Intervention Steps and Best Practices

Intervention for Alcoholism or Drug Addiction

An intervention) is an orchestrated encounter between concerned parties and a person who has a dependency to alcohol or drugs. The intervention allows those concerned to voice their opinions and feelings about how the problem drinking or drug abuse is affecting them. It can be one-on-one or involve a number of people. Usually the intervention involves the friends and family telling the alcoholic about how they are concerned, how the problem is creating issues for them, and how they want them to get help.

Aim of an Intervention

The main goal of an intervention is to get a person to seek help for their problems with alcohol. This is done through conversations with the affected person and with the support of a trained counselor. The counselor will provide support and direction to friends and family prior to the intervention. This can include the intervention steps to follow, guidance on what to say, and how this will be an important turning point for the person who is going to have the intervention.

The key to any intervention is to raise awareness that there is a serious problem that needs attention. The time for providing physical, emotional or monetary support is over. Continued enabling of negative behaviors or situations will contribute to long-term physical and mental health problems.

Why Intervention

When someone is suffering from alcoholism or alcohol addiction, they are often in denial about how their behavior is affecting themselves and other people. They avoid people who will tell them they have a problem, act defensive or aggressive, make others feel guilty, or simply ignore the pleas for help. Alcoholism is a disease that can create long term health and family problems, and can contribute to an early death.

Ignoring or refusing to acknowledge that there is a serious and harmful problem is very difficult for friends and families to accept. Friends and family often become depressed, angry and feel that there is no hope left. They can be coerced by the alcoholic into believing that everything is fine, that the drinking is under control, but the reality is quite the opposite. Friends and family will often turn to an intervention specialist for help to convince an alcoholic that the problem is not going away and that they need help. An intervention is as much for the alcoholic as it is for those who are try to help them.

Steps of Intervention

An intervention is a detailed and considered event. It involves a number of steps that are generally followed from the beginning to post care.

Intervention Stage One – Contact Treatment Center

The first stage is to contact a professional intervention or treatment center for alcoholism. Once this connection is made, the further steps for the intervention and post intervention treatment can begin. The treatment facility will refer an interventionist to work through the particular case. They may require detailed and personal information regarding the person who is struggling with alcoholism.

Intervention Stage Two – Examine Options for Treatment

Stage two involves examining the options available for treatment. In some cases, a person may require hospitalization for medical detox, or they may need to get transported to a rehabilitation center. Different options are available depending on the severity of the problem, the religious or spiritual background of the person, and the involvement in other alcohol treatment programs in the past.

Intervention Stage Three – Planning Intervention

The third stage is the planning of the intervention. An intervention is a well planned event. All these details should be worked out with a trained interventionist who is experienced in preparing for these situations.

Intervention Stage Four – Pre-Intervention Meeting

Stage four is the pre-intervention meeting. It is during this time that the interventionist will discuss in detail who will be attending, where and when the event is going to take place, who will speak and for how long, and what they will say. A fool-proof plan will ensure that all possible outcomes have been considered, and will mean a stronger intervention. It is also during this time that the interventionist may suggest each member writes a letter to the client. This letter is to be read to the alcoholic to show them how their behavior is affecting others. It is done to give them a picture of how they are not just destroying themselves, but also those who care about them. The letter should be succinct and comprehensively detail how the person cares about them, are scared for them, and how they want to help them on their road to recovery. By writing a letter, it ensures that each person can clearly say what they want without being distracted by the emotions of the intervention.

Intervention Stage Five – Meeting

The fifth stage is the intervention meeting. The intervention will follow along the clearly and carefully constructed plan that the interventionist has developed. Family members, friends and co-workers who are concerned have the opportunity to request the person gets professional help for their alcohol addiction or dependency. The client is also given information regarding the consequences of not getting help which may include being cut off from friends or family.

Intervention Stage Six – Treatment

Stage six is treatment. This is when the intervention works. The client will accept that they need help and that they want to not be addicted or dependent on alcohol any more. The treatment facility is prepared for the individual who is immediately taken to the center.

Intervention May Not Solve All Problems

An intervention is like any other treatment for alcoholism. It is not suitable for everyone. Some individuals may not respond well to the intervention and choose to continue to drink regardless of the implications or health risks.

Rehabilitating someone who is a chronic drinker doesn’t always come easy. Treatment is a multi-stage process and as with any type of treatment, the support of friends and family is essential to helping someone succeed. An intervention should be viewed as a direction changer rather than as a solution. It should be the first step someone takes in getting the help they need.