Vancouver/Fraser Valley – This opinion piece is from Tristan Elliott, Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Together We Can – Addiction, Recovery and Education Society:

Drug & Alcohol Interventions 101

What are Interventions

Specifically designed to help a loved one, whether a friend, colleague or a family member, an intervention is a process that sheds light on the destructive behaviours being exhibited by an individual, and the effect those behaviours are having on everyone in their life.

The concept is based upon non-violent communication and seeks to portray the harm that the actions of the addict or alcoholic are having on themselves and others. Compassion and empathy are absolutely vital; trust must be built and the person at the centre of the intervention must genuinely believe that everyone cares about them and has their best interest at heart.

Interventions generally require a group of people, be it 2, 4, 6 or more, acting in unison to clearly demonstrate their desire for a change in the pattern of substance abuse. With the objective of having them understand the severity of the situation, details, personal accounts, facts and observations are conveyed to the person receiving the intervention.

The goal of the process is to open up a dialogue about getting help, and finally put an end to the suffering the self-destructive individual is inflicting on themselves and others. The desired outcome is for the addicted man, woman or teenager to attend an intensive inpatient treatment program.

How to Know When an Intervention is Needed

Addiction affects everyone differently; while some individuals become violent, criminally inclined, and unemployable, others simply isolate, become quiet and go about their business. The reality is that regardless of the addicted individual’s behaviour patterns, there is always an impact on the loved ones, as well as a personal toll on the person affected.

People who are living with addiction often see no way out and the idea of a radical disruption to their life is scary. If you’ve noticed significant changes in someone in you know and there isn’t a reasonable explanation, there might be some sort of chemical dependence at play.

If softer methods haven’t worked, you shouldn’t have to simply accept the predicament that you’re in. They shouldn’t have to accept the rut they are in.

The bottom line: if you’re asking yourself the question “is an intervention necessary”, it most likely is.

Why Seek a Professional

If you’ve tried setting boundaries, making demands, or offered suggestions to no avail, it might be time to turn to a proven strategy.

Remember, the easiest people to lie to are those who want to believe us, which means that an outside impartial party will be best equipped to cut to the chase.

When a family member or loved one is recounting how someone’s behaviour has impacted them, emotions quickly become part of the equation. A professional interventionist will construct a customized plan, implement the course of action, and see it through to completion. Do-it-yourself interventions can disintegrate in dramatic and rapid fashion.

When someone’s life is at stake, which is almost always the case when we’re dealing with alcohol or drug addiction, give yourself the best chance of success; trust someone with a proven track-record who facilitates interventions for a living.

Do it right once. Help is a phone call or click away.

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