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A Tip Sheet Review!

Influence and Leverage: Understanding What Works in Interventions

It's true, family and friends are the primary means by which alcoholics or drug addicts decide to enter treatment. However, but it is a myth that an intervention must be orchestrated with the assistance of a professional interventionist showing up at a surprise meeting.

In my experience, 95% of admissions to addiction treatment programs occur as a result of people purposely saying and/or doing things in a way that worked. What they said and did, and how they said and did it, can be identified and taught. In effect, this is "intervention technology."

Once intervention technology is understood, others can teach others. There is no rocket science and there is no mystery to intervention. There are important dynamics however worth understanding.

The beauty of "professional-less" intervention (or the Family Empowerment Model as I like to call it) is that it can be repeated at the next crisis point precipitated by the addict's behavior, if it does not work the first time.

And, that next crisis will surely will come.

So the model works well because of the chronic progressive nature of addiction and its accompanying problems, each one of which is an opportunity to try the intervention again.

Participants in Interventions Should Possess "Leverage", "Influence", or Both

Influence is the value of the relationship (or perceived value) of the relationship to the addict. People with influence might be mentors, teachers, ministers, fishing buddies, best friends, or even children. They are powerful allies because what they say carries weight or influence with the addict.

People with influence typically have not provoked the addict by much enabling. They may have enabled, but the addict still trusts them and sees them as elevated persons in their life's circle, often ascribing to them superior values and worth or moral character that surpasses their own.

People without influence are frequently antagonists--partners, spouses or those with whom the alcoholic has had ongoing conflict. They may not be influential at all, but they may still have strong “leverage” over the addict's welfare and comfort. Note: Unless a family business, never mix an outside employer of the addict with the family members in the same interventions.

(Performance based interventions and family interventions are two different things entirely.)

Leverage is something that can be given or taken away from the addict that is adverse and undesirable. The more adverse, the more the powerful the leverage. It is something that the addict strongly wants to avoid. Examples include divorce, removing children from the home or contact with the addict, removing financial support, removing something valued, etc.

You can see today's tip sheet a bit more closely at HandoutsPlus.com