Too Close to See; Why an Intervention Without a Pro’s Help Could Do More Harm Than Good

professional intervention

Having an alcoholic or drug addict in one’s life can be fraught with emotional difficulty. Friends and family members offer well-meaning advice and try to point the individual towards getting help, but everything they say seems to fall on deaf ears. Finally, a plan is created among those friends and family to make a change. Rather than use alcohol intervention programs, everyone decides to do a household intervention instead.

After planning and gathering the relevant parties, one of you calls the individual to come meet up with everyone. They show up, having no idea what to expect. What ensues is a lot of tears, blaming, and upset. Everyone pleads their case, desperately begging the loved one to get help. Maybe some people are mad at this individual and use this time to freely express their anger.

In the meantime, the loved one feels more and more trapped, cornered into a situation they didn’t ask for. It’s too much advice being bombarded on them at once, and so they either tune it all out or they run.

Having an alcohol or drug abuse intervention is not something that should be done without the proper planning or parties present. It takes a drug intervention specialist or an alcohol intervention specialist to ensure things will go as they should.

Here are several reasons to work with a specialist to stage an intervention that works.

1. Too Many Emotions to Deal with at Once Is Tough

During a household intervention, all the individual’s family, friends, and other important people are gathered in one place. That can sometimes be dozens of people at once. Everyone wants to get their turn to express their grievances that the loved one’s drug or alcohol problems have caused.

As mentioned above, some people might be upset and crying. Others will be angry. This is a lot to process with just one or two people. The more people who are at this intervention, the more the emotions just pile on.

Of course, everyone at the intervention wants some one-on-one time with the individual. They probably haven’t been able to talk to them like this in a long time, so now seems like the perfect time for a confession.

Viewing an intervention as a chance to unload bottled-up feelings is selfish. While it’s important to be able to express one’s thoughts and emotions, the individual will more than likely be overwhelmed by it all.

With professional drug and alcohol intervention programs, there’s no such bombardment for a loved one. Interventions have to be planned carefully. Keeping emotions out of the equation is important so that the individual pays attention to everyone’s purpose: to get them the help they need.

2. It’s Too Easy to Play the Blame Game

When emotions run rampant, which can often happen at a household intervention, where do they stop? There’s no mediator there to put a pause on things as there would be during professional alcohol and drug intervention services.

On top of this being an emotional affair, it’s possible for the intervention to potentially turn hostile. Not everyone is going to be as sad for the individual as much as they are angry. If any negative feelings are aimed squarely at the individual, it does nothing for the loved one in the short-term or the long-term.

Those who are thinking of planning an alcohol or drug intervention are now hopefully leaning towards seeking a professional for this big event. With a drug or alcohol intervention specialist present, the interventionalist can keep all attendees under control when finger-pointing and blaming begin to take over. Tough love scenarios will not work as well as some people may think they do. It takes a combination of compassion and concern for a loved one for an intervention to have any chance of success.

feeling responsible for everyone else

3. The Individual Now Feels Responsible for Everyone Else

While it does indeed feel good for the family member or friend to get their true feelings out, they need to think about it from the perspective of the individual as well. While this person was likely aware they were hurting their loved ones before, now they’re sure of it. They’re also privy to every little detail of what they’ve done, which they will mull over time and again in the future.

This is one major reason why drug and alcohol intervention programs are better than going the route of doing an intervention privately at home. The individual should be aware of the harm their addiction has caused, yes, but putting more burdens and responsibility on them at this time is not wise. Chances are high that they’ve already shirked some of their daily responsibilities in search of their next high. While they’ll feel responsible for the friends and family they’ve hurt to an extent, eventually, even those feelings will fade as the addiction continues to be a main priority in their life.

This leads to more upset feelings for friends and family members, who may feel inclined to stage yet another intervention. Thus the vicious cycle continues to repeat.

4. More Shame Makes the Individual Unlikely to Take Advice

The entire point of having an intervention at home is because the friends and family in the love one’s life believe that their advice, care, and love is enough to finally snap this person out of their addiction.

That’s not exactly how addiction works. The more the individual engages with their substance of choice, be it alcohol or drugs, the more their brain chemistry changes. Only through detox and treatment can they eventually wean themselves off the substance. Still, withdrawal can be incredibly painful and life-threatening. It’s not recommended a person try to detox by themselves.

According to research from Harvard Health Publishing, substance abuse changes the brain in several ways. First, there’s the pleasure principle, which posits that all pleasures are the same to the brain. Yes, even using drugs or alcohol. If it feels good to someone who’s addicted (which it does at the time), then the reward center in the brain produces dopamine. Not only that, but the individual’s amygdala and hippocampus remember what caused these happy feelings so it can happen again.

Dopamine continues, interacting with glutamate, a brain neurotransmitter. This taps into the learning system in the brain that’s tied to rewards, again encouraging repeat behavior. It’s easy to wonder then, that if the brain gives us dopamine when we do something pleasurable, why not do it forever?

That’s because pleasure from said activity, like using drugs or alcohol, actually decreases with time. With an alcohol or drug addiction, that has to do with the rate in which the brain receives dopamine. Compared to non-substance rewards, it’s up to 10x faster. This may seem like a good thing, but it’s too much for the receptors in the brain to handle. To keep things under control, the brain makes fewer quantities of dopamine.

The individual can go about using as they normally would, but they won’t enjoy it as much. However, because addiction can be so powerful, it’s not as easy as snapping one’s fingers. They also cannot quit cold turkey because of the aforementioned health risks associated with withdrawals. Deciding to withdrawal alone without medical assistance can lead to death in some instances, as withdrawal symptoms are severe.

A specialist at an alcohol and drug rehab facility understands all this and won’t ever put the individual in a potentially dangerous situation.

5. Further Isolation Is Possible

The loved one has heard out all their friends and family at the intervention. They understand everyone’s points, even the angry ones. Hearing how much they’ve hurt everyone makes them feel ashamed. The state of their life from their addiction may also make them feel ashamed.

If the intervention isn’t carefully planned and managed, the individual could run off without making a decision about their future. Instead, they might go home and continue to use. Worse yet is that they won’t want to talk to any of their friends and family because they may be embarrassed about the intervention.

If it’s already hard to talk to this person in your life now, then it’s crucial to tread carefully with an intervention. A misstep could cause them to isolate further, which raises the possibility of losing them forever. An alcohol or drug intervention specialist is the best choice when an intervention is so delicate.

intervention next steps

6. There Are No Clearly-Defined Next Steps

What’s the goal of an intervention? It’s supposed to encourage the individual to get the help they need. In the midst of all the heavy emotions and finger-pointing, the true purpose of the intervention can sometimes get muddled.

Even if the intervention did go as intended, how will the family and friends ensure the loved one really does get help? Do they even know what the next steps would be, like seeking out a rehab facility? Do they know that not all facilities are the same and that sometimes it takes a non-12-step approach for lasting success and sobriety?

It’s okay if the answer to all those questions is no. As the friends and family of someone with an addiction, you’re already dealing with a lot. This is where it’s best to renege responsibility to specialists at drug or alcohol intervention programs.

These are professionals who have staged many successful interventions in the past. They know the steps of an intervention and will be able to help friends and family, even those very emotional ones.

Letting a professional step in doesn’t mean the family and friends can’t be involved. They will be there during the intervention. The problem with doing a household intervention without professional help though is that these loved ones are often too close to see that their help doesn’t, well, help as much as they wish it did.

From the beginning to the end, a professional interventionalist will be able to guide friends and family through the intervention process. If all goes well, then by the end of the day, the individual will have agreed to enter a drug or alcohol rehabilitation facility.

Instead of Struggling with an Intervention, Rely on Elevate Addiction Services and Their Alcohol and Drug Intervention Programs

As it’s clear to see, performing an alcohol or drug abuse intervention without the help of a pro is likely only going to make the individual turn more into their addiction. All the blame, shame, and unchecked emotions can be hard to contend with, especially when the loved one has many emotions they’re living with themselves. That’s why we so strongly recommend you consider the drug intervention programs through Elevate Addiction Services.

We’re a North California-based holistic rehabilitation center. The alcohol and drug intervention services offered here always enlist the help of a professional. Said professional will work with concerned family and friends to stage an alcohol or drug abuse intervention that stays on course and keeps emotions in check. Friends and family will still be able to speak and share their feelings, but it will be in a more controlled environment.

If the individual so chooses, they can select Elevate Addiction Services for their rehabilitation as well. We have both outpatient and inpatient programs as well as medically-assisted drug or alcohol withdrawal.

What makes our services stand out is our holistic approach. We believe in treating the whole person, not just their addiction. By focusing on and renewing their spiritual, mental, and physical health, our enrollees are in a better position to kick their addiction to drugs or alcohol for good. We even have aftercare services for prolonged success after the enrollee leaves our facility.

Interested in speaking with our alcohol intervention specialist or drug intervention specialist today? Call us at 1-831-440-3568.

Tim Sinnott, MFT

With several advanced degrees from the University of San Francisco (Doctor of Education in Counseling and Educational Psychology and Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, emphasis in Marital and Family Therapy), Rutgers University Center of Alcohol Studies (Certificate, Summer School of Alcohol Studies), and the University of California, Santa Cruz (Certificate in Alcohol Studies, Advanced Counselor Training Program), and a strong history of directing recovery facilities, Tim is a capable speaker and leader in addiction treatment services. Tim also has extensive marriage and family counseling knowledge and prides himself on his ability to connect with clients and professionals on an individual basis.

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