An intervention for addiction is a carefully planned meeting in which the close friends and family of an addict come together to encourage the individual to accept addiction treatment. The most successful interventions tend to be the ones led by certified intervention specialists, or professionals who are trained in staging these meetings. Group members may prove examples of the addict’s destructive behavior and the impact it had on them, offer prearranged treatment options, and share the consequences of them not accepting treatment. Below are the different types of interventions for addiction that are commonly used to help families get their loved ones sober.
There are three general types of substance abuse interventions that other specific models fall under: direct, indirect, and forcible interventions. Direct interventions are the most popular kind and involve family members, friends, and other loved ones confronting the addict and laying out a prearranged plan for treatment.
In the direct style of drug intervention, the addict has little to say for themselves other than whether they will agree to treatment. The location and course of treatment are already predetermined by participants, as well as the consequences, should the individual refuse care.
The indirect intervention style focuses on the addict’s family and environment. In many cases, the addict doesn’t realize they have a problem, so an indirect intervention offers guidance to their loved ones on how to make the addict’s home environment more favorable to recovery.
Forcible interventions occur when the addict’s liberties are suspended. These interventions normally come in the form of a court order or mandate to receive treatment.
Forcible interventions are usually the last resort because it’s preferred that addicts choose and want to receive treatment. This type of intervention is only reserved for cases in which the individual is a danger to themselves or others, or when their drug or alcohol use exacerbates a preexisting health condition.
Below are some other types of early intervention services for addiction that are modeled based on the ones mentioned above.
ARISE interventions are both direct and indirect interventions that focus on educating the addict’s family about addiction and how they work together to address the person’s condition versus just the addict and how their behavior has affected everyone else. Addiction is often referred to as a family disease because it impacts the person as well as the people they’re closest to.
This method focuses on bettering the family so they can play an active role in the individual’s recovery. Additionally, if the person does choose to receive treatment, family members will also seek counseling and learn how to live with an addict and support them after treatment.
ARISE interventions are planned ahead of time but not in secrecy. Sometimes it takes more than one meeting for the individual to agree to treatment and other times they’ll agree right away.
A CRAFT intervention focuses on helping the person struggling with addiction without forcing a confrontation between families or friends. This kind of intervention model is centered on self-care, problem-solving, goal setting, and other activities that are designed to improve the addict’s and their loved ones’ lives gradually when they’re reluctant to change.
CRAFT interventions seek to help the person understand what triggers their drug or alcohol use, learn positive communication skills, develop problem-solving skills, and ultimately decide to seek help. This is can be considered a direct and indirect form of intervention as it does focus on the individual but does not require confrontation with loved ones.
The Johnson Model of intervention focuses on educating the individual’s caregiver, such as a spouse or parent, on how to confront the addict and encourage them to seek help. Enabling and codependence are common in families impacted by substance abuse, so the loved ones of addicts need to understand the appropriate way to manage their loved one’s condition and behavior.
Additionally, the Johnson Model of intervention involved a handful of closed meetings with a certified interventionist who prepares the caregiver to confront the addict calmly and effectively. The goal is not to point fingers at the person or make them feel cornered, but rather to open their eyes to the repercussions of their behavior. This is done to avoid defensiveness and instead ease the addict into a conversation.
Another direct form of intervention is the Love First approach, which is usually done at home. This method encourages the families and friends of addicts to show them love and compassion before, during, and after treatment. While this may seem like it should go without saying, living with someone who’s addicted to drugs or alcohol can take a mental and emotional toll on a spouse, parent, child, and friend.
Sometimes friends and family members need a reminder to show their loved ones compassion and practice patience as they navigate recovery. At the beginning of this intervention method, family members are encouraged to kindly refute any excuses that the addict makes.
For instance, if the addict says they can’t seek out treatment because they have children to care for, you’d kindly remind them that you’ve already arranged for alternative care for them with a trusted member of the family. It’s also helpful to point out, in these cases, that this is a temporary situation that will extend long enough for them to receive treatment.
It’s vital that family and friends remain calm in this period to avoid tension, conflict, and defensiveness. The trademark of this intervention style, however, are effective intervention letters written by loved ones that detail how they feel, memories that bond them with the individual, and supportive reinforcements. These letters are read on the day that the formal intervention is staged.
Regardless of the type of intervention staged, the presence and guidance of a certified professional improve the success rate of the meeting by ensuring that it doesn’t steer off course and that loved ones’ messages aren’t accusatory. Additionally, these professionals offer education about addiction and the individual’s disorder to help everyone involved understand why recovery without treatment can be difficult.
Brandon Novak is a certified interventionist and recovery advocate who used to struggle with heroin addiction. Although it took him several attempts at rehab to fully commit to treatment, his mother and friends greatly influenced his ultimate decision to get sober.