Category Archives: Resources


The Importance of Professional Intervention

InterventionTreatment for addiction does not need to begin voluntarily to be effective. The lower the bottom, the harder it becomes to ever return to the surface. Traditional psychiatry and counseling are most often not the answer. Research shows intervention to be successful 85% to 95% of the time. Truly successful outcomes for any serious illness require a variety of interventions—based on the latest research to include medicine, nutrition, education, relational support, etc. A professional interventionist will provide oversight and continuity to permanently raise the bottom of the entire family of those suffering from addiction.

Anyone who is consumed by alcohol or drugs of any kind is incapable of making consistently healthy choices, and thus requires professional expertise to help get healthy again. Working with a specialist will offer significant advantages that save families time, money, and emotional pain in the long run.

Consult an Addiction Professional

Consulting an addiction professional, such as an alcohol and addictions counselor, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, or interventionist, can help you organize an effective intervention. A substance use or addiction professional will take into account the particular circumstances surrounding the alcohol or drug use, suggest the best approach, and provide guidance for what type of treatment and follow-up plan is likely to work best.

An intervention is a carefully planned process that may be done by family and friends, in consultation with a doctor or professional such as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, or directed by an intervention professional (interventionist). It sometimes involves co-workers, clergy members or others who care about the person struggling with addiction.

Much of the intervention process is education and information for the friends and family. The opportunity for everyone to come together, share information and support each other is critically important.  Once everyone is ready, a meeting is scheduled with the person everyone is concerned about.

During the intervention, these people gather together to confront the person about the consequences of addiction and ask him or her to accept treatment. The intervention:

  • Provides specific examples of destructive behaviors and their impact on the addicted person and loved ones
  • Offers a prearranged treatment plan with clear steps, goals and guidelines
  • Spells out what each person will do if a loved one refuses to accept treatment

Here’s a look at seven tips that will increase the likelihood of your family member saying “yes” to accepting professional help and walking into a new life of health and happiness.

Tip #1 Choose the Right Team

An intervention is not something to be performed alone. Most likely, you’ve already tried to “intervene” on your own. Choose somewhere between 3 and 8 people to participate; consider close friends, family members and colleagues who have first-hand knowledge of the problem.

Tip #2 Hire a Professional Interventionist

A professional interventionist is experienced and trained in addiction. They know how to prepare an intervention, respond to common reactions and set a proper tone for the event. Despite reading about it or seeing it on TV, nothing can substitute the value of experience.

Tip #3 Prepare and Discuss the Intervention

Team members should be prepared to speak knowledgeably regarding your family member and his/her addiction. Reading a one-page letter (written by each team member) to the addict is a common practice of interventions.

Tip #4 Omit Blame, Anger and Judgment

When rehearsing for your family member’s intervention, omit using any words or tones that may cause more confrontation than necessary. Read your letter aloud and discussing the proper tone with your interventionist before the big day. This is an important part of preparation.

Tip #5 Ensure It’s Unexpected

If your family member is aware of an intervention, he/she may prepare a defense or avoid the situation altogether. Although it might feel sneaky or dishonest, planning the intervention in secret is one of the keys to success and effectiveness.

Tip #6 Carefully Plan Your Objective

The goal of an intervention is to facilitate the immediate treatment your family member’s addiction. Typically, a treatment center will be lined up beforehand and they should be expecting your family member’s arrival. Professional counseling or therapy sessions should also be available for you and other family members following the intervention.

Tip #7 Understand Leverage and Compassion

Threats and ultimatums are sometimes counterproductive and dangerous, but you must be prepared to voice the consequences of treatment refusal. Whether it’s how the refusal of treatment will affect the addict’s relationship with the family, current living arrangements or the family as a whole, you must remember that you wield significant leverage. When used compassionately, your family member will ultimately thank you for showing such strength.

Remember; the point of an intervention is to help – not threaten, hurt or embarrass.


Relapse Prevention: Excellent Tool for Addiction Recovery

To err is to be human. We all make mistakes, and most of the time that’s how we learn. In the process of beating an addiction to drugs or alcohol, these mistakes are called relapses. When a recovering addict slips and uses the substance he or she is addicted to again, it is called a relapse. Several factors contribute to why an addict relapses. How an addict copes with these factors plays a crucial role in possibly preventing the relapse altogether. A common term used to describe the factors that contribute to a relapse is ‘triggers’. Relapse Prevention rests on if an addict can healthily avoid triggers.

Relapse Prevention (RP) is a cognitive-behavioral treatment method that identifies such triggers and formulates ways to avoid them while still maintaining a balanced life. Since anywhere from 50-90% of recovering addicts eventually relapse, RP serves as a welcome method for lowering this awful statistic.


What is Relapse Prevention?

In 1985, professors Marlatt and Gordon proposed the Relapse Prevention model as a method for preventing alcohol relapses. The method beings with identifying high-risk situations, which the professors define as “the environmental and emotional characteristics of situations that are potentially associated with relapse.” Once high-risk situations are categorized, appropriate coping responses are utilized. According to the model, an addict can either have effective coping responses or ineffective ones. The effectivity of coping determines self-efficacy, or the belief in oneself to be able to exert control and “execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments.”

With self-efficacy comes decreased likelihood of relapse. A lack of self-efficacy leads to a relapse, which can trigger the abstinence violation effect. This effect is what happens when a recovering addict uses again, feels guilt and shame because of it, and therefore uses more to mask the guilt and shame.

Regarding treatment, once the triggers are recognized, the patient’s responses to the triggers are analyzed as well as the patient’s lifestyle. With this information, the responses and/or weaknesses causing relapse in the patient can be curbed and/or strengthened.

What are the triggers?

There is a variety of triggers for relapse. Frankly, what triggers a recovering addict to relapse is personal to him or her. However, the majority of relapses can be attributed to some factor outside of addiction. Among the many recognized, reasons for relapse include improper aftercare, lack of self-efficacy, sobering up to appease others, certain people and places, loneliness, and addiction replacement.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse itself has three stages: emotional, mental, and physical. In emotional relapse, the addict is not actually using, but is exhibiting signs of anxiety, mood swings, poor hygience/health, etc. Preventing relapse in this stage means taking care of oneself and realizing self-importance. Ask for help. Set small-term goals. Eat well and sleep well.

The mental stage of relapse is when you want to use but you do not. The internal struggle where you desire but refrain is known as mental relapse. Signs include reminiscing on the (drug-fueled) old times, fantasizing about using, and lying about what one is thinking and feeling. Preventing relapse in this stage means talking to others, distracting yourself productively, surrounding yourself with the right people, or something as simple as taking a nap. Cravings go away.

The final stage of relapse is physical relapse. This is when the addict indulges in use somewhere along the path to recovery. At this point, the addict should seek professional assistance. The abstinence violation effect can make relapse turn into full-blown addiction.

Outpatient Rehab: The Freedom to Help Yourself

Being in outpatient rehab means traveling to the rehabilitation center for treatment and then returning home. Some programs require patients to be there for many hours, and other programs require only a half-hour. It depends on the severity and nature of your addiction. There are also three basic types of outpatient rehab: therapy/counseling, intensive outpatient rehabilitation, and partial hospitalization. Discussed below is why outpatient rehabilitation could work for you, along with a breakdown of each of the three types.


First and foremost, if your addiction is out-of-hand, and you need full attention, then outpatient rehab is not for you. Seek inpatient rehabilitation, (living at the treatment facility), immediately.

Now, if you need help but not around the clock, here are some of the many benefits of choosing outpatient rehabilitation:

  • Costs significantly less than inpatient rehabilitation
  • Allows for the patient to still have time at home with family, to work, or for school
  • Behavioral therapy (optional) can help in all aspects of life
  • Many locations are available across the United States

The above facts are true for all three types of outpatient rehabilitation. Let’s find out which is best for you.


Therapy/counseling consists of the patient attending short counseling sessions, usually once a week, whether individual, group, family, behavioral, etc. Therapy-based outpatient rehabilitation is for someone who perhaps is already in recovery, or whose addiction is not as severe. Many groups exist that are open to the public, such as Narcotics Anonymous, but it is important to remember that these groups do not qualify as outpatient rehabilitation by themselves.

If you are in the process of beating your addiction, or you simply need support to maintain sobriety, therapy and/or counseling is perfect for you. A completely full life outside of recovery is able to be maintained.


Intensive outpatient rehabilitation consists of the patient attending long sessions, multiple days a week. Commonly, the scheduling of these sessions is based around the patient’s pre-existing life schedule, allowing a normal life along with treatment. Extended sessions allow the patient to dive deep and treat the issues behind the addiction. Even though a fair amount of time is dedicated to recovery, intensive outpatient rehabilitation still allows for a presence either at work or at home, and allows for time with family and/or friends. Also, the network of support you establish utilizing this method of recovery is vast. All of your loved ones, as well as the entire staff & patient body, are available to you 24/7. Lastly, intensive outpatient rehabilitation allows for the treatment of more than one addiction simultaneously. Many of us have multiple addictions, and this method can help beat them all.


Partial hospitalization is exactly what it seems like. Patients who require consistent monitoring yet desire a stable life should consider partial hospitalization. Usually three to five days a week, for several hours a day, patients will have the benefit of hospital resources, as well as all the aforementioned benefits of therapy, counseling, and intensive rehabilitation. You would not live at the hospital. This method of outpatient rehabilitation is also ideal for those going through a detoxification, as the bodily changes may require hospital-grade equipment and knowledge.


No matter what you may be addicted to, an addiction is still an addiction. The methods used in outpatient rehabilitation can be applied to drug addiction, sex addiction, gambling addiction, etc. The bottom line is always the same: Help yourself and let others help you.