How to Approach Alcohol and Drug Interventions


When someone is living their life in active addiction, there can be many factors contributing to the addiction. There are, of course, the physical and mental aspects of the addiction that remove the person’s ability to choose not to use. There are also variables such as the people this person is around, encouraging them to continue their use by using themselves. Denial is another powerful tool that addiction uses to keep its victim actively abusing a substance.

Denial is what prevents the individual from seeing that there is a problem. It is incredibly common with drug abuse, and even more so in some cases with alcoholism. Someone struggling with an active addiction is not likely to register multiple people coming to them, individually, and pointing out that they have a substance abuse problem. They are likely to log it away and think that this individual doesn’t know what they’re talking about. They just want to be left alone, and in some cases these instances may cause them to want to use again due to anxiety or stress. However, if several individuals, usually close family and friends, were all to come together as one, that packs a much more powerful punch.

This is known as an Intervention. We’ve all seen these done in Hollywood, whether on TV or in a movie, where friends and family members of a loved one gather to confront someone about, usually, their alcoholism. While this rubric seen on television is a form of Intervention, there are actually several ways one can be conducted. The goal behind these events is to get the person in question to admit that they have a problem with substance abuse and agree to get help. Fortunately, there are specialists available to help family members organize an appropriate event for the person in need.

Do They Work?

This is, in some ways, a loaded question as it depends on the individual and how the particular event goes. An Intervention can be incredibly successful and the individual struggling with addiction could agree to get help right away on the first try. This isn’t always the case, sadly, as sometimes it takes multiple events or interventions before the person agrees to get help.

“I’ve never been comfortable with trying to force people to change,” said Jef Gazley, a licensed therapist with multiple specialties. Gazley compares Interventions with his Judo training, “…if you try to punch me and I hold [my hand out] this trying to stop you, it’s going to hit me in the head… interventions feel a lot more like [trying to] directly stop it.”

In this sense, an Intervention can cause the individual to lock up and get defensive. That is why there is more than just one way to do an Intervention, because they can have adverse effects if not done properly.

Interventionists: People with Experience

An interventionist is a social worker who helps those in active addiction to find treatment. More so, they are the ones you want and need to talk to when trying to stage an Intervention. They will know what kind of Intervention method to use, and what kind of approach to take in order to get the most out of the event.

Their job is solely to work with individuals and help find the best place for those in active addiction to go, as well as offering minor counseling. Fortunately, they are easy to get a hold of an every major city will have multiple interventionists throughout the area that you can contact when looking for aid.

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