Who should participate in an intervention?

An intervention group should be large enough to show the addict that there is concern but not so large that communication becomes difficult. A group sized from 2-5 carefully members is ideal.

Please contact wedorecover.com to include a professional addictions counsellor that will come and stage the intervention for you. The trained addictions counsellor will choose which people should be involved and prepare them to adopt the best stance in relation to the addict or alcoholic.

Hiring a professional to ensure the intervention is run along formal guidelines greatly enhances the prospect of a successful outcome. Call 082-74-REHAB (73422) in South Africa or if in the UK call toll free on 0808-26-REHAB (73422) to consult a professional.

The group should include people that the addict is close to and respects. Avoid including people that automatically trigger off anger in the addict and avoid including children who are too young to understand what is happening, or be of use in achieving the intended outcome.

The outcome of a successful rehab is an immediate admission to a registered and reputable addictions or alcohol rehab that is most appropriate for the patient. This clinic may differ from patient to patient depending on their age, addiction and treatment history, as well as risk factors and, of course, funds available!

You should include one or two people from outside the family who know the addict to show that the problem has extended beyond the family borders. Also avoid including people who have a pattern of excusing the addicts’ behaviour.

What Happens in the Intervention?

We can break the intervention down into 9 steps:

1) Take a couple of people and discuss having the intervention. Check if anybody has spoken to the addict about being admitted into a drug rehab clinic before and how the addict might have responded to that.

2) Find the people that you think should attend. Follow the guidelines listed above. It’s important to select the right people and ensure that their ‘scripts’ are prepared in the most effective way and adhered to.

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3) Look for a professional who might be able to help with the intervention. Try finding a psychologist, social worker, or addictions counsellor who has had intervention experience. You could consider contacting WeDoRecover.com for help in finding such a person.

4) Meet with everybody in the group and make preparations.

Each person who will attend the intervention should draw up a list of incidences where he/she was affected by the alcoholic drinking or addict drugging. Include specific details such as: what happened and why it was wrong, where did it happen, when did it happen, how much had the alcoholic been drinking, how did you feel about the behaviour, what other consequences were there?

Try to use recent examples rather than events that can be dismissed as being "old news". Avoid including anything that isn't common knowledge.

5) WeDORecover.com has done the research on treatment options and will help you to find the most sensible and suitable addictions clinic. We’ll help you to find out about the cost of addiction treatment and whether medical insurance will cover the cost.

Ensuring that the intervention is well planned involves –

  • Ensuring that the length of alcohol treatment program is sufficient and that the alcoholic can afford this amount of time away from work. You might quite reasonably ask “How can they not afford it?”

Often the cost of alcohol rehab is high; however the cost of not getting alcohol rehab is higher!

  • Visit a few different drug rehabilitation (rehab) clinics and compare the staff and accommodation. We Do Recover is able to assist you with this step and we invite you to contact us if you are looking for advice on drug rehab in South Africa, Thailand or the UK.

6) Hold a practice session as a trial run. This will help the group to feel more confident and also give you a chance to edit the list of examples everybody will have prepared. If somebody starts to show ambivalence about the addict being admitted into a residential treatment program then you should ask him/her not to attend the real event.

Members of the group should decide on what consequences they will apply if the addict continues to use drugs or drink alcohol. These consequences could include actions such as: divorce, kicking out of the house, loss of financial support, or withdrawing access to children. They should be realistic actions that the person will follow through on and not just idle threats.

7) Organize the logistics: reserve the bed at the residential treatment center, pack the addicts bags, and arrange all the other details that are required to book the addict into rehab. The idea is that if the intervention goes smoothly then the addict is taken directly to rehab and not given an opportunity to change his or her mind.

8) Arrange the meeting. Of course everybody in the intervention group needs to be available but getting the addict to arrive can be challenging. Avoid meeting in the addicts’ home and rather choose a neutral setting such as a doctor’s office that is easily accessible to the problem drinker.

Do everything you can to persuade the addict to arrive at the intervention. If the addict absolutely refuses to attend then you can set up the meeting at home as a last resort. If the addict tries to walk out of the intervention follow her to wherever she goes in the house. If she tries to leave the house she needs to know the consequences of this. The family need to be well prepared and stick to their guns for an intervention to be successful.

9) During the intervention remain calm and stick to the "script" of your pre-prepared notes and lists that you drew up. Make sure that all of the damages are included and nothing is omitted. Remember that the intervention is an action of love and not revenge. Each person should end his/her list with a clear request for the addict to enter the arranged rehab and the consequences of not doing so.

Once everybody has read his/her list ask the addict if this is really how she wants to live her life. At this point bring in the consequences that people have agreed upon. Make sure the addict understands that you are willing to follow through on them.

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