How To Plan An Intervention For An Alcohol Or Drug Addicted Loved One

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Seeing someone you love go into a downward spiral because of alcohol or drug abuse is probably one of the most painful scenes any family member or friend can witness. The trap that has been set by the effects of alcohol and drugs is something that an addict cannot escape from alone. This is why it is imperative for family and friends to stage an intervention.

Staging an intervention can be tricky especially if the people planning it have no idea how to deal with an addiction problem. Fortunately, experts like addiction rehabilitation specialist Dr. Maher Soudah and his team at the Kaiser Wellness Center are always ready to help an addict’s loved ones in coming up with the best intervention strategies as the patient’s first step towards recovery.

Choose An Intervention Model

The first step in intervening with an alcohol and drug addict is deciding on a course of action. Dr. Soudah, who serves as the director of Kaiser Wellness Center, studied many types of intervention models that present different approaches but with one goal: to convince the addict to undergo rehabilitation.

Direct intervention models, such as the Johnson model, is the most common option chosen by an addict’s family and friends because it leans more on the traditional and confrontational approach. It entails active participation of the patient’s primary caregiver— a parent or spouse— and later ropes in a team from the person’s social network.

Meanwhile, alternative models like the ARISE method focuses on the person struggling with drug and alcohol abuse from the start. It also requires active participation from the patient’s primary caregiver, as well as important people from his or her social network. However, the big difference between this method and the traditional model is the collaboration between the caregiver, the addict, and the support network.

The confrontational method, which served as the “parent model” for the Johnson model, is the oldest form of intervention. While the Johnson model avoids putting the blame on the individual with addiction problems, the confrontational method directly challenges the unpleasant behaviors of the individual. It also emphasizes the expectation of recovery from the addict and uses indirect force to achieve its goal, Dr. Maher Soudah explains.

Experts have also come up with a more compassionate model known as the Love First approach. As the name states, this form of intervention focuses on making the individual realize that he or she isn’t short of sympathy and love from the people around, particularly from family. Consulting with addiction rehabilitation experts like Dr. Soudah and the rest of the Kaiser Wellness Center would also be beneficial in choosing the right kind of intervention model for the addict in your life.

How To Intervene

Whichever model of intervention you choose, always consider every aspect of the situation and understand that every individual is different. You should also gather enough information and people who can form the intervention team. The addict’s friends are perfect for this role, in addition to his family and significant other. Make sure that the people you choose have no conflict with each other to avoid discord. Disagreements within the intervention team would effectively derail the addict’s recovery.

After assembling a team, have every member write down ways the addiction has affected them. While it is good to be honest, the team should understand that it is best to be assertive but not aggressive in their letter. They should focus on the person who needs the intervention but refrain from sounding judgmental in the process. Love, care, and sympathy should be at the core of each letter.

It is also beneficial to list down consequences of not seeking treatment for the individual. Doing this would remove any enabling behavior among the core members of the intervention team and would also make the patient understand the importance of recovery to them.

After preparing everything, convene all members of the team, as well as the person addicted to alcohol or drugs. During this meeting, present the letters and notes to the person and explain to him or her that the purpose of the set up was to help the person return to normal life.

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