Drug and Alcohol Intervention

Looking at drug intervention methods for a loved one or for yourself can create a lot of questions. How do we approach it? Who should be there? What should i know before acting?

Fast Addiction Helpline will help you achieve this crucial step. If you are thinking about staging an intervention, you should contact us and we will gladly help you achieve this action. We will answer questions such as:

  • How much should i know before intervention?
  • Should i act by myself or with others?
  • What are the standard actions to help an addict?
  • How do i convince the addict if he refuses rehab or detox?

Drug intervention is the first and one of the most important step for recovery. Fast Addiction Helpline will help you answer these questions free of charge.

What is the effect on the addict?

An addict might have experiences or issues in their past that are so devastating that they turn to drugs. Some of these experiences might be losing a close friend or a family member. A traumatic childhood may precipitate drug use as well. A family member can come up with thousands of reasons for that person to stop using drugs, but unfortunately the addict probably won’t listen to these reasons. There are a few points however that the individual will listen to. It is important to identify these point because they can be brought up during an intervention.

What pressures does the person feel now?

The person doesn’t always have the same outlook on their addiction that non-addicts might have. For example, he/she may have serious health problems. No friends, no job, and no income but they still feel that they are “doing OK”. Many addicts have actually overdosed on drugs and have been very close to death, but are back to using drugs the very next day. This may appear crazy, but it’s one of the natural side effects of being an addict. From time to time, the addict will encounter added pressure from people which forces them to make an actual decision about whether to seek help or continue with their drug use.

Possible pressuring situations which may lead a person to fight addicting and seek help include pending legal charges that could easily lead to jail time, the threat of losing a spouse or pending loss of job. Addicts are notorious for refusing to seek help unless someone or something pushes them out of their “addiction comfort zone” and forces them into a decision. Very few addicts will seek help if they have access to money, a place to live, people who agree with the addicts usage and no legal issues. They “don’t have a problem”. This is very important to understand and will be crucial in any attempt at an intervention.

Who should be there?

One of the major considerations involving intervention is selecting who will be there. This matter should be well thought out beforehand. The number of people at the intervention is less important than who is there. If at all possible, the person in the family whom the addict respects the most should be present.

This person is important to the addict and needs to be fully supportive about getting the person help as well as informed well about the actual agenda of possible rehabilitation.

As many family members as possible should be present as long as all of them are completely in agreement about the fact that the person needs help. If someone in the family is antagonistic toward the addict and is not capable of restraining themselves from an argument or placing blame then you might consider leaving them out.

Usually, the addict has many enemies and has done something bad to most of the family. But arguments that are agitated and disturbing will not benefit the cause of getting the addict to seek treatment. In fact, they will usually result in halting the intervention from happening because the focus of attention gets placed on the argument and not on the matters at hand.

Many people hire professional intervention counselors to run the intervention. This is advisable in many situations but not a necessity in most. This depends largely on individual circumstances. For instance, does the person have pending legal issues, external pressures or other issues?. Or does the person deny any drug usage? These types of factors need to be considered before bringing in an outside person.

You may want to seek help in establishing who should be present at the intervention because it is a crucial factor.

When is the appropriate time?

When does the intervention take place? Ideally, this has less to do with the family’s schedule and more to do with what’s going on in the addict’s life.

The optimum time for an intervention is just after a major event. Such an event would be being arrested or when the addict has done something wrong without showing remorse, such as lying, stealing, or cheating. Another time would be the threat of a spouse leaving. Yet another would be after an overdose. Although you obviously don’t want to risk the addict’s life by postponing the intervention forever, an intervention will be exponentially more effective after such events where the addict is down and feels like their world is coming to an end.

Even in the absence of these situations, an intervention can be successful, especially if the family is close enough to the addict daily that every little situation is known. An addict’s life is a major roller coaster and the only way an addict can deny their problem is to successfully hide these problems from those who love him.

A major consideration should be planning the intervention when the addict is sober. In the case of cocaine, methamphetamine, or other hard drugs, this should be in the morning after the addict has slept. In the case of heroin, methadone, or opiate type drugs, it will be when they are in withdrawal and not high. In either case, attempting an intervention while a person is extremely high will usually not be productive because the addict cannot see many of their problems and their attention will be elsewhere.

In general, the timing of the intervention is crucial and needs planning, but at the same time an addict’s life is very unstable so opportunities might present themselves frequently.

What general language or message should be used?

The tone should be one of concern. The intention should be clear. It should be unwavering.

“We love you, we’ve always loved you, we’ll never stop loving you, but we’re not willing to watch you kill yourself with drugs.”

The family should definitely express concern but not sympathize with the addict. Sympathy is a form of agreement and can backfire by justifying the addiction.

The family’s preparation will pay off be presenting an intervention that doesn’t include anger or fear and shows the addict how much they care about them. Don’t talk about other family problems or life problems to try and swap the point of the intervention. You want to make sure to point out the addict has a problem and help them understand that everyone present knows about the situation and wants to see it resolved.

What is Plan B?

An intervention with proper planning that is carried out correctly will result in an addict agreeing to receive help. But you must accept the fact that ultimately the addict may, for whatever reason, say “NO”. This scenario needs to be thought out in advance so that the family consistently moves to the proverbial Plan B.

If, for whatever reason, the intervention fails and the addict is still an addict, statistically the situation will likely get worse. So what action is taken by the family at this point? The family knows the person is addicted and the addict has been confronted with this fact so whatever message the family gives the addict at this point is critical.

By refusing to seek treatment the addict is saying to the family, “I want to continue to use drugs. I want to continue the family’s suffering. I want to control my own life.” The family will in turn answer every word and action taken. If the family says, “I understand. Please leave and don’t expect any money or support in any way, unless you decide to get help.”, then the addict is left to run their own life which they generally do not have the ability to do. Before long, you have a person who “DECIDES” that treatment is the best thing. If, on the other hand, the family acts disappointed and carries on as usual, then the addict gets the message that it is OK to continue this lifestyle and will put up even more resistance to intervention in the future.

Obviously, there are certain risks involved with either approach and they should be evaluated clearly beforehand. As long as the addicts continue to use drugs, they are risking their life.

The bottom line is that an addict needs to decide, for whatever reason, that they need help. Most “locked down” approaches fail because the addict is not part of the recovery process. The only way an addict can usually fight against the addiction is when enough external pressure is applied to cause them to decide to quit. Many calls this “the bottom”. However, there can be many bottoms. Some are lower than others, but each can make a person quit drugs. It just depends on what happens when the person is at that level. For instance, if a person is facing serious charges and is very scared, the person will either have an intervention and go to treatment or will get through this situation and be back to using drugs. In the final analysis, it is often the family who both spots the incident and uses it to achieve treatment for the addict.