Hosting an intervention is a way to penetrate an addict or alcoholic’s denial and touch base with the person family members have lost to the disease.
The disease of alcoholism and addiction insidiously marks its claws into the neck of the afflicted individual. A boy that was once fun-loving, athletic, and active – becomes withdrawn and sad. He feels helpless, worthless, fearful, and nervous. You try calling him but his phone is off the hook and his cell phone has been turned off. He hides in his room when he hears the doorbell because he is paranoid about who might be there when he opens the door.
Where is the son you once loved, the grandson you used to garden with? Where is the all-star soccer athlete and the straight A student?
The truth is, he is still there – but his true colors are masked by the disease of addiction. Dependency on chemicals – whether it be prescription drugs, illicit drugs, or alcohol – takes a debilitating toll on an individual. Activities and hobbies that used to be of interest, are no longer practiced. Family members feel as though their efforts to convince the identified patient to seek treatment fall on deaf ears. Their pleading yields zero results.
Fortunately, there is the option of hosting an intervention.
An intervention is a highly orchestrated event. Pre-planning is a crucial component to the success of the intervention. Family members and friends discuss how, when and where the intervention will take place. They decide upon an alias for which to entice the identified patient into the room of choice. For instance, family members may tell the identified patient that they have a job interview in a certain building or a work meeting in a chosen room. On the day of the intervention, the identified patient walks into a room expecting to be interviewed. Instead, all of his or her friends are seated quietly on couches that make a horseshoe shape across the room. In the case of a professional interventionist, he or she is poised eloquently at the head of the family members. Upon entry, the addict or alcoholic is asked to take a seat. Barring any explicit reaction otherwise, he or she has a seat saved in a central location. This ensures that that all family members can read their letters in a visible location.
What a Successful Intervention Entails
The key to a successful intervention is to choose a time of day in which the alcoholic will most likely be sober, or the addict will be less likely to be high. For example, midday generally works better – on a weekday rather than on a weekend. When the addict woman walks into the room, she may have a backlash reaction initially. She may walk out of the room and call her enabling boyfriend to tell them what is going on. She may break down in emotions of sadness. Regardless of the type of reaction, it will most likely reach an equilibrium point within several minutes, and with a little reassuring rub on the shoulder, she enters back into the room with a renowned sense of composure.
Leading up to the intervention, all parties involved compile lists of ways in which the addiction or alcoholism has impacted their lives. They write down the ways in which they have been gravely affected. This can include:
- Guilt about potentially enabling the identified patient
- Anger at the sacrifices they have had to make in order to take care of the identified patient
- Intense fear of the person when high or drunk
- Desperation at wanting to help the identified patient but feeling unable to do so up until now
- Deep sadness at seeing the person they love be self-destructive, self-loathing and deteriorate physically
The key to a successful intervention is approaching the issue with love and compassion. When letters are read to the identified patient, family members and friends often cannot help themselves from getting emotional. Intense feelings and emotions should be expected. Such displays of emotion can serve as an asset to the family’s goal of penetrating the alcoholic or addict’s disease-ridden walls. Approaching the addict or alcoholic in a confrontational, angry way will only push them further into withdrawal. They may crawl into a figurative shell and stay guarded, unwilling to open their mind to the prospect of rehabilitation.