man and woman having a serious conversation

A Failed Intervention Isn’t the End for Addiction Treatment

The road to recovery can be a long and bumpy journey for struggling addicts. When an intervention fails and the addict refuses to enter addiction treatment, many family members and friends give up hope. Even if the intervention group does everything right – helping the individual to recognize their problem, offering them support and the option of immediate treatment – the individual may still refuse to enter a rehabilitation center, or simply not be ready to make that commitment. The reality is that a single intervention may not be sufficient to convince an addict to seek treatment. Interventions may fail for a number of reasons, and being aware of these mistakes when planning a subsequent intervention may improve the chances of it being successful. Research shows that interventions can be a crucial step forward in addiction treatment and so it’s important to stick to your guns and ensure your loved one gets the help they deserve.

Why did the intervention fail?

Interventions can fail for a number of reasons related to the mental state of the patient – they may be caught off-guard and become defensive, or they may even be under the influence and thus refuse to cooperate. On the other hand, individuals staging the intervention may also contribute to its failure: they may lose their focus and start to become judgmental or aggressive, or they may become upset and lose their temper. Emotional outbursts, which are natural in such a sensitive situation, can cause the addict to leave the intervention or may contribute to their unwillingness to enter rehabilitation. Be realistic about why your intervention failed, and use your observations about what could have been done better, and more calmly and productively, guide you towards staging another successful meeting.

Seek help

If having a loved one who is struggling with addiction is not difficult enough, staging an intervention can be an emotionally draining affair for even the toughest individuals. If an intervention fails it may be a good idea to seek help for yourself before you plan on staging another one. Professional psychologists, or counselors, can give you the emotional support you need to pick yourself up and begin the battle against addiction once again. Don’t blame yourself for the failed intervention; addicts need to accept responsibility for their own sobriety, and this responsibility cannot always lie on you. Join a support group in which you can vent your frustrations, and speak to people who have witnessed a successful intervention to get some advice.

Stand firm

The main reason a second intervention fails is if family members become more lenient in their demands. In order for an intervention to succeed you need to stay strong on your promises; do not compromise! Tough love is very difficult, but if you have promised to kick your loved one out of the house you need to follow through. Many interventions fail because the struggling addict is able to play with the emotions of their loved ones; family members can feel guilty and compromise certain demands. If you have tried and had a failed intervention, to intervene in a loved one’s addiction this does not mean there is no hope. Stick to your word and your loved one will start to take you and your family more seriously. This is difficult but it may be the key to a successful intervention in the future.