Staging a Substance Abuse Intervention

An Overview of Substance Abuse Intervention

If you have a friend or family member who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you know how difficult it can be for addiction sufferers to admit that they have a problem, no matter how obvious it is to everyone else. As someone who loves an addict, you can help that person by conducting a substance abuse intervention.

The Myth of Rock Bottom

It is commonly believed that  someone must hit rock bottom and face some kind of relational or economic catastrophe before they will realize their need to get sober. This is not true. In fact, addiction treatment results are often far better the earlier the addiction is treated. More importantly, earlier treatment will minimize negative consequences.

The tragic truth is that by the time someone truly hits rock bottom, it is too late for an intervention. The only true rock bottom is death. Staging a substance abuse intervention can save your loved one’s life.

The Basics of a Substance Abuse Intervention

A substance abuse intervention occurs when friends and family members of an addiction sufferer confront them with the destructive consequences of their behavior. An intervention is customized to the particular addiction sufferer, and seeing the consequences of their addiction can often wake them up. 

After a substance abuse intervention, an addiction sufferer can no longer claim ignorance of the need to start healing from their addiction. In fact, drug interventions are often highly successful in getting addiction sufferers to start pursuing recovery in traditional or alternative rehab programs.

Components of a Drug or Alcohol Intervention

Each drug intervention is unique, but there are common elements found in most. They key components of an addiction intervention include:

  • Presenting the addict with the specific ways in which their addiction has caused harm to the addict and their loved ones
  • Offering a plan that will help the addict beat the addiction
  • Describing the consequences that will ensue, such as breaking off contact with the addict, if the addict refuses to get help.

What Makes a Substance Abuse Intervention Successful?

A successful substance abuse intervention requires careful planning in concert with the other friends and family of the addiction sufferer as well as a counselor or treatment facility. Without a coordinated effort and a sound plan to deal with the addiction, all that the intervention will do is offer complaints that cannot solve the problem. 

It is important to follow certain best practices and procedures when holding an intervention. Otherwise, the addiction sufferer is likely to become angry, hostile, and potentially violent. Poorly planned or executed interventions often have the opposite of the intended effect, leading to greater social isolation and more severe addiction.

Important substance abuse intervention tips include:

  • Practice beforehand
  • Be compassionate
  • Avoid anger
  • Do not place blame
  • Use, “your actions have made me feel…” language, not “you are x, y, or z” language
  • Be firm and do not back down from your ultimatums
  • Have a professional interventionist present, or at least consult with one beforehand
  • Avoid ganging up
  • Talk one at a time
  • Focus on how the addiction sufferer’s actions have affected them self and others without going into reasons behind the actions
  • Keep voices calm; do not yell or scream
  • Make a backup plan
  • Make sure you follow through on any consequences

Find Out More About Holding an Intervention

The most successful drug interventions provide a specific plan for the addict to follow, and we can help you formulate one. At BetterAddictionCare, we have helped many addicts and their families find the right treatment solutions. 

Our addiction care specialists can help you decide what the next steps will be after a substance intervention and locate cost-effective, customized treatment programs near you that are accepting new patients. Call today or fill out our contact form for assistance in the next steps for the addict you love.


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