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Lifestyle: Addiction Intervention and Detoxification
Another popular recovery tool is called an intervention. An intervention generally refers to a planned
gathering of people who know the addict and want to offer support and intervene to stop the addiction.
Friends, family, co-workers, church members or in short close contacts meet and gently confront the person
with the addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex or other behavior or substance addiction.
Sharing of personal feelings
It is believed that by close contacts sharing their personal feelings and thoughts for the addict’s
well being, the addict will feel safer and confront denial issues, opening up a pathway for recovery and
healing. By actually being with so many caring people, the addict may also become motivated to seek help
and change, and realize that he or she hasn’t faked everyone out with lies about the addiction. Many want
to seek help so that they are not alone in their struggle any longer, preferring recovery and health instead.
The intervention team becomes part of their support network. Each member shares his or her own experiences
with the addict and the problems arising from the addiction. And in turn, each shares their love, support
and encouragement for recovery as well as any healing resources or tools they may have. For example, maybe
one member who faced similar addiction issues found help from a local 12-step program and therapist, and
brought the meeting information (location and times) plus the therapist’s phone number alone to share.
Trained people are also available to help groups with interventions. Some go through a 3-stage
Stage I - This focuses on telephone coaching over the phone. A trained professional helps you build a
foundation with hope and figure out whom to ask to join in an intervention plan. They also help strategize –
gather the intervention team together, educate about goals and overall plan, and help with getting the addict
to the intervention meeting the first time.
Stage II – This stage generally begins if no treatment has yet kicked into place after Stage I.
Generally, the main person in charge of gathering the intervention team together meets with the professionally
trained counselor get together for strategy planning about a half-dozen times. Note that the addict is not
present at these. Goals are to educate, support and develop a plan of action that includes healing treatment
with the one seeking help for the addict first.
Stage III – At this point, other intervention team members are brought in and counseled. And the addict is
invited to the meetings where intervention members share their new boundaries and coping skills with the
addict (if he or she comes along). The intervention members’ love and support are demonstrated more than once,
and by now the addict has had multiple opportunities to enter recovery and treatment but has not yet taken the
plunge to seek help.
Results with this 3-stage program are long-term help for not only the addict, but the support people as
well. The addict is generally removed or placed outside the dysfunctional family environment. And both family
and addict learn healthier behaviors, communication and coping skills. For more information about
Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery 1-800-522-3784
5409 N. Knoxville Ave.
Peoria, IL 61614
Check with your libraries and bookstores for helpful intervention books. Here are a couple of popular ones:
Crisis Intervention Strategies (with InfoTrac) (Counseling Series)
by Richard K. James, Burl E. Gilliland Richard K. James, Burl E. Gilliland; Wadsworth Publishing; 4 edition
(August 10, 2000).
A Guide to Crisis Intervention, by Kristi Kanel; Wadsworth Publishing; 2 edition (February 21, 2002).
And check out what resources National Intervention Referral has available in your area by contacting them at
(800) 399- 3612 (24 hours / 7 days), or by visiting them at and filling out their online form
For treatment alternatives in your area, some places to contact include counselors (educational, school,
professional / medical like psychologists), doctors and hospitals. They may offer treatment solutions that
include self-help, smoking patches, online treatment and housing alternatives. Some other options follow:
Treatment Centers (mental health, crisis centers, substance abuse programs) – For help locating treatment
facilities in an area near you, contact:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Toll Free: 1-877-696-6775
National Toll-Free Help Lines – For organizations that offer mental health information, referrals some crisis
counseling, dial these toll-free numbers (from within the United States:
National Treatment Referral Hotline 800- 375- 4577 www.nationalhotline.org
National Mental Health Association 800-969-NMHA (6642)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255)
Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation 800-639-7462
SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment 800-662-HELP (4357)
SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Info 800-729-6686
Detoxification – Immediately halting an addict’s alcohol or drugs, can result in not only emotional but physical
withdrawal, as the body has become dependent. So medical detoxification, or “de-tox” for short, is sometimes a
treatment option. De-tox is the process by which an addict is actively withdrawn with the help of his physician
while the negative substances are gradually removed from his body’s system, in a step-by-step process.
upon the addiction, some medications have been found to help with controlling mild to extreme withdrawal symptoms
like seizures, delirium and shaking, with inpatient care. For example, with alcohol addiction, benzodiazepines,
carbamazepine and clonidine are sometimes used. And tranquilizers can be used for outpatient care. While with
cocaine, Antidepressant drugs may be used to help treat depression and anxiety during withdrawal. De-tox
combined with a recovery program can produce a greater positive response in improving the patient’s healthcare.
Inpatient / Outpatient Services
Inpatient services like de-tox may be available at hospitals and residential
treatment centers, and are considered to be quicker if careful monitoring of the patient is done so that no
addition addictive substances are used during the time of treatment. However, outpatient services performed
in private, addiction treatment or mental health offices or centers, while less expensive and intrusive on
day-to-day lifestyles (especially with those continuing in their daily jobs), can be equally effective if a
careful support treatment strategy is in place and used by the patient so that he or she does not return to
using addictive substances while on the outside.
Unfortunately, nutrition is often not a focus when a person is addicted, regardless of whether
the substance is alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, etc. So in order to help get the brain back to a healthier state
and improve “thinking” and overall health, good nutrition is taught and supplements are often encouraged.
For starters, many suggest lowering or limiting dietary intake of simple starches and sugars, upping the
intake of protein. A good multivitamin / multi-mineral supplement recommended by a family or healthcare
provider can be a helpful tool in a well-rounded recovery plan, too.
Retreats / Rehabs
Today there is a wide variety of rehabilitation or rehab centers to aid recovery and
healing programs in targeted environments. Choose from rehabs focused mainly for Teens, Christian-based
Programs, Executives, Gay & Lesbian Programs, Prescription Addiction, Residential Treatment Programs,
Intervention Partners, Coast-specific (East or West), or 12-Step Rehab, for starters. A good place to begin
is with a call to the National Treatment Referral Hotline at 800- 375- 4577 or fill out a brief info request
online at www.nationalhotline.org about your case.
NEXT: Support Groups, Organizations, Recovery Programs
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