Tips for a Family Intervention

Tips for a Family Intervention


There is always going to be some risk involved when it comes to doing a family intervention on a loved one who is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.  Of course everyone wants to see this person get the help that they so obviously need, but there is a small risk involved in the confrontation.  The addict may lash out at everyone, or simply withdrawal further into isolation, or they may become more depressed and self medicate even more.  But these risks are minimal in some cases due to the spiraling out of control that some addicts are displaying with their disease, and a truly desperate family might decide to go ahead with the intervention anyway.

If you do decide to do a formal intervention with your family, here are some things you should consider:

1) A drug or alcohol intervention is not a magic cure-all, and should not be treated as such.  If you believe that this can force a person to change then you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  In some cases an intervention is helpful, but do not expect to see results right away.  Even if the person agrees to go to rehab immediately, the chances of them staying clean and sober forever from that moment forward are rather slim.  Instead, see the intervention as a step on the journey.  It can still be helpful.  Just don’t expect an instant miracle.

2) Paying for a professional interventionist to help you might be wasteful. There is nothing necessarily wrong with doing so, it just doesn’t produce significant results like our brains think it should.  If we pay more, we should get more, right?  It does not really work that way with an intervention.  You are dealing with a probable negative short term outcome, regardless of how much money you spend.  In most cases you should just organize it yourself.

3) Use a specific goal.  Don’t just intervene and plead for change.  This is useless.  If you want to be effective, the best you can do is to have a trip to rehab all set up in advance.  Check in or do not check in to treatment.  That is the decision that the addict should be facing during the intervention.  Anything less gives the person too much wiggle room to continue abusing drugs and alcohol.  If you want good results then you have to convince them to take real action.

Success in recovery is only propagated by action, never by thinking or discussion.  Always action.  So demand that from the addict or alcoholic in question.