters don’t decline into apportioning blame.

Regardless of whether a drug intervention specialist is involved or not, the same steps should be following in the planning and execution of a substance abuse intervention as follows:

  • Create a group: Forming the intervention panel is essential as a first step towards convincing someone to seek alcohol or drug rehab and it should include the people most negatively People staging an intervention should all share the best interests of the subject and be prepared to work together and with the individual concerned to turn their lives around.
  • Collect information about the substances being abused and how they affect the body and mind of the addicted loved one. Research into addiction issues is important so that everyone involved in the intervention is aware of the fact that an addict is not consciously choosing to abuse alcohol or drugs. This often prevents the event from becoming too emotionally-charged and risking the relationships between family members.
  • Goals should be formalized so that everyone involved in the intervention has a clear idea of the ultimate objective. It is always advisable to research treatment programs ahead of an intervention so that there is a clear path the subject can follow when the event is over.
  • Plan what is said carefully. An intervention should not be an opportunity for recriminations or playing the blame game. That said, it is important that loved ones are very firm about how they have been impacted by the addict’s behavior and what they will do if it doesn’t change. For example, it is one thing to say that a person’s drinking is ruining a marriage but specifics carry more weight and so it is better to say that unless they stop, the marriage is over while outlining the exact reasons why.
  • Make a contingency plan which can be put into action if the addict refuses to accept they have a problem or doesn’t show up for the intervention. It is important that people stick to the decisions they have made about what they will do if their addicted loved one doesn’t seek help and carry them out. In some cases, close personal relationships need to be put on the line once and for all in order to make the addict see they need treatment. The risk of breaking the relationship over the issue is very real but it is important for everyone to keep to their word for it to truly resonate.
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