Drug and alcoholism intervention is an attempt by family members and friends to help a chemically dependent person get help for his or her addiction. The purpose of an addiction intervention is to help the substance abuser see the physical and mental destruction their addiction creates. Interventions are usually successful and often enable the abuser to move on to successful drug and alcohol treatment programs.
As with all addictions, drug and alcohol abusers are usually the last to admit there is a problem. Or, the abuser may realize there is a problem but just cannot seem to seek help. Family, friends and careers also suffer and can be destroyed by the abuser’s addiction. Jay notes, one out of three people is living with or related to someone with an alcohol or other drug problems.
Intervention is the most effective technique families can use to help a loved one suffering from chemical dependency, alcoholism or other drug addictions. It is also the most ignored. But just as CPR is often the first, lifesaving step in helping a heart attack victim, intervention is the most powerful step that a family can take to initiate the recovery process. By taking action, families and friends can get help for their loved one and help for themselves as they cope. According to the Addiction Intervention Resources, 92 percent of those intervened on go to treatment and have the opportunity to change their lives.
Treatment centers and 12-step programs offer counseling, psychotherapy, support groups, and family therapy. These 12-steps consist of:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
- In addition, medications can also aid in suppressing withdrawals or cravings and in blocking the effects of drugs.
The National Intervention Referral process gives an example of a step-by-step approach to how intervention works.
- First, contact and intervention facility and speak to a staff member.
- Second, set up a meeting with an intervention specialist to discuss the history and circumstances of the person in crisis.
- Third, before the actual intervention occurs, the intervention specialist will meet with the family and friends to discuss each person’s role in the intervention, their boundaries, and the consequences for the substance abuser if he or she does not follow through with the intervention.
- Fourth, conduct the intervention.
- Fifth, after the intervention has taken place, the intervention specialist will continue to spend time with the abuser and provide transportation to an arranged-in-advance treatment center.
- Sixth, once the inpidual is undergoing treatment, the intervention specialist will continue to keep contact with him or her. The intervention specialist will remain active in the recovery process and act as a liaison between the family and the recovering patient.
According to National Treatment Referral; the treatment centers with the greatest success rate are those treating the whole person. These treatment centers are offering physical and psychological assistance, education and training.
In conclusion, a drug and alcoholism intervention can and will save the life of a loved who is addicted to drugs and alcohol. Families and friends must choose to not look the other way but to proactively seek help for themselves and the substance abuser.
- Jay, Jeff and Debra, Love First: A New Approach to Intervention for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, City Center, MN: Hazelden, 2000.
- ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS: The Story of How many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism (Second Edition), New York City, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing, Inc., 1955,