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Do Drug Interventions Work?


We’ve all seen it play out on TV shows throughout the years. A character is addicted to alcohol and drugs and their family is worried. They get together and ambush the character with an intervention, giving prepared speeches about how much they care and how concerned they are. The character reacts badly, things do not go as planned, and the whole intervention descends into chaos.

If you believe these portrayals, an intervention is a misguided recipe for disaster. However, people have been doing interventions for decades. Do interventions actually work?

Evidenced by the endless number of successful interventions carried out every year, interventions do work. Of course, there are things you can do to give an intervention the best chance of succeeding.

Steps you need to take to ensure an intervention succeeds.

Get professional intervention help

One of the most fundamental mistakes you can make when preparing for an intervention is doing it alone. Without a professional intervention counselor helping you, your chances of success are significantly lowered.

This is not just a matter of knowledge. Yes, a professional intervention counselor knows more about the process than anyone else. But even if you have this information, a professional has a lot more to offer.

When you have a family member addicted to alcohol or drugs, you struggle with your own feelings towards the person. While you might be able to accept that they are suffering from a mental illness and want them to get better, they have still probably betrayed you in a number of ways. Planning an intervention alone is a recipe for disaster because you will struggle to keep your own feelings from impacting the process.

An intervention professional will be able to help you identify the feelings that can get in the way and help you manage them and bring them up in a healthy way.

They will also help manage everyone’s feelings during the intervention itself, preventing it from becoming an argument that helps no one.

Select the participants carefully

Not every loved one will be able to see the addict charitably. There will always be some who have been so badly hurt that their presence will inevitably lead to unhelpful behaviors. They may become accusatory, in which case the intervention can start to feel like an attack rather than an activity of love and concern.

Most participants are going to have to work to manage their feelings and this cannot be a disqualifier. However, once you have started preparing for the intervention, you can get a feel for who is ready to do the work. If someone is not ready to commit to doing the intervention from a place of love, consider asking them to sit it out.

Set the intervention scene

It is important that the intervention is carried out in an environment in which the individual feels safe while pushed to confront their discomfort. This includes finding a neutral space that will not be crowded, doing it at a time in which the person has no pressing responsibilities, and keeping it a complete surprise.

In other words, the person’s focus should be entirely on the intervention, but they should not have the chance to prepare for it. With preparation, they can work up a number of excuses and justifications that will be hard to break down.

Interventions work. However, you need to prepare well before jumping into the process. Hire a professional interventionist to help in preparation and mediation if you want optimal results.

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