The systemic model of drug and alcohol intervention is the most popular and the most effective. With a properly delivered systemic model drug and alcohol intervention delivered to the family, even without the addict or alcoholic present, it is possible for the intervention to be effective. This is because the systemic model intervention is not about the addict or alcoholic anymore. It is about repairing the family system, which was broken over time by the loved one’s addiction so that both the family and the loved one are treated together. The Johnson model of intervention does not focus on the most important part of the drug and alcohol intervention, i.e., the family system. Whether the addict or alcoholic is invited to the intervention or not, it does not change the purpose of the systemic model of intervention, which is to change the family’s behaviors. People always ask prior to the intervention: “What if our loved one doesn’t show up?” Our answer is that the addict or alcoholic always does, but even if not, that would not matter.
We are not changing the addict or the alcoholic; we are changing the family system so that the addict and alcoholic can change. No addict or alcoholic maintains the addiction without the help of the family. Addicts and alcoholics teach their families how to handle them and their addiction, and this is the engine behind the systemic model of intervention. The reason why the Dr. Vernon Johnson model did a good job of getting people into treatment but had a terrible success rate of keeping them in treatment and sober is because in his model, only the addict or alcoholic changed; the family did not. When the addict or alcoholic goes into treatment without love, resentments are held and long term-sobriety becomes less likely. This is why the systemic model of intervention works so much better than the other models.