What is intervention? Typically, interventions are a bit like a business meeting, where an employee who’s in trouble is called into the room and warned that if his performance doesn’t improve, he’s going to be fired and will have trouble getting another job in the future. The people in the room are prepared to lay it all out on the line, including some ways the employee can improve and how that’ll be measured. The key is that the employee doesn’t have a clue what the meeting is about until the door closes behind him.
The big difference between that business meeting and an intervention is that interventions are about life and death. They involve families, friends and a professional facilitator who lays the groundwork, prepares the group for the intervention and keeps it on track once it starts. Emotions and tension run high for people giving the intervention, which is why it’s important to have an interventionist on board.
Now that the question, “What is intervention?” has been answered, consider how it feels from the other side.
What Happens to the Substance Abuser Once Confronted?
If a substance abuser shows up at an intervention thinking that it’s going to be a party or a family gathering, he’ll have his guard down. He may be hung over from the night before, or craving another dose of his chosen drug. He may even have gotten high or drunk before showing up. Hopefully, he’s momentarily sober.
Once confronted, an addict will react in one of three ways. As he hears the stories of what his abuse has done to others, he may either collapse into tears and regret, get angry and defensive or shut down completely. Physically, he may start to sweat, feel nauseous and dizzy or simply sit quietly until it’s over. He may even get up and storm out. Whichever way it goes, an interventionist will be alert to any signs of trouble and be able to steer the meeting in a constructive, not destructive direction.
The point of an intervention is to break down the addict’s barriers and get the individual into treatment, right away, that very day. The consequences of continuing to use are made crystal clear, and one of those consequences is being cut loose from family and friends if the using doesn’t stop.
What Are the Chances of a Successful Intervention?
Most interventions end with the addict going into treatment. In that way, you can say that interventions are usually successful. However, continued success depends on a number of factors: how long the addict has been using, how entrenched he is in the addiction and whether or not he believes that the consequences are real. Some addicts will walk out of treatment soon after it starts, and others will stay and begin the work of reinventing their lives.
Intervention is a last-ditch attempt to force that choice in a positive direction. If someone you love is caught in the spiral of addiction to drugs or alcohol, call our hotline at 800-447-9081. We’ll give you information and resources, help you plan the intervention and guide you through the process, and help you learn more about what you can expect afterwards. What is intervention? It’s a chance to save a life. Call now.