One of the most commonly asked questions is, “What is your success rate?”  Many find it difficult to understand that the success rate is not determined by us but rather by the family.  An intervention is only successful when the entire family is able and willing to come together, to remain on the same page, and to follow directions in unison.  Although the percentage of people who enter treatment following an intervention is very high, the success rate of those who recover is in large part determined by their families’ commitment to follow directions before, during, and after the intervention.  If that occurs, whether or not the loved one says “yes” to treatment, the family can achieve closure and peace of mind, knowing that everything that could be done has been done.

Family First Intervention has yet to see an intervention fail when the family follows through with our guidelines and sticks to the plan. Intervention is for the family, while treatment is for the addict. The end goal of any intervention is to have the addict or alcoholic willingly accept help. However, an intervention is just as much for the family because they gain peace of mind knowing they have done everything they can to help their loved one.

Intervention Statistics and Facts

After performing over 6,000 interventions over 15 years (as of May 2020), Family First Intervention has seen the following statistics and results:

  • Most interventions are successful on the day of the intervention when a professional is guiding the process. This number increases if the family follows through with all of the guidelines set forth during the intervention.
  • Only 10% of families that call us actually go through with the intervention. A few of the reasons why include:
    • Fear of change is greater than the fear of staying the same
    • Fear of losing your role of being needed in the relationship
    • Fear of losing your purpose as their caretaker
    • Fear of them getting better and family not being able to adjust to the new normal of silence and becoming free of the chaos and drama the family has come accustomed too
    • Fear if they get better we have to look at ourselves.
    • Fear of exposing family secrets (everyone has them)
    • The belief that if not for you they would become worse and not survive. Essentially you believe your enabling is keeping them alive.
    • Guilt & Shame
    • Codependency
    • Some family members, wanting to play the role of hero, think they can fix the problem themselves by just talking to the addict or alcoholic.
    • Other family members think the loved one won’t go for the intervention, or that he or she will run away and never be found again (something which has never happened in our experience).
    • The family says their loved one will walk out of treatment as if doing nothing is a better option.
    • The family simply feels that an intervention won’t work.
    • The family thinks they can do the intervention themselves by just talking to their loved one, but they don’t understand how a professional would handle the situation differently. Some of these may seem harsh. If they were untrue, then why do you allow it to continue?
  • The most powerful drug in the world is love, and the hardest behavior to change in regards to addiction is the enabling behavior by the family. It is 10 times easier to get the addict or alcoholic to treatment than it is to get the family to allow us to do the intervention.
  • 90% of the calls we receive are from a woman. The person calling is typically the strongest in the family, with the highest level of understanding. If it were up to this person every time, the family would surely do the intervention.
  • Fathers and husbands are the most difficult to convince to be a part of an intervention. They often have trouble seeking assistance and think they can handle the situation themselves.
  • 90% of parents of addicts think the addiction is their fault. This is 100% untrue.
  • Interventions don’t fail. Rather, people fail to follow the directions of the intervention counselor.
  • Addiction is the only fatal illness that is 100% treatable.

Defining Success

Many families define success by our ability to talk their loved one into treatment. However, Family First Intervention believes that the true measure of the success of an intervention is the family’s ability to follow our directions, set healthy boundaries and hold their loved one accountable.

Everyone speaks of the need to wait for rock bottom or for the loved one to ask for help when all along he or she has manipulated the situation so that neither of those things will happen. The system needs to change, but trying to change the addict or alcoholic doesn’t work, as you probably have learned from having tried a thousand times with countless broken contracts and promises. Your loved one has created an environment that makes his or her life as comfortable as possible at your expense.

An addict or alcoholic can’t get through the addiction without the help of the family.  After an intervention, both the family and their loved one are in treatment, so to speak. And if the family “relapses” and goes back to enabling, the addict or alcoholic is sure to follow.

The success rate of the intervention and the treatment center’s ability to provide long-term sobriety can decrease instantly if the family does not follow through with established boundaries and hold their loved one accountable. An intervention is not an event: It is a process, just like your loved one’s recovery.

Following Through

The more the family plans properly, the higher the long-term success rate of the intervention and treatment plan will be. A true gauge of a successful intervention is how the family feels about what they have done after the intervention is over, regardless of the outcome. This is because the only way to have a successful intervention is when the family changes and allows their loved one to become fully accountable for the addiction.

Whether the family enables or not, an intervention sends the message that there is nothing in the world the family would not do for their loved one. However, there is nothing the family is going to do going forward if they know it will make the loved one’s addiction worse. Interventions are almost always successful if the family follows through with the plan we collaboratively develop during our time together.

Mike Loverde

As a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), member of NAATP, NAADAC, and accredited by the Pennsylvania Certification Board, Mike Loverde knows first-hand what it’s like to live life with addiction. By overcoming it, he had a calling to work with others who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions—the people who use and the families who feel helpless watching them decay.

With thousands of interventions across the United States done and many more to come, Loverde continues to own the intervention space, since 2005, by working with medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and others who need expert assistance for their patients who need intervention. To further his impact on behavioral health and maximize intervention effectiveness, Loverde is near completion of a Masters in Addiction Studies (MHS) accreditation, as well as a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC), and is committed to attaining the designation of a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

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