A few notes about intervention: is intervention the best way to freedom from addiction
Sometimes intervention is necessary
Intervention is a process when a person suffering from any kind of addiction and causing severe damage to the people around is put into a position where he/she has to change his/her habits. It can be done by a family and relatives (with the help of an interventionist) who see their beloved member destroyed by some compulsive desire as well as by colleagues at work who want to help their co-worker to get rid of some addiction. In most cases, it is alcohol or drug addictions but this practice is very often used in other kinds of compulsive habits: sex addiction, computer and internet addiction, eating disorders, gambling and many more.
When intervention should be applied to an addicted person
It usually happens when nothing else helps. Most of us know how much pain a drug or alcohol addict causes to his family. We also know how many times they promise to change and not use chemical substances any more. Family members usually try a lot of things to help the addict: ask him to quit in good tone, force to make a promise to never come back to a habit, get angry, and quit speaking and many more. If addiction is not stopped at the beginning it usually spirals out of control and an addicted person starts going to extremes: stealing from home and friends, committing other crimes to get money for his bad habit, overdosing. Eventually an addict either ends up in jail or dies from an overdose, or is even killed by his former or present companions.
Does intervention always help?
I know a person who used to be a drug addict for over a decade. He tried to quit a lot of times, but always failed. He saw about ten of his friends die from the habit. He personally witnessed two people die of an overdose. He tried to revive them but his attempts were unsuccessful. However, it did not scare him so much that he stopped using drugs. He finally was brought to hospital because of some sort of infection that he contracted using drugs. At the time he weighed only 40 kilos. He developed some sort of heart condition that should have killed him in a matter of a few weeks. The guy understood that he would die, so he prayed to God through the night and a miracle happened. He was miraculously healed. This led him to change his life 100 percent. When he was released from hospital he went to rehabilitation centre and after finishing one year program started living a sober life. Now he is the director of one rehabilitation centers in Lithuania and the president of all rehabilitation centers’ association. He thinks that if a person is not willing to change, nothing, even intervention will not help. So, an addicts choice is critical if intervention going to succeed or not. There must be a genuine desire to change and quit the habit.
Addict’s fear of change is the biggest obstacle to implement intervention
People who have been addicted for many years usually cannot imagine themselves without their addiction. Living a sober life is a new territory which now looks really scary. They know what it feels like to be addicted, how they can live with their problem and what they can expect. A change can destroy their inner and outer world and they are afraid of it. Intervention looks like a demand to surrender to an enemy. In a similar way women who have lived with drunkards for many years and have been beaten by them regularly usually do not want to divorce, because a change seems more frightening that continuing living with their alcohol addicted husbands. Human beings are afraid of changes. So, people carrying out an intervention will have to facilitate the addicted person to get rid of the fear.
Is intervention the right way to solve addiction problem?
Much depends on the addicted person and the people who are intervening. There are lots of pros and cons in intervention, but the attitude of the person is essential. If the person is willing to change and the people who are intervening are doing it in a very discrete and loving way it can be one of the best solutions for both addicted person and his environment. As intervention can take many forms starting with simple asking for a change ending with some serious warnings if the person causing problems does not want to change, much depends also on the preparation of the people who are intending to intervene. If all methods have been tried and failed, this one should definitely be applied. It is quite clear that if you are going to be lenient to the problem, you are not going to achieve anything as the addicted person will simply continue in his old ways and everybody around will continue suffering. The friend whose story I have told you earlier has a very strict and non flexible opinion about dealing with addictions. If family members want their member to be brought to rehabilitation centre and the addicted person is apathetic to their wish, he would not accept this kind of person for rehabilitation. He does not want to waste his time on the person who is indifferent to his problem.
Should intervention lead to rehabilitation?
Most professionals who have been working in the field for many years believe that intervention should lead to some sort of therapy and even better a rehab. An addicted person needs to change his way of thinking, habits, lifestyle, attitude towards the members of the family and even his environment which very often encourages him to go on with his bad habit. A prolonged rehabilitation is usually needed, especially if a person has used some chemical substances for many years. The same friend of mine who directs one rehab centre told me that after finishing one full year rehabilitation course around 80 percent of people never come back to the old habits of drinking and using drugs.
Has your situation become urgent and you need an intervention now?
I want to say that various addictions have various levels of danger. Addictions to alcohol and drugs most probably are the most dangerous of all and adequate measures have to be taken as soon as you find out that one of your family members is addicted. There is no time to be wasted as you do not know what you can expect from the addicted person. He might get into a car and get himself killed, or he can overdose and die. In this situation time is not your ally, because any kind of addiction if not get rid of tends to become stronger and brings more serious dangers with time. So, intervention should be done as soon as necessary preparations are done. Specialists should be contacted as soon as possible and an offer of change should be introduced to the person addicted.
Can intervention bring fast results?
Occasionally it does, but as I have already said, change requires time and you cannot expect a person to change over a night. That happens very seldom and it is usually an exception. Sometimes, under critical situations change does happen very suddenly and fast, but again, only sometimes. It takes time, hard work, motivation, dedication before you see positive results. Although thinking patterns and habits can be shaped in a matter of 21 days, they can be changed quite easily after this initial period of time. It is quite different though when those pattern of thinking and behavior have been cherished for many years. It very often takes around a year to transform a person and it can very seldom be done without any help from outside. A person has to undergo a process of treatment with a determination to never come back to an old way of life.
Any addiction if left unsolved can lead to a tragedy in both the addicted person and his family’s life. So many people have died due to their harmful addictions and no one can be indifferent to the question any more. It can happen in any family and it is everybody’s problem. Intervention and proper treatment is the way out from all possible hazardous addictions. I have met and talked to many former addicts who used to suffer from alcohol and drugs, but now live sober lives. They have families and children and are happy. All of them were in hopeless situation and needed help. They underwent rehabilitation process and were transformed. I have heard of countless miracles about restored families, finished crime activities and changed lives. Some of the people started their own businesses; others are helping to the people who are still suffering from their addictions. And others are just leading ordinary lives and never look back to their past illicit pleasures. I do not mean to say that every person leaving a rehab will not fall back to his old ways, but I think he has much better chances to get up and win than the one who tries to fight his habits on his own. So, let us join our efforts to help each other live in freedom and fight against different kind of addictions and if necessary let us not be afraid to use intervention as our tool.
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