Saturday, January 11, 2014

Phase 2 of Addiction Intervention

A well planned, goal based intervention is the pivotal foundation to a successful intervention. Shotgun approaches are highly detrimental to the intervention team and the addict. The intervention team must have a clear purpose of the intervention beyond "I want my loved one sober". It is critical to have a common goal and no more than two objectives of what the intervention team wants accomplished. 

Phase 1 of Addiction Intervention:

How Addiction is Defined in this Article - An individual addicted that has a chemical and physical dependence to a substance such as, but not limited to: Alcohol, Narcotics (Marijuana, Mushrooms, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Heroin, Meth, LSD, Vicodin, Oxycontin, Pain Patches, Bath Salts, etc), Gambling, Pornography, Etc. 

Phase 2 of an Intervention:

  • Intervention Team Members
  • Environment - Physical and Psychological
  • Letter to the Addiction, NOT the Addict
Selection of Team Members
Selecting members of the intervention is one of the single most important parts of a successful intervention. Having a team of strong, supportive individuals that are going to be present for the addict and not there to present their resentments is the first step to selecting team members. A strong, independent individual demonstrates a balanced emotional and logical representation of their thoughts and emotions. These individuals must learn the difference between reacting and responding to others. An addiction intervention consists of each person having the knowledge and skills to apply that knowledge to respond to both the individual with an addiction and intervention team members.

Now ask yourself, how does the potential intervention member know the individual? You are going to want to invite people that already have common beliefs about the persons' addiction and that are aligned with the common goal and objectives that exist for the intervention. It's important not to shun relatives or people away if they don't agree with all parts of the intervention planning process because those individuals may have invaluable incite to bring to the table. A just because a person is a relative does not mean they qualify to be part of the intervention.  If a family member actively uses alcohol or drugs excessively with the addict, the recommendation is that person not be apart of the intervention team. When this occurs, the addict will divert the intervention away from themselves and the discussion becomes about rationalizing why the other person can continue to use.

Bottom Line: A addiction intervention is a private meeting / gathering among people. The addict will not know what they are walking into to, both physically and mentally.  The individuals there need to be a group that is trusted or comfortable with the addict if you want the person to continue walking into the room. All members must be straight-forward and direct with the individual you are trying to help. Say what you are going to do and do what you said.

Environment and Location
Characteristics of a Successful Environment:
  • Private Location - Not in an public place such as a park or coffee shop) 
  • Large Space and/or Room 
  • Well Lit Environment
  • Minimal Visual / Audio Distractions
  • Neutral Colors - Minimize the color of red. The color of bright reds tend to be more aggressive and forceful. 
  • Comfortable Temperature - You want the location to be a comfortable temperature and not hot. Addicts tend to sweat more in general and warm / hot location will make them sweat more and become increasingly more agitated than they already are.
  • Comfortable Furniture - Furniture that can be slightly moved so that everyone can see each other.
  • Familiar Place for the Addict and Yourself
The environment of an intervention is an abstract concept and there's really no specific way to choose the perfect place. It would be nice to say implement the intervention in the living room at your parents house, but that might be the worst place it could be done.

When planning this you need to remember a very important thing, if the addict is 18 years old or older, they have the right to leave any location you choose at will.  The team can not physically make a person stay in the location as it is against the law. If this were to happen, you'd implement the
'refusal' intervention plan piece and follow through with those actions.

Letter to the Addiction, NOT the Addict:
Give all the intervention team members and yourself an assignment.  Have each person, including yourself write a letter to the addiction that will be read at the intervention.  

Address the letters to the addiction and not the addict.  For instance, if Jennifer was designing an intervention for her husband Mark, she would have team members write to the addiction of alcohol - referring to it as alcohol.  

In the letter, incorporate some of the following things:
Tell the addiction how they are destroying your loved ones life and what it is doing to the person physically, mentally, financially, isolating, etc. Make this very blunt and clear that it is to the addiction and NOT the addict.  For example: "Alcohol, you continue to make Mark's hands tremble when he doesn't have you and I can't stand to watch him go through that misery anymore" or "Alcohol, you are destroying the relationship I have with my brother and I can see you trying to permanently take him away from me, but I love him to much to let him go with you".

Now write about some of the positive things you've done with the addict before they starting using the substance, sober memories. Be specific about the environment, what happened and how you hold the person dear to your heart. Be positive and really think through a maximum of 2 times you know the other person will remember and connect with. Allow them to feel your joy and happiness and place themselves back when you guys couldn't stop laughing or how you always loved something they did that you haven't told them about.  For Example, "Do you remember when Mom used to make you pick me up from school every day? I wanted you to know Bill, that riding home in your jeep wrangler with the doors off and you'd come pulling into the parking lot with your music turned-up made me feel like the coolest kid on the planet. I also remember that everyone of those days, you asked me about baseball practice or football practice".

To conclude the letter to the addiction, tell the addiction directly that it is NOT welcome in your family's or loved ones' life anymore.

With the addiction letter a good thing to remember is at times "less is more".  You have to remember that everyone will have a letter to read and you do not want the intervention to go for an extended amount of time.  You will lose interest and focus in the addict and you need to take the 'flash-bang' approach.  To much time during an intervention can lead to "stink'n - think'n" and allow the addict to begin rationalizing and trying to figure out a way to divert or an excuse to leave. 

For More Information and Resources, Please Visit: 
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