Do Interventions Actually Work?

If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve heard of interventions but may not have actually participated in one yourself. But when someone you love and care about is letting substance abuse take over their life, an intervention can start feeling like the right move. 

But do interventions actually work? 

The answer is not so simple as “yes” or “no”, but the short answer is “they can”. In fact, studies have found that family member involvement in general increases addiction recovery success rates

There are actually a lot of different factors that go into how effective an intervention is, and you will need to take many things into consideration. But above all, it’s important to plan the intervention carefully and not just throw it together. When you’re ready, we invite you to get in touch with our addiction specialists at Footprints of Serenity to start planning an intervention for your loved one. In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about how to make an intervention as effective as possible.

Pick the Right Time and Place

Though it can often feel like there’s never an ideal moment for an intervention, that doesn’t mean you can’t be tactful about when you do it. Naturally, you’re going to want to pick a time that works for everyone who will be involved (close friends and family members who have been affected by your loved one’s substance abuse). That said, your priority should be choosing a time when your loved one is least likely to be under the influence, as substance abuse can increase aggression and irrational thinking. It should also be held in a familiar place where they can be comfortable and receptive. Our intervention specialists can work with you more closely to find a good time and place. 

Speak With Love

You are having the intervention because you care about the addicted person. While you may be angry with them for the way they have let their substance abuse affect daily life, the intervention is not the time for yelling or raised voices (getting angry risks only making them mad and non-receptive to help). Your loved one needs to know that you only want what is best for them, and you don’t like watching them destroy their life and relationships.

Even when talking about times that they hurt you the most, it is important to stay calm and avoid accusing tones. With this in mind, consider having everyone write down beforehand what they want to say to your loved one. 

Have an Addiction Treatment Plan in Place

The intervention will not work if you don’t show your loved one that they have the actual power to change. At Footprints of Serenity, we will work with you to find real addiction treatment options that your loved one is eligible for. These options must be presented to your loved one during the intervention so they know that, A) you are completely serious about them getting treatment, and B) the opportunity to change their life has arrived. Some people even choose a treatment program that their loved one can start immediately upon the intervention’s conclusion, so they won’t have the opportunity to run or change their mind later on. 

What If My Loved One Refuses Treatment?

Whether or not an intervention “works” is measured by whether or not the addicted person chooses to get help / enter an addiction treatment program. It’s important to remember that, at the end of the day, your loved one is their own person and is responsible for their own decisions. Sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, the addicted person still refuses help. 

If your loved one does refuse to get help or even insists they do not actually have a substance abuse problem, then it is crucial to show them how serious you are. Do so by following through on what you said would happen if they chose to continue down the path of addiction. If you said you would stop answering their calls or giving them rides, go ahead and stop. If you said you would cut them off either financially or emotionally (or both), then you must do exactly that. Above all, do whatever you can to cut off any behavior on your part that may have enabled them. Everyone who participates in the intervention must agree ahead of time to follow through on their promised actions as well.

It’s also important to not give up hope. Once they see how serious the intervention was (by everyone following through on their words), only then will there be a chance of them coming around and seeking help. 

Getting Started

At Footprints of Serenity, we provide both intervention services and addiction treatment program facilitation. Because we believe that people from all walks of life have the capacity to beat addiction and become well again, we work with substance abuse treatment providers across the nation to find the best fit for your loved one and your family. Don’t wait to get help — contact us today to start working towards a brighter, healthier future.