When to Get an Interventionist

Your son or daughter has been spiking her coffee for months and you notice that she is acting differently. Night caps turn into empty bottles of Vodka the following morning, she is missing out on class because she "overslept," and she got into a fight in school and shrugged it off because she just "lost her temper." Around you, her breath smells of alcohol but she is still sweet and nods when you air your concern about her health.

If this scenario sounds familiar your child is most likely suffering from alcoholism, but like most parents, your heart softens when you see him/her suffering. Now is the time to get help because unless the addict begins to straighten up, he/she will destroy their entire life. This is the time to call an Interventionist.

What is an Interventionist?

An Interventionist is a professional counselor or psychiatrist who is trained to handle individuals who are addicted to substances, and not just for alcohol. Most of the time an Interventionist is called when the addiction concerns illegal drugs like crystal meth and the family is no longer able to control the addicted loved one. Of course, the addiction does not have to be that severe before a professional can intervene.

An Interventionist is trained to assess the level of addiction and to act on it accordingly. If your son or daughter is only mildly addicted according to your assessment, the Interventionist can visit your home to casually talk to him or her. Later on, the Interventionist can tell you if a detox and an in-patient rehabilitation program are necessary. Most of the time this level of treatment is needed, but when the addiction is fairly mild, out-patient counseling may be enough.

The important thing is to call an unbiased professional who can gauge the situation for you. Generally, families need to call an Interventionist because they are too emotionally invested in the situation and do not really see the full problem. Parents can be in as much denial as the addicted son or daughter. Denial does not help to get rid of the addiction because this type of thinking underrates the seriousness of the situation.

You expression of concern has no effect.

For an alcoholic, a bottle of wine might just mean "fun." They drink to relax and finish an entire bottle on their own in less than two hours. Without an intervention this dangerous drinking problem will be overlooked, even by parents who see their child engage in this behavior every day. Do not wait for the addict or alcohol to drive under the influence of alcohol and get into legal trouble before calling for intervention. By then, it may already be too late and serious damage could have been done.

If you try to talk to your child about the repercussions of drinking and your concern does not affect their habits, a professional intervention will be needed to make a difference. If they do not listen to your advice, a stronger factor may be getting in the way. Your child could be dealing with serious peer pressure, s/he could be depressed or the alcohol or substance abuse has been prolonged for so long that it has started to create behavioral changes.

If your words do not have much of an effect anymore, do not shrug it off as stubbornness. You may be looking at severe substance addiction and this type of problem can haunt your child for their entire life. Ask for help while it is not yet too late.

Frequently Asked Questions about Interventionists:

Q: Will my call be kept confidential?
A: Yes, strictly so. It is recorded for quality control purposes only.

Q: How many people need to be involved in the intervention?
A: Only those who are dedicated to carrying out the tough love to the addict in denial. The optimal number may be as few as 1 and as many as want to come to be there and are materially important to the process. We've even conducted interventions with only the interventionist and the addict present, with family members on the phone.

Q: How do I know if the interventionist is the correct one for our loved one?
A: Our intervention coordinator works with a roster of highly qualified, experienced interventionists. She selects one based on the call you have with her. She encourages you to determine whether the selection is appropriate, based on how your questions are answered and an instinctive "chemistry" you feel from your call.

Q: What happens after I select the interventionist?
A: The coordinator will inform the selected interventionist of choice. You will then receive a follow up call from the interventionist, beginning the process of identifying attendees, location for the event, travel logistics, if needed, and the details of the presentations and discussion format that will take place.

Q: When and where does the intervention occur?
A: At a time and place you determine. Usually this is between one and three days after your initial call. The attendees will be informed how to maintain the element of surprise for the addict, which is of the utmost importance. All involved must be prepared to act quickly because saving a life means time is of the essence.

Q: When do we actually get to meet the interventionist in person?
A: He or she will arrive a day early to meet with all attendees to rehearse all parts of the next day's intervention.

Q: What can I expect to happen at the intervention?
A: A lot of openness, rigorous honesty, heartfelt tough love, tears and hugging. You may also see the addict initially display anger, hostility, resentment, a desire to run away from the group and emotional distance.

Q: So what is the purpose of the intervention?
A: Simply put, to get the addict to become willing to leave the intervention and enter detox and rehab immediately, accompanied to the facility by the interventionist.

Q: But what if the addict hasn't yet "hit bottom"?
A: The intervention process is, among other things, a way to bring the bottom to him.

Q: What percent of addicts actually go directly into treatment from an intervention?
A: Our team has a very high success rate, over 90 percent consistently.

Q: What about the few who do not go into treatment?
A: There are times when an intervention program may have to be reassembled the following day or a few days later, generally due to the addict "coming to his senses" once the family's post-intervention consequences are put in place. Some decide later to come into treatment without those consequences forcing them to do so. Our success rate permits us to guarantee our interventions.

Q: What does it mean when an interventionist says that their services are guaranteed?
A: The interventionist will refund the cost of the intervention if your loved one does not go into treatment.

Q: Are intervention costs covered by insurance?
A: While interventions are a vital, if not all important part in actually saving someone's life, the insurance industry has yet to adopt this as an insured item.

Q: What does an intervention cost?
A: The cost for intervention services can vary depending on the situation, ability to pay for an intervention should NEVER be the deciding factor. There are programs that will offer free support on setting up an intervention. There are low-cost intervention services as well. Some interventions cost upwards of $4,000 however, these intervention services usually are coupled with long-term follow ups and guarantees. Please remember, no matter what, you and your loved-one can be helped. Finances should not stand in the way of organizing an intervention. If you need assistance, please call theRecovery Now TV helpline.

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