Function and purpose of a family intervention

In the simplest of terms, the function and purpose for conducting an intervention is to intervene in the destructive behavior of a loved one suffering from Alcohol and or a drug addiction, and to convince them to seek help. This is done out of love, to save your loved one.

One of the first things you need to be aware of is the fact that strong emotions are typically attached to any type of intervention, especially where alcohol and drug addiction is concerned. Family interventions are characterized by several individuals that typically attend this type of event. These oftentimes include the following:

  • the addicted individual
  • the intervention professional or specialist
  • immediate family members (parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.)
  • personal friends
  • concerned fellow employees

It is important to realize first and foremost that the overall goal of conducting any type of addiction  intervention is the confronting of the addicted individual in a manner that is non-threatening and allows or enables them to see that their behavior is self-destructive.

Additionally, the secondary goal is that the addicted individual needs to see how destructive their behavior is to family members, friends, and even their fellow employees. The ultimate goal of the family intervention is that the individual accepts the fact that he or she does have a problem and that they need to seek help immediately.

The history of alcohol and drug addiction intervention

Vernon Johnson, an Episcopalian priest and recovering alcoholic, is considered to be the father of modern day alcohol and drug addiction intervention. Johnson wound up devoting his life to alcohol addiction treatment and recovery. From his work, further fine-tuning of the intervention process was done to accommodate a variety of addictions besides alcohol and drugs. Some other addictions that may require a family intervention include:

  • Addictions to pornography
  • Computer and/or video game addictions
  • Gambling addictions
  • Behavioral disorders

Johnson’s core beliefs about drug and alcohol intervention was being able to reach out to the addicted individual before he or she hit rock bottom therefore preventing their lives from literally being torn to shreds. He began conducting what he called “interventions” in his church as of 1962. These were informal meetings which involved the addicted individual’s family, friends, and even their fellow co-workers.

They all met together in order to talk to the individual regarding their concerns about their alcohol (or drug) addiction, self-destructive behavior, and the damage it was causing the other individuals participating in the intervention, hence the birth of the terminology “family intervention.” As a result of being a priest and the fact that these interventions produced positive results, Johnson created a network which saw his program spread throughout the Midwest and eventually the entire US.

The importance of a family intervention

It is important to realize that the function, purpose, and ultimate goal of a family intervention are to get the addicted individual to realize that they are not only destroying themselves, but the people around them as well. However, admitting to having a problem is only the first step. They also need to seek out a treatment and recovery center that offers a program which will rid them of their addictions so that they remain substance-free for life.

The harsh reality is that family interventions (and other types of intervention) have become a necessary facet in today’s society. The mass availability of alcohol and drugs has not only made this an economic endeavor for distributors and traffickers of these substances, it has also mandated the necessity of more rehab programs being developed and more interventions conducted in order to get the addicted individual cured of what they are addicted to and suffering with.

How can a family intervention specialist help?

An intervention specialist is usually a counselor, licensed psychologist or therapist who is trained in dealing with alcohol or drug addiction. They must possess the skills necessary in order to conduct and supervise the interventions in a disciplined and orderly fashion. At the same time, they have to rely on family members, friends, loved ones, and even fellow employees to assist them during the substance abuse intervention and are involved with the individual in question.

Be aware of the fact that even the best intervention specialists may have dealt with their own alcohol or drug addictions. This enables the addicted individual to possibly relax and relate better with a person who has suffered just like they have. Additionally, conducting the intervention session is just the start of the process because you have to convince the individual that they must admit having a problem and then seek out a treatment and recovery program to cure them of their addiction.

Never make the assumption that a single family intervention meeting will result positively. Sometimes, other sessions may be necessary and the skilled intervention specialist will know when this is the case. The bottom line is that they know that you have to expect the unexpected as well as negative results. It is just as foolish to believe that these negative results won’t occur.

When is a family intervention specialist necessary?

Determining whether or not you need to hire a family intervention specialist depends on a number of aspects surrounding the addicted individual and their particular circumstances. Normally, you seek out their help when you are at your wit’s end for how to get the addicted individual into an alcohol or drug rehab program. No matter how you begged or pleaded the individual to get help, they have still resisted, so chances are, pursuing the use of a family intervention specialist may now be the proper course of action.

Most professionals involved with alcohol and drug addiction will tell you that if you have already been thinking about contacting a family intervention specialist for help that it is time for you to do this. Most people do not typically ask themselves this question unless they feel that a problem exists. It’s fairly certain that if you are considering an intervention, that the person has already damaged themselves and suffered enough, as well as how those around them have suffered with their addiction.

The bottom line is that most family members and friends tolerate the addiction far too long without taking steps to help the addicted individual. In the mean time, there is a good possibility that a variety of consequences are going to occur. These could be:

  • bad financial decisions
  • failed relationships
  • irresponsible behavior
  • losing one job after another
  • numerous DUI’s

Sometimes, family members and friends will attempt conducting these intervention sessions without the help of a professional. However, by the time that these people attempt this, it is too late and a family intervention specialist needs to be enlisted in order to help the addicted individual. Additionally, the hiring of a family intervention specialist brings with it the benefit of pre-intervention work which oftentimes ensures the best possible outcome.

Family intervention strategies

The type of strategy that the family interventionist employs is going to vary from one individual to the next since no 2 are ever alike. Family members, friends, and loved ones can help the addicted individual provided they are focused on the needs of the addicted individual. Typically, there are three stages involved in a successful family intervention. These include:

The Assessment Stage – there are certain aspects involved in this stage which include the interventionist learning as much as possible about the individual in question, as well as the substance they are abusing and addicted to. There are a number of questions that need to be answered such as:

  • Who will be attending the intervention?
  • Who will be responsible for paying for the service?
  • What facility will facilitate the individual’s treatment and recovery needs the best?
  • Will insurance coverage be involved?

The Orchestration Stage – this usually involves the actual intervention wherein the family members, friends, loved ones and the family interventionist are involved with the addicted individual. During the process, it is necessary to remember that all of the members in the group should not display any negative reactions to the addicted individual’s reactions. The addicted individual might or might not react angrily and get abusive or violent, but never rule out those possibilities. Educating the members of the intervention group as to how to deal with these situations is critical.

Successful Completion of the Intervention – the real measure of success with any family intervention strategy is how effective the process was at getting the individual to admit that they have a problem. Additionally, that success is also measured by the fact that they immediately seek help by enrolling in a treatment and recovery center which targets their individual needs.

Additional considerations

When you begin searching for a family drug  intervention specialist, there are obviously some things that you want to consider before making your final decision. Most importantly, you want to find a professional who is not only certified and qualified to conduct an intervention, but that best serves the needs of the addicted individual. Consider investigating a number of family intervention specialists before you make your decision to hire one in order to make sure that the addicted individual benefits the most from their assistance.