What Makes a Successful Intervention?

Do you want to help a loved one recover from substance addiction? Have you tried to plan an intervention but failed? Do you wonder what effective intervention looks like? It takes careful planning and self-education to enact an intervention aimed at substance addiction. Many family-initiated interventions have failed because of either lack of education about the nature of substance addiction or counterproductive approaches. Sometimes, family members hesitate to seek help from professional interventionists because they are living with the stigma of addiction themselves. These make a poor foundation to begin an intervention at home.

Can You Enact an Intervention Without External Help? 

Enacting an intervention at home without external help can be difficult because of several reasons. First, very few people have adequate knowledge about how addiction and recovery work. Many family members might be entrenched in biases and stigma about substance addiction themselves. Second, some substance addiction has been triggered by certain trauma and dysfunctions in family relationships, so family members cannot reverse addiction without addressing these deeper roots. Third, not every family has the time and energy to plan a careful, evidence-based, and effective intervention. 

In recent years, self-planned interventions have been popularized by reality TV shows, but these representations usually offer a false understanding of how an effective intervention works. Nevertheless, this does not mean it is impossible to do a family intervention without seeking professional help. However, a family needs to have all the foundational pieces together before they enact an intervention, knowing it won’t backlash on a loved one’s health or the entire family dynamics.

What Are Some Useful Intervention Strategies? 

Good intervention strategies include being mindful of things to avoid. First of all, the family and friends of an addicted person should get involved without saying or doing things spontaneously without careful planning. This is because spontaneous gatherings to address a family member’s addiction often evolve into a confrontational conversation full of shaming, blame-shifting, and mutual accusations. These will not only fail to help but might trigger more stress in the home, which is a trigger for using drugs and alcohol. Seeing the collective performance might lead the person to refuse help from all of you because they are afraid of things getting worse.

Conversations within the family about a loved one’s addiction can be emotionally charged because they are emotionally vested in the matter. It is hard to form a healthy detachment from the situation. Ironically and sadly, that is exactly why family intervention tends to fail. Your loved one needs unconditional support and non-judgmental communication, but other members of the family might not be emotionally ready to offer this support.

A successful intervention should instead focus on the positives. By the time your loved one is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, it is no use blaming anyone for his or her condition. The only urgency is to focus on helping them out of addiction. Your loved one needs to be educated on the negative and long-term effects of addiction. They need to be convinced that detox treatment and a recovery plan are the necessary steps. 

The difficulties often lie in communicating these messages and successfully convincing your loved one into accepting treatment. In order to achieve these goals, you cannot use judgmental tones or shaming approaches, which can only invite resistance from the one you want to help. You need to work together towards gentle, open, and mutually trusting communication. As parents or family members, you also need to acknowledge your accountability, and humbly ask to offer your help. Leave room for your loved one to accept help. This shows that you respect them, no matter what. 

When Is It Time to Work With Professional Interventionists? 

Working with a professional interventionist can save your family time, energy, and pain. Most importantly, it can prevent you from taking many detours, only to find that your loved one has become more resistant to external help. For this reason, it is wise to start consulting with an interventionist as early as possible. This gives an opportunity for your family to get adequately educated about the condition of addiction and the behavioral patterns of an addicted person. 

Family and friends can use the help of an interventionist to plan for intervention on their own. This can be the best approach because the power of family support (rightly presented) can be powerful and motivating for your loved one. What a professional interventionist does is help you structure the process, guide you through the different stages, and lead you to the desired goals. Recovery interventionists are well-connected with various treatment programs, so they are in the best place to help plug you into a wide network of resources.

What Services Do Interventionists Offer?

Professional interventionists will help you plan a multi-step process to ensure the likelihood of lasting recovery. First, there will be pre-intervention education sessions that cover important topics like codependency and family systems, setting healthy boundaries, and building accountability in the home. Second, an interventionist can provide sober escort service by accompanying the addicted person to appointments and other trips. 

During this time, there will be weekly case management meetings where the interventionist meets with family members to discuss their loved one’s progress and strategize the next steps. There can also be separate parent coaching sessions. Lastly, the interventionist can help family members make treatment decisions and match their loved ones with the most suitable treatment providers. 

Do you want to help a loved one out of addiction? Has your family previously planned an intervention but failed? Do you know what a successful intervention looks like? Consulting with a professional interventionist may be a beneficial option for you. At South Florida Intervention, we have professionally-trained interventionists to work with families who want to help their loved ones out of addiction. An interventionist will educate you on many topics related to addiction and recovery. Our recovery coaches can also help parents gain a better understanding of the issues of addiction and recovery. We know what strategies can help you effectively support your child without complicating the family dynamics. We have worked with many recovering young people and their families over the years. In addition to recovery coaching and parent coaching, we also offer sober escort and detailed case management. Furthermore, we are well-connected with trusted health professionals who have plenty of experience. Call us at (202) 390-2273.