The goal of an intervention is to help addicted loved ones begin their journey to healing in the following ways:
However, even when the family does everything right and stages the perfect intervention, it is still possible that the addicted person will refuse to get help.
Even when this happens, it’s important to remember that addiction recovery is a journey, and every journey begins differently. Your loved one may still agree to treatment, but it may take a bit of perseverance on your part. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that when patients remain enrolled in drug rehab, they not only stop abusing drugs and alcohol but they also limit their criminal behaviors and improve life at home, at work and in their relationships.1
Therefore, there is great benefit to continuing to lovingly encourage addicted loved ones to enter treatment.
There are a number of ways and reasons that an intervention might not go as hoped, even with the most careful planning. These include the following:
If your loved one does not accept the offer of drug rehab, it’s not necessarily the end of your ability to help them enter treatment. There are a number of steps you can take that can potentially help your addicted family member choose to go to rehab. They include the following:
Many people who are addicted believe they are still in control and may offer promises of quitting on their own. However, the reality is that they are not in control and need help to quit. Treatment is always more effective than trying to quit cold turkey, and depending on the drug of choice, your love one may need medical assistance for detox.
Because the goal of an intervention is to get your loved one to choose treatment, you must have consequences in place if they do not. Consequences should remove any enabling behaviors or structures for their addiction and provide safety and security for you and other loved ones from the effects of their addiction.
Once you state the consequences you have chosen, you must follow through. Your loved one may lash out in anger, but you must determine to not be manipulated by their addiction.
After you have followed through on your promises, it may be clearer than ever to your loved one that choosing to continue in addiction is not the best, safest or most effective path for them. After a certain amount of time, a second intervention may be more successful, providing your family member with the opportunity to get the help they need when they need it most.
Before you stage a second intervention, re-assessing your original intervention may be helpful in order to know what to do differently moving forward. For example, if a specific family member was unable to participate without anger, then the second time around, it may be a better choice for that person to stay home rather than take part in the intervention. If your loved one again arrives at the intervention while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, have a plan in place to be able to wait out the high until they are able to participate actively in the intervention.
A professional interventionist can be helpful in this process, going over the events of the first intervention with the family and assisting them in staging a second one.
A professional interventionist can provide the necessary assistance to help you loved one enter treatment in the following ways:
If the first intervention was not successful in guiding your loved one into an effective treatment program, you may wish to stage a second intervention. Unfortunately, there is little else that will likely work to convince them that rehab is the best choice. Without a steady focus on treatment, many family members inadvertently enable their loved one’s addiction, contributing to a continuation of all the problems that go with those behaviors.
The attitude of the family is one of the most important driving influences on the success of an intervention. Remaining positive and hopeful can go a long way toward ensuring that the addicted person always has an open path to drug addiction treatment if they so choose.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that an estimated 21.6 million people in the United States needed treatment for substance abuse in 2011 and yet only about 2.3 million actually received the care they needed. If your loved one falls into this number, you can help them to turn things around.2
1 "How effective is drug addiction treatment?" National Institute on Drug Abuse, January 2018.
2 "How do we get more substance-abusing people into treatment?" National Institute on Drug Abuse, January 2018.