What is an intervention? Who needs ones? Where should you host one? When should an intervention happen? These are all questions that you need to ask if there is someone in your immediate family or friendship circle who is addicted to intoxicating substances. Read on to find answers to these and more questions that you might have about the process:
An intervention should happen when you need to confront someone struggling with a substance use disorder – and any co-occurring mental health disorder – about their problems.
The meeting should be done in such a way that is as non-threatening as possible, and it should be held by friends and family members of the individual who is addicted. The ultimate goal would be to inform them that they are dependent on drugs and/or alcohol – which they might still be in denial about – as well as motivate them to check into an addiction treatment and rehabilitation facility to get the help they need.
The people present at the intervention will also try to point out all the destructive behavior and actions that the individual has been engaging in as a direct result of their ongoing substance abuse.
When you point out this destructive behavior as well as show the addict how it has been affecting everyone present at the meeting, the hope would be that they will get to see the fact that they need to receive treatment and ultimately agree to check into the rehab program that you have selected for them.
But when should an intervention happen? Essentially, there are some signs that you can use to help you guide the entire process from start to finish – with the overall aim of ensuring that the addict finally accepts the help that you are offering.
At some point in time, you might get a gut feeling that the time has come for you to intervene in an addiction problem before it changes into a crisis situation, or produces fatal results.
When you get to this stage and you feel this way, it is important that you realize that the time is ripe to talk to the addict so that they realize just how problematic their ongoing substance abuse has become.
In many cases, this will happen after the loved one who has been suffering from an alcohol use disorder or a drug addiction seems to have reached the stage where they are no longer manageable.
This means that you would have become tired of their excessive mood swings, and you need them to get rid of all the alcohol bottles and drug paraphernalia that they keep leaving around the home. They might also have been infringing – on a constant basis – on the family and personal boundaries that they once used to respect.
Alternatively, they could be struggling and suffering silently but you might already have noticed distinctive changes in their behavior and actions. Your heart might also be broken by the fact that you know that your friend, spouse, child, sibling, parent, or anyone else close to you is in some sort of pain that they need help for.
The Right Time to Intervene
While trying to answer the “when should an intervention happen?” question, you might want to know when it is most appropriate for you to intervene into a substance abuse and addiction problem before it turns out to be a crisis that you are no longer able to control.
Although there are no universal answers to any of these questions, you can be sure that there are a couple of signs and symptoms that you can use as a guide to help you know that the time has come to talk seriously with an addict – until they see that they have a problem and agree to check into a drug rehabilitation and treatment center.
Some of these signs and symptoms include but are not always limited to:
Need for an Intervention
For starters, you might have come to a point where you finally acknowledge that it is imperative that you host an intervention before it is too late. This is the first sign that the intervention is the next step that you need to take – especially when you realize that the process cannot make the situation worse than it already is.
In therapeutic practice – from psychotherapy and dialectical behavioral therapy all the way to cognitive behavioral therapy – it is a universally accepted fact that the ultimate goal of any addiction treatment program is that the addict acknowledges and accepts that they have a problem.
When an addiction evolves to the point that it starts causing tangible tension and stress in the affected individual’s immediate environment and personal and professional relationships, loved one will typically have two choices.
For one, they might acknowledge and accept that the addict has already succumbed to their condition. Alternatively, they could simply cross their fingers and hold their breath hoping for the best outcome possible.
The unfortunate thing about addiction is that it is a recurring and debilitating condition. Far too often, therefore, many people end up losing their livelihoods, relationships, and other sources of happiness – including but not limited to their lives even – simply because they are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
To this end, if you get to a point where you get a gut feeling that the next step you must take is to host an addiction intervention, you can be sure that you have found the answer to the “when should an intervention happen?” question. At this stage, the best thing you can do is start gathering other loved ones, friends, and family – and even contracting the services of a professional interventionist – to kick start the process.
The second sign that the time has come for you to host an intervention is when you realize that your loved one’s substance use disorder is only getting worse – and never improving like you thought that it would, or like they promised that it might.
In many cases, you might still not be completely certain whether the addiction has reached a stage where intervention is necessary. This is because you are not yet sure if their behavior and actions are extreme enough – or if you do not know just how much they have been engaging in substance abuse.
Still, there is one way you can be completely and absolutely certain that an intervention is the necessary next step – not only for the addict have themselves but also for their family, friends, loved ones, and everyone else closed to them.
To this end, if you get a point where you realize that the substance use disorder increasingly becomes worse, you would already have identified one of the factors that explain the natural progress of this condition. At this stage, the best thing you can do is to plan and execute an intervention before things continue getting out of hand.
Both alcoholism and addiction have been described as progressive conditions. This is because they typically worsen over time – even with periods and moments of relative or absolute abstinence and sobriety.
In fact, some addicts are able to stay as long as a month without using their drugs of choice. However, the moment they pick the drug up again, things will worsen to such an extent that it will seem like they never even stopped using in the first place.
The best way you can effectively address the disease and ensure that it does not progress further is by providing the addict with all the resources that are crucial to their recovery in the long term.
Some of these resources include detoxification – also known as a medically managed detox process – to ensure that they get rid of all substances and resultant toxins from their bodies and systems. This could be followed by inpatient addiction treatment and rehabilitation to give their spirit, mind, and body a break from their substance using lifestyle.
All these processes might also involve therapeutic resources designed to get to the root causes of the substance use disorder, as well as a sober environment free from all drugs of abuse and related triggers that could cause them to start using again. Such an environment would be ideal because it will allow the addict to flourish, as well as providing them with opportunities to develop connections with other recovering substance abusers. It could also be followed by a variety of aftercare options to ensure their lasting recovery.
Additionally, it might be to the best interests of everyone concerned to get a professional interventionist into the mix so that they can direct the entire process and ensure that it has the highest chances of proving successful.
These experts will provide you with knowledgeable experience and information on how to communicate effectively with the active alcohol or drug user. This could potentially offer the family and friends gathered at the intervention with the edge that will increase the chances that the addict will finally agree to check into a drug rehab and treatment center immediately after the intervention meeting.
Another sign that could point out answers to the “when should an intervention happen?” question revolves around the feelings that you might get about hosting this meeting. To be more specific, you might be terrified by the thought of sitting down to confront the addict about their ongoing substance abuse, tolerance, and dependence.
When you try to confront anyone whose behavior tends to change easily and widely – such as from a point of sedation and relaxation in one moment to intense rage, aggression, and violence the next, you can be sure that you will be engaging in what could be described as an overwhelming task.
Therefore, if your thoughts – of confronting an addiction, setting boundaries about their behavior and actions, and making suggestions of options that they could choose to get the help they need – are causing you to feel afraid or anxious, then the time might be ripe to host an intervention. To make the work easier for you, however, it is highly advised that you get a professional interventionist into the team.
The interventionist that you invite to the meeting will act as the buffer zone between the loved ones gathered at the intervention and the addict that you are trying to get into a treatment center.
This is particularly important because of the risk that emotions might run rampant and create a volatile environment – one that could hinder all chances that the substance user will agree to check into an addiction rehab facility. Having an interventionist present, to this end, will provide you with a safe and structured environment you need to ensure that the process turns out to be successful.
You should also remember that there is some power in having many people present at an intervention. Therefore, getting an experienced expert and professional could ensure that you are better able to take the appropriate steps to ensure that the addict finally gives in to the demands of the group and checks into rehab.
Although the process will seem a bit daunting and overwhelming – especially during the first few days that you consider it – it could end up providing logic and ensuring that any emotional outbursts are diffused even before they happen at the actual meeting.