ALCOHOL AND DRUG INTERVENTION
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What is an Alcohol and Drug Intervention?
A drug and alcohol intervention is a structured process with the end goal of ending the use of substances by the person undergoing the intervention. That is, an intervention is a process that is developed and implemented to ameliorate or cure a medical or psychiatric condition. For example, a medical intervention may include taking an antibiotic for an infection, helping one make lifestyle changes to decrease one’s blood pressure, or to begin the process of stopping drug addiction or alcoholism in their tracks.
Who Needs an Alcohol and Drug Intervention?
A drug and alcohol intervention may be necessary for those who either don’t recognize that they have a problem, or for one who recognizes that they have a problem to continue to use drugs or alcohol despite the knowledge of having an addiction.
Who Can Perform an Alcohol and Drug Intervention?
It is not uncommon for one to believe that a drug addiction or alcoholism intervention must be performed by a professional. It’s certainly helpful for a professional to be involved, but is not a requirement. In fact, most substance abuse interventions are performed by those closest to the addict. An intervention can be as simple as a private discussion with the drug addict or alcoholic, or can be a formal, sit-down meeting with multiple members of the persons recovery alliance along with one or more professionals.
How To Accomplish an Effective Alcohol and Drug Intervention?
- Making sure the time is ‘right’ – Arrangements have been made to care for the addict’s or alcoholic’s responsibilities that may not be attended to during drug and alcohol treatment, whether it be inpatient or outpatient. Arrangements have been made for a visit to a professional or a drug and alcohol treatment center.
- The appropriate people from the recovery alliance of the one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol have been contacted and have either agreed or declined to participate.
- If the plan is to secure professional help with the intervention, the professional interventionist should be identified, and the date and time should be pre-arranged.
- Those who participate in the intervention should at least come with a basic knowledge of how drug addiction and alcoholism occur, their signs and symptoms, and some basic knowledge of how a drug and alcohol intervention takes place.
- All participants should carefully review their motivation(s) for participation and ensure that they are in alignment with the overall goal(s) of the drug and alcohol intervention.
- Counseling for those in the addict or alcoholic’s recovery alliance should be pre-arranged, when possible.
- As a group, the consequences of not following through with the intervention plan should be decided. The consequences should not be a form of punishment, but rather a way to protect the addict/alcoholic and those around him/her.
- Letters to the affected individual should be written ahead of time by the recovery alliance members. This can prevent voicing statements that may be regretted later.
Because any alcohol and drug intervention is a medical process, the process should not be confrontational. Since drug addiction and alcoholism interventions are done out of concern for the addict or alcoholic’s well-being, and the well-being of those around them, it is critical that the intervention is performed in such a way that this is the reason for the intervention. Certainly, the intervention may be set up because of a concern for oneself, who is close to or living with the addict. Since addiction and alcoholism is a family disease, the lives of all those around the affected individual are influenced by the disease.
7 Important Tips for Alcohol and Drug Intervention
- It is critical that all of those who are involved in the intervention are compassionate, but firm, in all communication with the addict or alcoholic
- The intervention should occur at the predesignated place and time, which is usually not announced to the addict or alcoholic
- Rather than confrontational, the intervention should be carefrontational
- Concerns should be voiced in a nonjudgmental fashion and the goals of the intervention should be clearly stated
- Arguing and bantering should be minimized
- The intervention should be as brief and concise as possible
- Once a decision has been made by the addict and alcoholic, the preestablished plan should move forward smoothly and rapidly
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