An intervention is an action taken by family, friends, employer and/or concerned others to proactively help someone to change unacceptably self-destructive behavior. The problem areas addressed by an intervention are typically addiction to alcohol and/or other controlled substances, tobacco, food, the Internet, sex, shopping, or gambling, and the need to have the issue addressed in an addiction recovery center. Other occasions could involve the need for nursing home or medical care, domestic violence issues or chronic pain with addiction.
No person can easily survive without support from someone close. The workability of interventions is based on this. An affected person will continue to live his or her life of active addiction or an unhealthy behavior when friends and family offer inappropriate support, known as enabling. This support typically permits the addiction or behavior to continue as before. In most cases of enabling, family and friends feel that they are helping or protecting the individual; but actually, they are fostering an environment where the destructiveness can continue, thus creating an unhealthy “support” system for the person.
The intervention process addresses the unhealthy support system that allows the addiction to progress by eliminating it, and plainly identifying the issues to the person. Addiction breeds secrecy and isolation, both for the individual and for those close to him or her. The intervention process brings together family and friends and creates a support network for each member; and this way the support network in turn engages and empowers the individual to grow and change in a positive way, by confronting the truth of his or her condition, and that something must be done about it.
The support group for an intervention is composed of family, friends and others with a caring and significant relationship to the individual. For the intervention to be successful, all members of the support group must agree that the purpose of the intervention is to empower the individual to make positive changes, and not to shame or humiliate him or her regarding the addiction or destructive behavior.