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Drug and Alcohol Intervention
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Process of Intervention
Conducting an Intervention
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Drug and Alcohol Abuse Intervention

A critical problem that most drug and alcohol abusers have is that they don't understand that their habit is now an addiction because their body has become dependent on the substance they are abusing and therefore they are no longer in control. A majority of abusers compare themselves to other addicts and because it's hard for them to admit that they have a problem and need help they just convince themselves they are in control.

With the support of friends, co-workers, family, loved ones and a trained counselor the addict will find it easier to face their addiction and will finally be able to admit they have a problem. This first step and process is called Drug and Alcohol Intervention.

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Some people believe the only way an addict can get better is if the individual is self-motivated and ready to change. This is not always the case. With the help of an intervention professional and the right support an abuser can be motivated to change at any stage of their addiction.

In fact, an intervention is one of the best ways to show the addict there is help and support available if they are willing to take that step toward a healthier and happy life. The intervention process is a non-judgmental, effective process, which helps the addict come to terms with the impact that their addiction has had on themselves and others.
Getting the addict to seek treatment as early as possible is a core purpose of intervention however; this can be a challenging situation. You cannot force an abuser, under most circumstances, to undergo substance abuse treatment. At the same time you care about the addict and don't want things to get any worse than they already are. Experts offer advice on how to overcome this dilemma, like training ourselves to stop enabling and protecting the abuser from the consequences of their behavior and leaving them no choice but to seek help.

If an intervention is done by someone the addict particularly trusts, there is a great chance the intervention will be successful. This can be a co-worker, friend, family member, loved one or anyone who is concerned or cares enough and wants to help the abuser.

A skilled and professional counselor can play an effective role in intervention. During the meeting in the presence of a counselor, the dear ones can express their concerns about the addict and his or her behavior. They can explain to the addict that they can no longer just sit back and tolerate the addiction. By speaking up and with the help of the counselor if the individual is able to convince the addict to seek treatment for their behavior, then the intervention can be considered successful.

Conducting a drug intervention is a complicated and delicate situation. Addicts are not thinking clearly and are in a different mental state when abusing illicit drugs and trust no one. They believe that the world is against them so they may feel scared and become more defensive. This makes the timing and proper strategy very important when considering an intervention. The presence of a professional counselor can be very helpful during this time.


Vernon Johnson, who published the book 'I'll Quit Tomorrow' in 1973, started experimenting with the technique of intervention as early as the 1960's. This technique was and continues to be the standard against which all further developments are compared and measured. Johnson's book includes the fundamental rationale and approach to interventions still used today. There have been many developments in this field over the last few decades. People began to recognize that the intervention technique was applicable to a wide range of situations and issues. The tremendous advancements in the techniques and the growing influence of drugs have substantially increased the acceptance of intervention since Vernon Johnson first articulated his thoughts.

Is An Intervention Necessary?

There are many people who are under the mistaken belief that no intervention can be successful in the long run, because most addicts can't be helped until they are ready to reach out for help on their own. In fact, only a small percentage of substance abusers recover without intervention. For the majority assistance is inevitable. In fact, intervention is an indispensable part of the healing process. Along with the dependence on a substance comes a reluctance to tackle the problem.

Addicts often use 'denial' as their defense mechanism. Conceit and ego also play their parts in denying addiction. Breaking this defense is the first step in the process of intervention. It is imperative that intervention be done safely and with confidentiality. The advice of an experienced, trained, and certified professional interventionist are essential. The interventionist must be knowledgeable in the right approach or treatment methodology. He or she needs to work in cooperation with the family of the addict.

The Right Time for An Intervention

What is the right time for an intervention? The answer is obvious-as soon as an alcohol or drug addiction problem has been identified. Consultation with a treatment professional or intervention specialist will help you determine whether the addict needs an intervention.

Professional intervention is not a choice for everyone and every situation. As most cases do not require a full intervention, this consultation bears great significance. The process of intervention can be as long as several weeks to as short as one day. If the situation does not demand an immediate action, more planning is always appropriate.

The Role of Family and Friends

An addict's family and friends play a vital role during the intervention. Even after numerous attempts and being exhausted from trying to help the individual accept their addiction the family members tend to protect the abuser from his or her consequences. Such protection is understandable because they love the individual however; stopping such rescue attempts is an important part of an intervention. The addict needs to fully understand and see the harmful effects of their addiction and their actions.

Making a collective effort is very important during the intervention. Try to find strength in numbers with the help of family and friends and confront the individual as a group but, be careful with the words. Assigning one person to speak with the abuser will be much more effective than it would be if everyone talked all at once.

Brief Interventions

The aim of a brief intervention is to motivate the abuser to change his or her problematic behavior. It may include educating the addict on the effects of drinking or drugs and establishing goals and a contract for a change in behavior. Trained health care workers, social workers, or professional counselors can conduct brief interventions. These interventions can even be done at home.

Pre-Treatment Interventions

If brief interventions don't help, an abuser may need to undergo a pre-treatment intervention. This is a more detailed and longer version of the former intervention. Generally, a professional counselor meets with the family before the session to gather facts. Once the counselor has all the information and facts he or she can effectively help the addict and their family.

The main part of a pre-treatment intervention is the face-to-face sessions with the addict and their family. Normally only a couple of sessions are needed however; five or more sessions may be a requirement depending on the situation.

Will an Intervention Make the Situation Worse?

Normally, a professionally conducted intervention is a gentle, conversational process. It is not an argument or an examination of wills. An intervention is designed to improve the lives and awareness of all involved. The majority of people who quit without expert assistance usually end up back on drugs or alcohol. So, given the great results, intervention is something worth trying.

Motivational Interviewing

In 1991, William Miller and Stephen Rollnick had challenged the view that all addicts had an intrinsic system of denial. They proposed that offensive techniques elicited a normal reaction of denial and labeled such as abnormal and symptomatic of a chemical dependency issue. Therefore, they set out the idea that it is the behavior of the counselor that is antecedent to resistance and denial in the addict.

As an alternative, Miller and Rollnick proposed a methodological approach that looked at stages of change in the addict and in determining the specific desire or willingness of an addict to change, thereby prescribing the counselors appropriate course of action. The most important point of motivational interviewing is that "addict's resistance is a therapist problem." The point of view then is that professionals must change their behavior according to that of the addict.


An intervention with perfect planning and when carried out properly will certainly result in an addict agreeing to accept help. But, there is always a chance to the contrary; the addict may, for whatever reason, say 'No'. If an intervention fails, the situation is most likely to get worse.

As everything is out in the open, the message the family gives the abuser at this point is crucial. If the addict refuses to seek drug or alcohol rehabilitation, he or she is telling their family that he or she is not truly ready to change or seek help and may continue to abuse drugs or alcohol and the family would continue suffering.

Even a successful intervention does not guarantee recovery from addiction. Many people consider intervention a failure if the addict does not make the essential transitions during and after formal treatment. But the past records show that up to 85% of individuals with addictions who underwent intervention sought treatment. This reveals that professionally conducted interventions often achieve its goals, i.e. make people willing to take treatment.

Call us any time toll free at 1-800-559-9503 for addiction intervention and one of our trained counselors will ensure attention to you or your loved one.
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