An intervention is the action taken by family, friends, employer and/or concerned others to actively assist someone to change unacceptable behavior. Stated another way, it’s to interrupt the progression of addiction. The problem areas that typically are addressed could include addiction to alcohol and/or other drugs, nicotine, food, the internet, sex, spending/shopping, and gambling. This process can also be utilized for assisting people to accept nursing home or medical care, domestic violence issues and chronic pain associated with addiction.
It was once believed that an individual struggling with addiction or resisting changing unhealthy behaviors had to sincerely want help in order to get help. The person had to “hit bottom” before being motivated to change. This, we know, is not always true.
No person can easily survive without support from someone close to him/her. Interventions are based on this fact. A person will continue to live his/her life of active addiction or an unhealthy behavior when friends and family offer inappropriate support. This type of support typically allows the addiction or behavior to continue. In most cases, family and friends feel that they are protecting the individual, but in fact, they are creating an unhealthy support system for the person.
The intervention process addresses the unhealthy support system that allows the addiction to progress. Addiction breeds secrecy and isolation, both for the individual and for those who care about him/her. The intervention process brings together family and others to create a support network for each member. The support network in turn engages and empowers the individual to grow and change in a positive way.