One of the most important things to remember when comforting the prospect of doing an intervention is that a failed intervention is not in fact the end of the end of the road for an addict or for your attempts to getting the addict to go to rehab and to be properly convinced that he or she really does have a problem. In fact, drug and alcohol addiction is such a complex problem and is so difficult to get rid of that many who are addicted will in fact say no to your intervention no matter how hard you try to get them to see the light. Some people will need to be intervened on five or six times before they agree to go to rehab.
As any recovering addict will tell you, the road to recovery can be a very long and bumpy journey for struggling addicts who are still abusing drugs and alcohol. When an intervention fails and the addict refuses to enter into addiction treatment and insists that he or she can handle things on his or her own, it can be a tough time for all involved. At this point many family members and friends give up hope and decide that that was the last straw for them. Even if the intervention group does everything right and really works to make it go right (helping the individual to recognize their problem as it currently stands, offering them support and the option of immediate treatment if they so choose it, etc.) the individual may still refuse to enter a rehabilitation center to get help with his or her addiction. Perhaps the individual will simply not be ready to make that commitment to really beating drug and alcohol addiction once and for all. This can make a lot of family members and loved ones feel that the addict is hopeless and is lost.
There is a much bigger picture to this though. The basic reality of this is that a single intervention may not be sufficient to convince an addict to seek treatment for his or her addiction. In fact interventions may fail for a number of different reasons, some of which might have to do with the addict, some of which might have to do with the intervention members, some of which might have to do with the timing, the arrangement, the circumstances, the interventionist, etc. Lots of factors can play a part in this, and the family members and loved ones of the addict will ultimately need to be aware of that and not put so much faith and attention on just one intervention, failed or not.
It’s important for the members and team players of any intervention to be aware of the mistakes that can be made in any intervention when planning their intervention. If the family members are putting together a second intervention, try to figure out what about the last intervention made it fail and be sure to prevent those mistakes from occurring again.
Why Do Interventions Fail?
There are four main reasons why interventions don’t work. These are:
1. Circumstance. This is the most common one, and it is the most difficult to control. Maybe the addict was in a bad mood that day. Maybe the addict was too surprised or to caught off guard when the intervention was brought to bear on him or her. Maybe the addict was high. Maybe the addict was going through some minor withdrawal symptoms. Maybe the addict just didn’t feel like being sociable or workable that day. It could be any of these or a combination of these.
2. The members of the intervention itself can kill it. They might become aggressive or confrontational. They might scare the addict. They might upset the addict too much or in the wrong way. They might present rehab in a way that makes it look unappealing.
3. The intervention leader might have picked a wrong person to be a part of the intervention. Perhaps the addict holds a grudge for one of the intervention team members and the addict wouldn’t be a part of the intervention for that reason.
4. The addict simply doesn’t want to stop abusing drugs and alcohol. Ultimately, it will come down to the individual addict’s willingness or lack thereof to stop using and abusing drugs and alcohol. Ultimately this will be the overall deciding factor here, and this will be the make or break point of any intervention.
In the end, it is important not to get too excited if an intervention fails, (you can always try again), and ultimately it is important not to get too excited if you succeed in an intervention, (there’s a long road ahead yet). Take the intervention for what it is at face value, work hard at it, and hope for the best. In the end it will come down to the addict if real change is going to be made or not.