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Changes Treatment Center


Tips for a Successful Intervention


It is excruciating to observe your loved one spinning in negative space, due to an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Perhaps your heart-to-heart talks failed and your beloved ignored your half-hearted ultimatums. Don’t give up.

Get proactive and stage an intervention. Rather than hoping the addict will ‘wake up’ if he gets arrested or gets fired from his job, the formal intervention, when handled correctly, can persuade your person to get professional help.


What is a Formal Intervention?

A formal intervention is a planned process, typically led by an intervention specialist, along with your person’s close friends and family. The idea is to help an addict admit his self-destructive behavior and want to change it. The focus is on the person realizing what extent his addiction has on others (and himself). The end goal is to get him admitted into a rehab and recovery center.

It may be comforting to know that about 75 percent of addicts who were presented with a formal intervention, agreed to addiction recovery. This is per a 1999 study reported in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.


What is an Intervention Specialist?

For best results, engage an intervention specialist to facilitate the intervention. Statistics show 90 percent of formal interventions handled by professional interventionists result in success, with the addict entering rehab.

Interventionists keep the planned process on-track. They are compassionate, loving and supportive. Unlike family and friends, their emotions do not interfere with the task at hand – to lead the addict out of denial and into a rehab center.


Who Participates in the Formal Intervention?

No two interventions are alike. Groups may consist of: spouses or lifetime-partners, parents, grandparents, adult children, good friends, etc. It is possible for an intervention group to lay out their expectations to the addicted person, without an intervention specialist. However, success is debatable.

Minus the professional, your person may not agree to rehab. Most likely he will get angry and even verbally abusive to group members. Because addicts are in deep denial, the environment may turn hostile. If anyone is in physical danger, contact the police.


Pre-Planning the Intervention

The intervention specialist will provide an overview on addiction and recovery. She will answer questions and show the group ways to persuade your person that he needs help.

Family and friends can help prompt the addict’s realization of pain he is inflicting on others by sharing incidents where he has hurt them. The group should hear each other’s stories in advance.

If your loved one flatly refuses treatment, be strong enough to enforce any consequences you presented during the intervention. For instance, parents might terminate financial help, others may elect to cut off any contact with the addicted person, the spouse may insist he moves out of the family home.

It’s a good idea for intervention participants to write about issues they want to cover during the formal intervention. Preface negative statements with loving expressions and reinforce your belief that he has the courage to get sober and stay sober with proper treatment.

Professional interventionists can assist the group with their intentions and in determining consequences.


Intervention Day

Try to hold the intervention at a time when the person suffering from addiction is sober. It’s best to escort him to the intervention, but don’t reveal why the meeting is taking place.

You can’t forecast how your person will react when group members confront him. Intervention specialists prove their worth via expertise and experience in sustaining calm, constructive meetings.


Final Thoughts

When intervention achieves the best outcome, the person with an addiction voluntarily enters an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Afterwards, he will need encouragement from family and friends to maintain his sobriety.