If you’re just starting your research into doing an intervention for a loved one, the first question you may have is where or how do you start?
First, you have to determine what it is you’re trying to accomplish.
Are you trying to determine if a problem exists? Does it require getting your loved one into treatment? If you don’t know these basic answers then you’re not ready to do an intervention.
An intervention is not a process of discovery. It is a means to an end. It is a way of getting somebody from point A to point B, point B being some kind of program.
In my work I see many families in a kind of loop, continuously trying to prove a problem does or does not exist. Searching for paraphernalia or other evidence of drug use becomes a never ending cycle, and can even begin to act as a justifier not to move on; If you can prove there is a problem today but you can’t tomorrow, will you still want to take action tomorrow?
I would hope so.
I’ll share with you what wisdom I have on the subject, most of it based on my own life as an addict.
If you’re trying to prove the problem exists then you already know that it does. If the person his lost his way in life or has over time, become depressed, isolated, hostile and substance abuse is part of it, then you are looking at the problem square in the face.
Keep in mind that a good treatment program is not about learning how not to use drugs. It is about repairing a persons life to where they will no longer make bad decisions, including the decision to use drugs or drink. It’s not so much a matter of proving drug use or drinking even though this may be an obvious problem. It’s a question of whether or not the person has lost his way and needs to find his way back again.
If you believe that the person you care about has lost his or her way to the extent that an intervention is needed then the next thing you need to do is determine whether or not you need help doing it, like hiring a professional.
If you believe you have a very low chance of getting the person to agree to go to a program on your own, then you need to look into bringing in professional help.
A professional interventionist can increase your chances for success by many times. My success rate floats comfortably at around the 85-90% area. Easily among the best. Not to brag but it’s my blog and I do get the job done. No one by the way, has a 100% success rate. I’ve seen those advertised but it’s simply not possible. Those interventionists are either inexperienced or being blatantly dishonest. All interventions are a roll of the dice to some extent. You just have to decide what, or who to bet on. If your track record is not that great then I suggest you stop betting on yourself. Track records don’t suddenly change for no reason.
If you believe you can get your loved one to agree to go to program, then you don’t need professional help. It’s that simple. Hiring a professional, seasoned interventionist however is often the best choice, and for most people this can be a scary proposition. It is probably better than you experimenting on your loved one with a process you have little to no experience with, and in all likelihood will create an even bigger mess of. Before you seek out a professional interventionist however there is one more step you need to take; a program you can believe in must be in place first.
As an independent interventionist I’ve worked with many programs which use different philosophies. I’m not here to promote programs. Deciding on which program to choose depends on who it is you’re trying to help. Not every program is for every person. But a decision needs to be made about which program you want the person to go to before you can begin strategizing about how to get him there.
First, you need to decide if a program is needed.
Second, you need to research into program philosophies and decide which one is best suited and provides the best chance of bringing the person you love back to life. This could also be your first step since finding the right program can be an enormous source of hope that a solution does in fact exist. This can also be a two edged sword so be careful. I’ll write more on choosing a treatment program later.
Then, you need to decide whether or not you have a good chance of getting the person to go, and if not, finding a professional interventionist who is legitimate (more on that later), and whom you feel comfortable with.
Let’s see if we can cover that first question.
‘Do I Need To Do An Intervention?’
The simple fact that you’re reading this indicates that you know a severe problem exists. So let’s identify what that problem is. Is it the drug use itself? The drinking? The lying or dishonesty? Is it the fact that every time the person has a plan for his recovery or success it seems to fall apart in a cliffhanging series of crises? Is the problem that the person went through some kind of severe loss, pain or medical procedure that led him to use drugs in the first place? Or has the person developed a bigger picture condition in his life that makes him unhappy and unable to operate as well as you know he can?
Most people don’t look into treatment programs because someone has used drugs once or twice, or because he has one too many drinks. People look into treatment programs because someone they care about can’t seem to operate anymore. And, this is what good recovery programs are all about.
You don’t need to do a urine analysis, or find paraphernalia under the person’s bed to know the answer to these questions. All you have to do is stretch out a timeline of the person’s life over the past few months or years and take a good look at it. Is that person able to plan out a goal over six months time and successfully follow through? Or does he have more plans than actual successes? Is he using illicit drugs while at the same time justifying it? Is he open to conversations about it or does he immediately become defensive and make you wrong for even asking? When he uses or drinks does he mourn a loss or some other source of deep emotional or physical pain as the reason? Is that reason resolving, or has it evolved into a justification for the person to self medicate, with the self-medicating taking precedence over healing? Has the self-medicating itself become a vicious cycle? If you find yourself nodding your head as you read this, then my advice is to move on from trying to prove the problem exists, acknowledge that it does, and start looking for a solution.
Programs that can repair people’s lives do exist. Not every program is for every person, and not every program is a good program, but there are some incredible, very effective programs out there.
My next post will cover how to research finding a treatment program that’s right for your loved one so that he or she will not only become a productive member of society again, but has a chance at true happiness in life. And that’s really the whole point.
Feel free to ask questions or leave comments. I’ll be as helpful as I can.