When a loved one is addicted to alcohol or drugs, the desire to help as well as the mixed emotions that family members may have about the addiction can cause confusion in deciding which measure to take in order to convince their loved one to seek treatment. Just sitting back and hoping that things will eventually get better will definitely not apply when it comes to any addiction because it is a chronic and progressive disease that requires proper treatment in order for the addict to heal completely.
Staging an intervention is one of the most effective ways to make an addict realize that there is a problem and make him aware of the extent at which the addiction has affected his life and relationships. But if an intervention is not planned and executed properly, it can backfire and the addict might end up falling deeper into the addiction because he felt that he was being judged upon and that he doesn’t have the support that he needs from his loved ones.
In most cases, the best time to intervene is during the early stages of the addiction and a simple request to stop the abuse may be more than enough to get them on the right track. In some cases, a perfectly timed and elaborately planned intervention is needed and it is highly suggested that this be done after a crisis event so that the addict will find it difficult to deny the existence of the problem.
The success of an intervention highly depends on the degree of planning that you have prior to sitting down with the addict. Each person is unique and the addiction has changed each person differently so choosing the best type of intervention is crucial if you want to help your loved one recover and get healthy.
Different Intervention Models
- Johnson Model – this is the surprise or ambush intervention where the addict does not have any idea about the intervention happening until everyone sits down and tells him so. In this model, the participants of the intervention must be prepared to handle the anger that the addict may feel due to the manipulation of the situation. During intervention, focus on the positive attributes of your loved one and discuss the negative changes brought about by the addiction. It will help to cite specific examples as you discuss these negative changes. Be cautious not to use this model with addicts who are also suffering from trauma as the ambush or surprise approach can result to violence or self-harm.
- Invitation Model – this is a less confrontational intervention where the addict is made aware of what will happen and is invited to meet with a group of his friends and family. Some describe this model as motivational interviewing and is very effective for addicts who have already acknowledged that the addiction exists and that they need treatment and for addicts who needs a gradual and gentle treatment approach.
- Systemic Model – this intervention involves the entire family and all the participants are educated and receives counselling so that family members can offer the proper support for the addict recovery. Dysfunctional families and those who find themselves enabling the addict will benefit from this type of intervention.