Addiction Interventions

There is nothing logical about the disease of addiction. As a friend, family member or other loved one of someone struggling with addiction, you have likely experienced the frustration, disappointment, and hurt that comes from trying to talk about substance abuse in a rational way. It often feels like no matter what you do or say, the addicted individual will continue to make poor choices that harm themselves and those around them.

The truth is that your loved one is not able to make good decisions for themselves while they are stuck in the grip of addiction. Addiction leaves them no choice, and it will continue to take away their autonomy until professional treatment gives them the right tools to overcome their symptoms. The best way to help is to show them a clear, simple path to recovery that makes it easy for them to get treatment – and in many cases, the best way to accomplish this is to hold an intervention.

What Is An Addiction Intervention?

An intervention is a way for people to get help with their addiction. It can be used as an opportunity for family and friends to show someone with substance abuse issues how much they care in a non-threatening manner. The goal of any intervention should always be recovery; sobriety will provide new opportunities which lead towards long-term effective recovery.

With an intervention, you can show your struggling loved ones that they will not be taking this first step alone. A well-organized, targeted, and planned intervention is much more than just another conversation about your loved one’s substance abuse problem. It is a meeting about addiction treatment, aimed specifically at showing the individual that treatment is available and is waiting for them. In a professional intervention, you will work with an interventionist, a treatment center, or another intervention specialist ahead of time to find an appropriate treatment center and arrange admission and transportation. Then, you can gather the people, thoughts, words, and resources you need to show your addicted loved one that it is time to get help. Together you can move toward sobriety, healing, and long-term recovery.

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An Intervention Can Make a Difference​

The first steps in getting addiction treatment are often the hardest. Asking for help requires admitting vulnerability to both yourself and others. The task of researching available recovery treatment is time-consuming and can be confusing. Even simply transporting oneself to a treatment facility may feel overwhelming. If an addicted individual feels as though they need to accomplish all of these things on their own, it is easy to see why they would struggle to get themselves into treatment or avoid the idea of rehabilitation altogether.

With an intervention, you can show your struggling loved one that they will not be taking this first step alone. A well-organized, targeted and planned intervention is much more than just another conversation about your loved one’s substance abuse problem — it is a meeting about addiction treatment, aimed specifically at showing the addicted individual that treatment is available and is waiting for them. In a professional intervention, you will work with an interventionist, a treatment center or another behavioral health specialist ahead of time to find an appropriate treatment center and arrange admission and transportation. Then, you can gather the people, thoughts, words and resources you need to show your addicted loved one that it is time to get help. Together you can move toward sobriety, healing and long-term recovery.

What to Expect During and After An Intervention

Every intervention is different depending on the addicted individual’s situation, the personalities involved and other surrounding circumstances such as a history of treatment attempts or recent problems as a result of the individual’s substance abuse. Working with a professional interventionist will help you sort through many of the possible triggers before the intervention itself, which keeps the meeting on track and moving in the right direction. An interventionist will also help you create a list of constructive topics to address, appropriate people to include and important resources to have on hand.

An intervention is intended to be a dialogue between an addicted individual and their loved ones. It is not an opportunity for friends or family members to air grievances or to tell the addicted individual what they are doing wrong. Instead, the point is to have an open and honest discussion about their substance use, allowing both sides to share their perspectives. The objective is to persuade the addicted individual that it is time for treatment. Participants should remain positive and supportive, encouraging the addicted individual to see that a life in recovery is possible and that sobriety will be healthier and more fulfilling than addiction.

The ideal outcome is that the individual agrees to get help — sometimes they will do so because they believe they need it, and other times it will be a compromise to try it at their loved ones’ request. Once they agree, they can be transported to the pre-arranged treatment program right away, avoiding any complications or changes of heart.

In other cases, the intervention does not go as planned. It may be best to stop the intervention when it becomes ineffective, as it is essential to avoid creating a negative association with conversations about treatment. Some of these situations include:

  • The individual may arrive at the intervention under the influence. They will not be able to think clearly or make appropriate decisions, so it is best to wait and try again on a date when the individual is sober.
  • The individual may react with hostility or anger. If the situation cannot be calmly de-escalated, you should stop the intervention and try again at a later date. If the addicted individual has a history of responding negatively to discussions about their substance abuse, you can talk to your interventionist about de-escalation techniques or about having a professional mediator present. If at any point you feel that you or the other participants are in danger, you should stop the intervention and first get to safety.
  • Finally, the individual may simply feel that they do not need addiction treatment. If they cannot be gently convinced or persuaded, do not try to force them into treatment and do not respond with frustration or anger. Recovery takes time, and interventions do not always work on the first try. However, you should have consequences in place — such as ceasing financial support — and you should be prepared to enforce them if treatment is refused.

Recovery takes time, and interventions do not always work on the first try. However, you should have consequences in place – such as ceasing financial support – and you should be prepared to enforce them if therapy and treatment are refused.

Types of Intervention Techniques

There are a number of different intervention techniques that someone could use when helping someone with an addiction. The best type for the individual will depend on what they need most since addiction is different for everyone. It is important to keep in mind that every person has a unique story so there’s not really a “one size fits all” method or technique.

Below are some common types of intervention techniques:

Albany-Rochester Interventional Sequence for Engagement (ARISE)

The ARISE model is a research-based model involving three stages to its approach. According to their website, the ARISE technique can get over 83% of individuals into treatment within 3 weeks and 96% enter addiction treatment in six months.

Stage One: A concerned member of the intervention team contacts a trained interventionist and is provided with a free phone call. This is termed “The First Call.” They are then coached to set up the First Meeting of the Intervention Network. ARISE proclaims that “56% of addicted individuals enter treatment at Level 1.”

Stage Two: The Intervention Network, acts as a unit to ensure no one person manages the process one-on-one with the addicted individual. This is “Strength in Numbers.”

Stage Three: The addicted individual is presented with serious consequences if they do not accept treatment. This is considered the “Formal Intervention.”

The Johnson Model

Dr. Vernon Johnson believed there was a better way to approach an addicted loved one instead of through shame and humiliation. Dr. Johnson created his model for interventions in the 1970s after interviewing recovering alcoholics to learn what helped them stay sober. Dr. Johnson found that the element of family and loved ones could help bring value to interventions. This new approach allowed addicted individuals to be treated with love and care instead of belittling the addicted individual.

When most people think of a standard intervention model, The Johnson Model is what they are referring to. There are seven components of the Johnson Model for interventions:

  1. A Team: The “treatment team” may consist of loved ones, family members, close friends, therapists, or interventionists. The team has an initial session to plan what it is they want to convey to the individual.
  2. Planning: The planning stage involves careful planning and strategy. Deciding where to hold the intervention, the best time to meet with the individual and a calm, safe environment should be planned out as well.
  3. Focus on Care: The individual should feel cared for and loved during the intervention. This is what the Johnson Model was created for.
  4. Addiction-Only: During the process, the only thing that should be discussed during the intervention is the addiction issue. Past history and irrelevant issues should be left out of the conversation.
  5. Evidence: It is important to provide evidence of the problem when planning the intervention. Any past events should be detailed in a way that describes how the addiction has negatively affected their life.
  6. Main Goal: The primary goal should always result in the individual accepting treatment. This should not be treated as a punishment but as a way to better their life.
  7. Treatment Options: The Intervention team should provide a few different options for treatment so the addicted individual still feels like they have choices.

Get Help With Professional Addiction Interventions

While popular media portrayals of interventions might make them seem like events you could organize on your own, it is essential to enlist the help of a professional interventionist or intervention service. Improperly planned interventions can go wrong in many different ways, and an intervention that becomes heated or emotionally charged can damage an addicted individual’s long-term willingness to seek or receive treatment. With professional guidance, the intervention will have substance and structure, and you will have a plan in place for either a positive or negative outcome.

At Riverside Recovery of Tampa, we work with the families or loved ones of potential clients to help them arrange an intervention alongside admission to our treatment programs. If your loved one is struggling with substance abuse, we are able to help you create a plan, start to finish. Including the intervention, admissions process, and transportation to our facility. This ensures our team is ready to welcome your loved one after the intervention is complete. 

Contact us to learn more about intervention resources in the Tampa area or to find out if our addiction treatment programs are right for your loved one.

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