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Confrontational Intervention Model

What is the confrontational intervention model? There are several treatment models when it comes to an intervention, each of which has certain core beliefs and goals in common. The ultimate goal is for the member of the family with the addiction to get the help they need to recover and change their lives for the better. Some interventions are based on convincing the person with the addiction that treatment is the best option by focusing on how much the loved one means to the rest of the family. Others, like the confrontational intervention model, focus more on the harsh realities of drug and alcohol addiction. When the confrontational interventional model is used, the focus is placed on laying the blame for decisions made and the pain the addiction has caused squarely at the feet of the addicted person.

Using the principles of tough love, the confrontational intervention model establishes very distinct parameters for change.  It is important, however, that if you decide to conduct an intervention, you have a professional intervention specialist involved so the entire family can be trained and guided through the process in the most beneficial way possible.


Interventions Can Address More Than Just Drug Addiction

There are many types of addictive behaviors that can be assisted through an intervention process.  For instance:

  • Eating disorders
  • Work or career
  • Pornography
  • Internet
  • Exercise
  • Sex, love or relationships
  • Gambling
  • Shopping
  • Social group dynamics

If your loved one has a compulsion for any of these activities, he or she may be suffering from an addictive disorder. Help is available at treatment centers staffed by professionals who can address these issues and offer productive solutions.

The Confrontational Intervention Process

  1. Eliminate all other options.
    With the popularity of reality television and the significant problem of drug addiction in the United States, many people have become familiar with the concept of an intervention.  What is easy to forget, however, is that intervention, in and of itself, is not the first step to your loved one choosing a healthy life over addiction.  Before you decide to become directly confrontational with your family member, you might consider asking them to seek the help they need.  Have you indicated to them that you believe they may have a dependency on drugs or alcohol?  Have you offered to help them find a recovery center or program that can help them work through the issues they might be facing?Drug addiction is a disease, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and because it is not something that can be overcome with sheer willpower, an offer to help your loved one find a treatment program may be the push they need to choose life.
  2. Find an intervention specialist.
    If you have already tried to help your loved one overcome their addiction, but they have been unwilling to cooperate with your efforts, it might be time to plan a confrontational intervention. Making this decision is not as easy as it sounds, especially when emotions are involved to such a high degree.  You may be feeling angry, hurt, or confused.  Talking to an experienced intervention specialist can put the entire matter into perspective.  The knowledge, training and life experience gained through actively working with families can help your family determine if it is time for an intervention to take place, as well as answer many of your questions concerning how to go about planning one.
  3. Plan the Intervention.
    If you and the trained professional you’ve hired determine that an intervention is the best course of action to help your family member, it is time to plan the event.  Planning takes time, so be prepared to wait until all of the pieces are in place before you move ahead with the intervention date.  For instance, a trained professional intervention specialist will take time to:
  • Carefully select the intervention team. Which family members and friends will be strong enough and committed enough to maintain the confrontation for as long as it takes?
  • Train the team on how to confront your family member safely. A planned confrontational intervention still needs to be conducted with the safety of the addict in mind, to increase the odds of a successful event that will result in the addict agreeing to pursue treatment immediately.
  • Find a suitable treatment facility or program. Ensure that the program can accept your family member as a patient immediately following the intervention should he or she decide to go.
  • Work with the intervention team to prepare. Emotions will run high during the confrontational intervention, and it is easy to become confused and overly distraught
  • Help you determine the appropriate consequences should your family member decide not to seek treatment immediately following the intervention

Each treatment center has a list of items that can be brought to their center, including the types and quantities of clothing that the resident can pack.  It is a good idea to put together the articles needed, exactly as specified with no additions, so that if your family member decides to enter the facility you’ve selected, he or she can leave immediately on their journey toward recovery.  Taking the time to go home and pack after the intervention can leave them with time to change their mind.

Some professional intervention specialists will be in a position to escort your family member for you, and others do not include this service.  This determination should be made during the planning phase of the intervention process.

  1. Host the intervention.
    During the intervention, it is important to follow the plan and the direction of the intervention specialist.  A confrontational intervention, by its very nature, can be hard on everyone concerned.  Your loved one may feel as though he or she has been ambushed, which is not far from the truth.  They may try to leave; therefore the consequences must be explained to them immediately upon their arrival.  Be prepared for the emotions that may surface, and stick to your overall plan as much as possible.
  2. The final outcome.
    When the confrontational intervention has been conducted, there are two possible outcomes.  The first, the most desired, is that your loved one will respond to the accusations you’ve made concerning their behavior and its effects upon the family.  They may decide to take you up on the offer of rehabilitation and treatment for their addiction.  If this is the case, be prepared to offer your support and then allow them to be escorted to the facility right away.

*How Important Is an Intervention for Drug Abuse?

If your loved one has declined to receive treatment when you’ve offered it in the past, and they are continuing to use drugs or alcohol in addictive patterns, your use of a confrontational, or other type, intervention may be a matter of life or death.  According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Drug Abuse Warning Network report for 2009, there were over 4 million emergency room visits related to drug use that year.  Nearly half of those visits involved illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin or stimulants including methamphetamine.  Drug abuse is dangerous. Drug addiction is a life-threatening matter.  Finding and using a professional intervention specialist can mean all the difference in the world to you and your family.

Cautions When Choosing to Confront

The confrontational intervention model begs the question of whether addiction is a habit or a disease.  If addiction is a disease, as determined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, then the old-school confrontational interventional model should be tempered with reason.  In the early years, this particular model used techniques like humiliation to “convince” an addict to seek help.  In an article published in Counselor – The Magazine for Addiction Professionals, titled “Confrontation in Addiction Treatment,” the authors indicate that harsh confrontation techniques have been considerably softened.  By the mid-1980s, treatment programs had stopped using this technique altogether.

Confrontation in an intervention setting should be controlled and limited to making your case for sobriety, pointing out the harm that your family member’s addiction is causing to themselves and the family unit, and setting boundaries and consequences should the addicted individual choose to continue using drugs.  It should not be used to degrade, humiliate or “punish” the addict for perceived injustices they may have caused due to their addiction disease.

You love your family member.  Regardless of the pain and hurt the disease of addiction causes to family and friends, you love them.  If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be concerned with helping them overcome the ravages of the disease.  If you determine that a confrontational intervention is the best tool to use in your family situation, you do so out of concern and appreciation for the overall condition your loved one is facing.  In order to successfully manage the process, it is important to control the emotions you might feel when you actually make your accusations.

If you have questions about the type of intervention model that would be appropriate for your situation, contact us today. We can put you in touch with a professional treatment center that will help you determine the best way to get your loved one into treatment. Call now.


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