Association of Intervention Specialists

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What is an Intervention?

Posted on August 2nd, 2012

One of the hardest things in life is watching a family member or friend’s life spiral down to complete destruction. Many things can cause this type of spiraling destruction but the main things are addictions such as drug and alcohol. At times, it can feel like there is nothing you can do for that person. Some people enable the person’s addictions because they feel like they can “control” the situation and keep it from getting worse. If you think about it, this type of person is only causing the spiraling to go at a faster rate. This, in the end, is defeating the whole purpose of helping their family member or friend. The best way to get the attention of someone who is struggling with an addiction is by holding an intervention.

An intervention is a gathering where family, friends and even colleagues gather together with the addict and in a caring way present the reality of their situation to them. The best way to make the intervention successful is by including an interventionist so there is a professional party involved. The interventionist can also be there to moderate the flow of the intervention as well as handle any high emotions that may arise. An intervention can be a highly emotional experience and a trained, qualified interventionist can help walk all the loved ones through the experience.

What is Involved with an Intervention

You may be asking, “What is involved in an Intervention?” The answer is simple, yet complex at the same time. There are many aspects and parts of an intervention that need to be planned out and taken care of before, during and after you present or engage with the individual that is suffering from this devastating disease. In fact, the best way to start is by making an appointment with a professional interventionist to talk things through. This way, the interventionist can present the variety of intervention models that are available and begin to prepare each family member, loved one, friend and colleague before the actual intervention. It is imperative that everyone involved is on the same page and has an appropriate plan.

The Intervention Plan

Once everyone who is involved in the Intervention knows their role, the interventionist will give everyone an assignment, which is the first part of making it successful. In many cases of an Intervention, the interventionist will ask each involved person to write a letter to the addict. The letter needs to focus on the following items:

  1. What the addict means to the individual.
  2. All the experiences of the addict directly related to that particular individual.
  3. The impact the addiction has had on the particular individual.

The last part of the letter is especially important; the addict must receive and understand the message of “Things Must Change for Us All and We Love You”. Essentially, the individual will list particular situations that have occurred directly related to the addicts use that have been devastating to that loved one and how that loved one felt about the situation. It is the hope that the love that is felt as a result of speaking the truth about how their addiction has impacted others’ lives will motivate the addict to seek immediate assistance.

The Actual Intervention

Once all the preparation and letters are written the interventionist will set a time for the addict and the group of family members, friends, loved ones as well as colleagues to join together. Often times, the Intervention is a “Surprise” for the addict and may take some coaxing to get them in the room. The best thing for the individuals involved is to be prepared emotionally as well as mentally. It will sometimes to be very tense, but the interventionist is there to help with that. In the long run, the end goal is to get the addict to engage in treatment in a rehab that will assist them in a life long journey of recovery.

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