Before discussing intervention expectations, first we need to define what is an intervention. An intervention is a process by which the family, friends, a professional interventionist, and counselors show a person who is struggling with addiction the negative impacts of the disease on their lives and that of those who care about them. Interventions have been largely popularized by reality television and a shift in thinking about addiction in general.
In years past, it was believed that when a person was addicted that when they hit ‘rock bottom’ they would naturally seek help or enter rehab. However, this thought process has evolved and it is now commonly held that addiction is a disease, not a series of bad choices in life. As a result of this shift, there has been a push to get people into rehab or receiving help much sooner in the addiction process. This has also helped professionals and others to move away from ‘punishing’ the addict for a disease they cannot necessarily control.
Drug and alcohol interventions are often a last-ditch effort to get loved ones into treatment. Some individuals who truly need treatment may not go without the support of family and loved ones through intervention. There are some basic things that can be expected in an intervention and some aspects that should be considered before putting together such a task. First, we will discuss what someone can expect from an intervention, but with the understanding that the focus needs to remain on the person behind the addiction and seeking professional help, not the addiction itself.
Things to Expect
When it comes to intervention expectations, interventions are emotional experiences for all involved. Even though it may be uncomfortable, it is a good way to support the person with an addiction in moving toward recovery and long-term success. In case you are considering an intervention, here are a few things when it comes to intervention expectations.
- The addict may get irritated and will need reminded of why the intervention is beneficial
- Once the addict calms down, factual information about addiction is much more helpful than shaming the person or blaming them for being addicted
- Emotional outbursts should be avoided or the addict may become defensive
- Ultimatums can help the person with the addiction see the need for immediate treatment
- If you set an ultimatum or boundary, be willing to stick with it even if this includes enabling behaviors and financial support.
How Does an Intervention Work?
There are several steps that are common in an intervention and most of these should be taken with a professional interventionist so that emotion does not overtake the purpose of the actual intervention.
These steps are as follow and will be described below.
- Make a plan
- Gather information
- Form an intervention team
- Decide on specific consequences
- Make notes
- Hold an intervention meeting
- Follow up
Each of these steps is important and serves as an integral part of the overall process. While some may be harder and more time consuming than others, they are each of equal importance.
Make a Plan
When a family member or friend proposes an intervention the first step is to form a planning group. This is the time when professional counselor or interventionist should be sought. This should be someone with experience. Since an intervention is such a highly charged situation with a potential for a blow up or extreme anger, betrayal or resentment, it is best to have a professional present.
As the group members gather, they need to find out about the extent of their loved one’s problem as well as research the actual condition and rehab possibilities. This may also be the time to initiate enrollment in a specific treatment program. Having this placement ready to go can mean the person does not have time to change their mind once agreeing to treatment. If possible, it is best to find treatment in a different state or away from the area of use.
Intervention Team Formation
The planning group will form a team of those that will personally participate. This should be people who love and care for the individual, but also those who are willing to participate and practice ahead of time. These individuals should also be willing to stay calm, be direct, and follow through with any boundaries put into place. This team will set a time and place to present a consistent, rehearsed message and structured plan. However, you should not let your loved one know what you are doing prior to the actual intervention.
This can be the hardest aspect for some family members and friends. You have to decide ahead of time on consequences if your loved one does not accept treatment. Each person must make this decision and be prepared to follow through. For some this may mean asking the addict to move our, while others may need to stop financial help.
Each team member must make notes and describe specific incidences in which the addiction caused a problem. These may be emotional, physical, or financial issues. Discuss the toll the addiction has had while still expressing care and an expectation that they can change. Your loved one cannot argue with facts or your personal response to an occurrence.
Without revealing that reason, have your addicted loved one go to the intervention site. If possible, do not let them drive themselves. Members of the team will then take turns expressing what was practiced, your loved one will be presented with the treatment option and asked to accept on the spot. Each team member will also share the consequences of not accepting that help, but no consequence should be offered that cannot or will not be followed through with by the person making the consequence.
This part of intervention is often left out, but serves great importance. Involving a spouse and family members is critical to helping someone stay in treatment and avoiding relapse. This may include things like changing every day patterns to make it easier to avoid certain behaviors, participating in counseling, seeking recovery support, and knowing what to do if relapse does occur.
All of this planning may seem like overkill, but a poorly planned intervention can actually make things worse. In fact, a person could feel attacked or become more resistant to treatment. This is also why having a professional is important.
The River Rehab
If you are planning an intervention or just need help, then consider The River. The River is an in-patient facility, one of the best, located in Thailand. Their programs are of different lengths, but can serve from detox to the first weeks of recovery. Using a holistic approach, The River will help you with intervention expectations and treats the person as a whole mind, body, and spirit to teach better personal care and get started on the road to recovery. The River has a proven track record in treating various types of addiction over many years. If you are ready to help your loved one, set a time and save a spot for your loved one at the luxury in-patient facility known as The River.