intervention help

Drug Intervention Help: 12 Facts to Know Before Hosting an Intervention

Since 2016, the U.S. death toll due to drug overdoses has escalated out of control, with over 63,000 people dying from this scourge in that year.

According to the latest CDC Drug Surveillance Report, these numbers continue to climb. During October, President Trump declared the current opioid-abuse crisis a Public Health Emergency under federal law.

If you worry about a friend, family member, or colleague’s drug use, it’s easy to feel that there’s nothing you can do about it.

There is something you can do, but you need to move fast. Arranging a drug intervention could save their life. Will an intervention help though?

In many cases it can, here’s what you need to know before you try.

1. Intervention Basics

The first thing you need to understand is what an intervention is.

An addiction intervention is basically a meeting of concerned people who want to help a drug addict get clean. This get-together can informal or take a more structured approach with the help of an intervention specialist.

The goal of any intervention is to help the addict gain a realistic picture of their problem and help them to acknowledge it. Ideally, you should be able to persuade the drug-user to seek professional help with overcoming their addiction. This can take the form of group therapy or a stint in a rehabilitation center.

The intervention should serve to educate the person on the dangers of their behavior and offer them support and guidance.

2. What an Intervention Is Not

No intervention is ever an excuse to throw blame at, gang up on, or belittle the addict.

It is not a slanging match or an opportunity to vent your anger and frustration with their behavior.

All communication during an intervention should take place in a calm and logical manner. It’s a subtle version of tough love.

Losing your cool means you are having an argument, not an intervention.

3. When to Consider an Intervention?

You can’t stage an intervention for someone who has had a one-off binge. Prime candidates for an intervention should have one or more of the following ”symptoms”:

  • Personal, financial, professional, or social difficulties as a result of their drug use
  • Health issues due to drug use
  • An inability to control the quantities or frequency of their drug use
  • Pretending these problems don’t exist or rationalizing them away
  • Unwillingness to listen to advice or concerns about their predicament

Many addicts live in denial, trying to convince themselves that they can stop at any time. Often behind this belief, there is a deep-seated knowledge that in reality, they are far from in control any more.

When it’s done right, an intervention can show them there are people who care about them and want to help. An intervention gives them a plan for freeing themselves from drugs before they hit rock bottom.

For many, this is all the encouragement they need to start seeing things as they really are. For a few, it can be the start of a brand new future.

4. Who Should You Invite to the Intervention?

Please don’t invite people that the individual does not like, or anyone who holds a grudge against them. This will get their defenses up from the moment they lay eyes on them.

Likewise, don’t include anyone that actively supports their drug use or is likely to make excuses for them.

Only involve those with a genuine concern for the addict. The usual candidates are those who are closely related in some way, such as siblings, parents or a spouse.

Often, an intervention could include an employer or colleagues, but this would depend on their work environment and circumstances.

Getting a professional to assist you is a good way to keep things on track during the intervention. You could also include a counselor, a therapist, a recovering addict, addiction specialist, or even a church leader.

If you are staging an intervention in a work environment, the HR manager should be present.

5. Steps for Planning an Intervention

Once you’ve decided on who to include in the intervention, you need to get their buy-in. Some of your chosen few may not want to get involved.

You’d rather have fewer participants than include others who aren’t a good fit for the task at hand. Those who are genuinely concerned about the welfare of your loved one will make the time to be there.

If you’re using an intervention specialist or another professional person, find out about their availability.

Choose a Time and Place

The next step is to decide on a date and venue for the proceedings. The addict’s home or office are usually good choices. It’s easier to anticipate when they’ll be around these places. Otherwise, you can invite them to another private place where you won’t get interrupted.

Choose a time of day when the addict is likely to be drug-free – mornings are usually best. If you can hold the intervention during a time when the person is battling with a lot of remorse over their drug use, you will often get a more favorable response.

Plan Ahead

Get all the participants together to discuss guidelines for the discussion, as well as the desired outcome.

The goal of this meeting is to ensure that you stay on topic as well as educate everyone. Asking an experienced drug counselor to attend can help everyone to understand how addiction works and how to deal with objections.

Reading up on drug addiction beforehand will help you to better understand this issue and how you can help.

Ask everyone who is attending the intervention to make a list of the ways in which the individual has harmed them. They should bring this list to the meeting and stick to these topics only.

Have Solutions to Hand

Knowing what you want to achieve beforehand is imperative. It’s not enough to tell the person that you want them to stop using drugs.

Plan the desired outcome. This could take the form of contacting a rehabilitation center, getting them to agree to counsel, or booking them in for treatment right away.

6. When to Get Professional Intervention Help

It’s important to get an intervention right the first time around. If you approach it in the wrong way, you could drive your loved one further away.

They may feel bullied and resentful towards you, which will increase their secretive behavior. It will also make them reluctant to reach out to you in the future.

If there’s a chance the person is going to respond in a negative way, don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help. They know how to hold an intervention to increase your chances of success.

It’s important to get a professional to help you if your loved one is:

  • Taking a variety of mood-altering drugs
  • Suicidal or depressed
  • Known for violent outbursts or retaliation
  • Affected by serious mental health issues

Likewise, if you feel uncomfortable involving friends, family members, or co-workers in the matter, a professional counselor, therapist or intervention specialist is the answer.

7. Types of Intervention

“While each intervention is unique, there are two main types of intervention, according to the situation you face.

Direct interventions are when family and friends confront the addict and ask them to undergo treatment. These work best when the individual is starting to realize they have a problem and need a nudge in the right direction.

Indirect interventions involve professionals who work with the family to help them encourage the addict to stop using. These often occur after a direct intervention has failed or when the family is hesitant to approach the addict.

8. Steps in an Intervention

It’s preferable if the intervention comes as a surprise to the addict. This prevents them from preparing excuses and objections beforehand or avoiding the meeting altogether.

The most important step in any intervention is explaining to the individual that you’re all there out of love and concern for them.

Step two is asking them to admit that they have a problem. If they do this straight away, it’s game over. You can proceed to the last step in the intervention, which means getting them the help they need.

If they deny they have a problem, make excuses or become confrontational, the intervention should get underway.

Interventions usually take a round-robin format, with each participant reading out their list of grievances in turn. Often, when confronted with these facts, the addict will realize that they do, in fact, need help.

If this doesn’t lead to an admission, then each person needs to come up with an ultimatum. This could mean the threat of getting fired or demoted at work, withdrawal of financial support, accommodation or anything else that the individual relies on. It’s vitally important to stress that you are not withdrawing love, friendship or support.

In 90% of cases, when faced with no acceptable alternative, people will agree to undergo treatment.

9. Plan for the Best but Expect the Worst

Sometimes, the individual will be so far gone that they’ve lost all concern for their own welfare. In this case, they may refuse to cooperate. Other times, they could insist that they can stop using drugs on their own.

The best thing for you to do in this regard is follow through with the ultimatums. Let them know that you’re available for support and help, but you can’t continue to enable their destructive behavior.

Hopefully, before too long, your loved one will realize that seeking treatment is the better option.

Recovery is a personal journey and everyone has their own route to follow. There’s a good chance they’ll get there if you stick to your guns.

10. Tips for Success

Ultimately, you want the first go-round to be the clincher when it comes to an intervention. Here’s how to increase your odds.

  • Prepare thoroughly and get expert advice
  • Choose a private venue where your loved one feels safe and comfortable
  • If your loved one arrives at the venue under the influence, call it off. They won’t get the best out of an intervention unless they’re in their right mind.
  • Try talking to them one-on-one before arranging an intervention. This will get them thinking.
  • During the intervention, offer guidance, understanding, assurance, and support. Judgmental, aggressive, and shaming behavior will lead to disaster.
  • Follow up. Make sure they get the help they have agreed to.

First prize is to get your loved one to enter treatment immediately after the intervention. Don’t give them a chance to enjoy a “last blast.” Have everything prepared beforehand.

11. Finding Solutions

During the planning stages of your intervention, take a long time to research possible options to help your loved one recover. You need to find an option that works with their health insurance coverage as well as their circumstances.

It’s important that you’ve made up your mind and are ready to get the ball rolling following the intervention.

These are the most common treatment options:

  • In-patient rehabilitation
  • Psychological counseling
  • Outpatient treatment
  • 12-Step meetings
  • Group counseling

You’ll find that there are many people out there willing to help you and your loved ones escape the clutches of drug addiction.

One thing to remember is that it’s imperative that your loved one undergo a supervised medical detox. When you stop taking addictive drugs, you can expect a range of withdrawal symptoms. These can be life-threatening.

12. Why You Need Intervention Help

A licensed drug counselor, social worker, psychologist or interventionist can help you to better understand what your loved one is going through. They will guide you through the process of staging an intervention according to your specific needs and help you to achieve success.

If you choose to have them present during the meeting, they can help to keep emotions and tempers under control. They can also suggest excellent treatment options for your loved one.

They know all the tricks in the book and will be able to counter objections and excuses immediately by offering workable solutions.

Take Steps Today

Whether you are looking for intervention help or anything to do with getting your loved one on the road to recovery, get in touch. Every minute you waste, they’re getting more wasted.

We’ll get you in contact with the best, most affordable recovery center for your needs. Call us today.

Do Drug and Alcohol Interventions Work

Do Drug and Alcohol Interventions Work? (The Answer: Yes!)

Do interventions work? In short, yes but it will require the willingness necessary from your addicted friend or loved one.

In the paragraphs that follow, you’ll find a guide to helping the person you care about to get back on track and beat their crippling addiction. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not up to you rather they decide to give up their addiction.

Remember that recovery from addiction has everything to do with their own willingness to acknowledge the problem and seek help. While loved ones and friends of alcoholics have often spent years trying to convince the addict to seek help, the addict’s will is not something that anyone outside can control.

Read on to learn more about addiction and the options available.

What You Need to Do

Show empathy. Living or working with an addicted person can cause much unnecessary resentment, but it’s important that you hold your fire for the time being. Showing empathy, love, and concern in a nonjudgmental way is important when conducting an intervention.

In short, this isn’t the time to express anger or your own grievances. This can make it difficult for the addict to practice the vulnerability and acknowledgment required to make a change in course.

If your loved one feels that it is too late to repair the damage they’ve caused, they can be likely to turn back to the self-soothing substances or actions that they’ve long used as a coping mechanism.

Different Intervention Types

Sometimes interventions aren’t a choice. Forcible interventions may be conducted if the addict runs into the legal troubles that are so closely linked to addiction. This may be a court-ordered or state-mandated treatment program and while this level of intervention can be successful, it’s not a preferred choice.

Conducting an intervention with the help of trained interventionist is an example of one of the more preferred voluntary methods. This involves soliciting the help of someone who is experienced in getting your friend or partner to commit to a treatment program.

While these professionals can’t guarantee how your friend or partner will respond to the recovery process, they can be very helpful in ensuring that the addict takes the first steps necessary toward recovery.

If you don’t have the means to bring a professional interventionist in, ask for the help of other concerned parties. If you’re already attending Al-anon, group members can also be an excellent sounding board for advice, experience, and support as you take this next step.

If you aren’t already attending an Al-Anon group, be sure to check out the section entitled “There’s a Meeting for You Too” in this article.

Do the Homework for Them

Offering your addicted friend or loved one an array of options can be helpful. Asking someone to change everything can be overwhelming, so offering information on first steps can help direct them towards meaningful change.

This means giving your loved on a few options that may work for them, such as information on rehabs or a list of local AA, NA, or SLAA meetings. Do the initial legwork of making their next step clear.

Making your expectations clear can help ensure that the addict knows what you’re expecting from him. Vague expectations about behavioral improvement can lead to half-measures that end in defeat. An addict will almost always look for ‘an easier, softer way’ that doesn’t include giving up his/her addiction entirely.

While clarity is necessary, don’t make the addict feel like treatment is a punishment for bad behavior. You need to ensure that your intervention leads them toward recovery and not just further away from their support system.

Listen, be empathetic, offer support, and stand strong in your expectations. There are many books available that can help you learn more about addiction, how it functions, and how you can best offer help.

Helpful literature is also available for free online and can help you prepare for the days and weeks ahead.

Know What They’re Going to Say (Before They Say It)

One of the most common rebuttals heard from addicts is “I can’t afford to take 30 days off to go to rehab”. In reality, however, it’s likely that the addict you care about has been functioning at a fraction of their potential for years or even decades.

It’s because of this that rehab should be viewed as a momentary albeit necessary hiccup that will likely lead to a much more productive and full life. Addicts often spend the majority of their day thinking about their addiction, planning their next chance to use or cleaning up the wreckage caused by their most recent episode.

When viewed through this lens, 30 days isn’t much of a trade-off. The tools they’ll gain while in treatment will help them re-engage with their addiction-free life and stop squandering their days in search of their next high.

If you’re an employer, this can mean telling your addicted employee that time off won’t be an issue and making them aware of just how much their health coverage can pay for.

If the addict you care about is your spouse, this can mean detailing a plan of attack that you can work on together. Talk about household financial responsibilities and how they can best be managed.

There’s always a way if your partner has the willingness to give a new way of life a try. Ensure that your partner doesn’t feel too guilty to go and show him or her just how manageable the process can be.

When Rehab Isn’t an Option

When rehab isn’t an option, there are still ways that your friend or loved one can get clean. While there are separate considerations that may need to be made depending on the addiction, free services are available for nearly every addiction.

In some cases, your friend or partner may need a medically supervised detox. Depending on the level of physical dependence they’ve formed, hospitalization may be unavoidable.

These free services have some of the highest success rates in addiction treatment and are virtually everywhere. Addiction is incredibly common and affects people of all backgrounds and financial situations.

Because of this, addiction meetings are free and are often comprised of a diverse mix of people. Meetings welcome wealthy business owners and celebrities with the same level of compassion and respect that they give those who are struggling with the financial implications of severe drug abuse.

A quick web search (‘your hometown’+’alchoholics anonymous’) can provide you with a meeting finder. This printable list will detail meetings currently being held in your area.

Meetings are free, however, at the conclusion of the meeting, a basket is typically passed for donations. The typical donation is around a dollar and goes to pay for group expenses. This typically includes room rentals and providing literature to those who can’t afford to purchase ‘The Big Book’.

‘The Big Book’ and the ’12 and 12′ are the two quintessential pieces of the literature suggested for AA members. NA, on the other hand, uses it’s own blue book, as well as a Step Work guide and a book entitled ‘It Works: How and Why”. If the group lacks the funds to pay for literature for a new member, other members are likely to let the addict borrow the literature needed.

Groups are self-supporting, however, donations are never mandatory. Meetings occur everywhere (Hint: Even if you’re on a cruise ship, there’s a good chance that there may be a meeting onboard, check the events and activities section) and show the addict just how common their own experience is.

Through groups, addicts can meet people with similar stories who have turned their lives around and get the hope they need to get and stay sober.

Look for the Similarities (Not the Differences)

While Alcoholics Anonymous is the most common 12 step meeting, dependence on alcohol isn’t the only substance it can help your loved one recover from. Groups focused on an addiction to narcotics (NA) or sexual addiction (SLAA) are common, but may not occur as frequently in your area.

The basis of all of these groups is the 12 step program developed by Bill W. for Alcoholics Anonymous because of the similarities faced by all addicts. These similarities include loss of control, damage caused to relationships, and the ensuing wreckage caused.

If an NA, CA, or SLAA meeting isn’t regularly available in your area, you can encourage your partner to attend AA to seek help for their addiction of choice. This is unlikely to reduce their chances of recovery because of the commonality of experience in addicts.

Hint: Most ‘traditional’ alcoholics have used drugs or created a sexual wreckage of their own before entering recovery.

There’s a Meeting for You Too

If someone you love is an addict, there’s a meeting for you too. Al-Anon meetings are an important component of recovery.

Al-Anon meetings help to give the friends and family member of alcoholics the tools they need to support their loved ones and themselves. Dealing with the pain caused by an addicted loved one isn’t easy.

Al-Anon groups are easy to find, free, and can provide members with the group support and fellowship necessary for friends and family members of alcoholics, regardless of rather or not the loved one is currently in recovery.

Young people who have been affected by the actions (or inactions) of an addicted family member can also attend meetings. Alateen groups are often suggested as a tool to help young people deal with the memories, feelings, and responsibility that often plague younger family members.

If the person you’re hoping to reach isn’t responsive to your requests, it’s important to know that it’s not your fault. An addict won’t get clean until it’s a choice he makes for himself. Interventions can help to show an addict just how much is at stake, but the choice is out of your hands.

Having a network of new friends who know exactly what you’re going through can help you create the necessary boundaries you’ll need if the addict you love isn’t ready yet.

Still unsure? Try a virtual meeting and see for yourself. Keep an open mind and look for the similarities you share with the regular members.

Do Interventions Work? More Answers

If you’re reading this article and wondering ‘Do Interventions Work?’ chances are that the person you care about has an issue with addiction. If you’re still unsure that what your friend or loved one is experiencing is ‘addiction’, take the Al-Anon quiz for yourself and see if you could benefit from joining their ranks.

Millions of people have been negatively affected by addiction and it’s important to know that there are resources available to you. You aren’t alone.

Isolating or continuing to hide the wreckage caused by the addict in your life deprives you of the life and happiness you deserve.  It’s no secret that isolating can make friends and family members feel alone in the world.

Fortunately, you’re part of a strong bunch. Exercise your own bravery by attending an Al-Anon meeting and share your experience with someone who needs it.

Without the willingness to expose your own truth to individuals who find themselves in similar situations, your own recovery can’t begin. This of this as a show of solidarity with your addicted friend or partner, who will need to do it same.

For more information on how you can help the addict that you love and begin to repair the damage that’s been caused, call the professionals at Addiction Treatment Services. We’re here to help.