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Drug Interventions

As the life of the drug addict continues to spiral downward, family members and friends stand by on the side-lines hoping and praying the worst does not happen. Indeed, sometimes that is the only thing they can do. However, other times a drug intervention can be just the thing the addict needs to get his/her attention.

Drug interventions are very powerful motivational tools in the lives of some addicts. In fact, an intervention is often the very thing that forces the drug addict to understand he or she has a problem that requires help. Experts agree that when an intervention is utilised, the drug addict does not necessarily need to hit rock bottom before he or she is willing to seek help.

Drug Intervention Basics

Drug interventions can be complex events involving several different components. Nevertheless, we can break the process down into some basic building blocks – the foundational building block being one of purpose.

The purpose of a drug intervention is to force the addict to come face-to-face with the reality of his/her behaviour. You need to understand that drug addiction impairs cognitive reasoning to the extent that most addicts do not even realise they have a problem. Instead, they might believe drugs are the only thing helping them to hang on in the face of other perceived difficulties.

The second building block is one of persuasion. The idea of persuasion is rooted in the fact that you cannot force a drug addict to seek treatment. He or she must make that decision on their own. The intervention is intended to be that persuasive vehicle leading the drug addict to that place of decision. As such, persuasion must be handled very delicately.

The third building block is one of accountability. Accountability is necessary in the sense that the addict must understand he/she has very clear choices to make. If an intervention is concluded without clear choices, the individual is not encouraged to make any decisions. At that point, you’ve wasted your time.

The final building block is that of ceasing all enabling behaviour. Unfortunately, family members and friends often enable addictive behaviour by making excuses for the addict. For an intervention to be successful, such enabling needs to stop. It must be clearly understood that the addict alone is responsible for his/her behaviour; he/she alone is responsible for changing it.

Professional Help

There is definitely a right and wrong way to conduct a drug intervention. To that end, there are professional counsellors who specialise in this sort of thing. It’s advisable that you seek advice from a professional before conducting an intervention. A professional can help on several different levels:

  • Advice – If you are comfortable conducting an intervention without the direct assistance of a professional, you can still benefit from professional advice. A counsellor can explain how to plan an intervention, what types of things should be said, and other various strategies. This advice may prove invaluable.

  • Planning – You may be willing to conduct an intervention without the direct assistance of a professional yet still require help in planning the event. Again, the professional counsellor can be valuable here. He or she can meet with the intervention team, help plan a strategy, and give advice to individual team members about what to say and how to say it.

  • Oversight – If you are uncomfortable conducting an intervention without the help of a professional, a counsellor can provide complete oversight. He or she will help plan the intervention, oversee it as it transpires, and provide a neutral place in which to hold it.

Intervention Focus

It used to be that interventions were conducted from the standpoint of showing the drug addict how destructive his or her behaviour was to their own mind and physical body. Moreover, while this strategy is still employed at times, the thinking on this has started to change.

In recent years, experts have slowly been concluding that a strategy of confronting the addict with the harm he or she is causing others might be more effective. They believe this is the case because drug addicts have already demonstrated, by their behaviour, that they have little regard for their own health and well-being. Their attitudes toward family members and friends might be different.

Think of it this way: very few addicts purposely endeavour to harm their loved ones. Especially spouses and children. When confronted with that reality, it might come as a real shock. That shock might even be strong enough to temporarily awaken the addict to the reality that he/she needs help.

Regardless of the strategy you and your counsellor choose, keep in mind a couple of other things:

  • team members should focus on the facts rather than emotions

  • an intervention should be conducted in a neutral place

  • team members must be willing to hold the addict accountable

  • team member should be chosen based on their level of influence

  • the purpose of an intervention is to heal, not to punish.

After the Intervention

Sometimes a drug addict can be encouraged to seek treatment after a single intervention. If so, team members or their counsellor need to be ready with treatment options as soon as the decision is made. You don’t want the drug addict to have enough time to change his/her mind.

If a drug intervention is not successful, team members should not assume the drug addict is beyond hope. They should also not assume they have failed in their efforts to help. It is not uncommon for addicts to require two or three interventions before they finally figure out what’s happening.

If you’re not sure what to do after an intervention, don’t be afraid to contact a professional again. If we can help, we’d be more than happy to do so. Our staff members are always available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

If you need help accessing rehab services for your loved one, you’ll be glad to know that’s what we do best. We are constantly researching treatment options so that you don’t have to. Rather than taking weeks or months to find out what’s available, all you need to do is call us or send an e-mail. We will walk you through your options and answer all of your questions.

Our primary goal is to assist you or your loved one in obtaining drug addiction recovery treatment. Moreover, because that’s all we do, we can focus all of our resources on it. Will you allow us to help you today?

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