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What is an Intervention?


An Intervention is a process by which the harmful, progressive, and destructive effects of chemical dependency are interrupted and the chemically dependent person is helped to stop using mood-altering chemicals and to develop new, healthier ways of coping with his or her needs and problems (Johnson, V. Intervention, pg. 61). A shorter, simpler way to define intervention is “presenting reality to a person, who is out of touch with it, in a receivable way.”

An addiction is a pathological relationship with a mood-altering substance and/or behavior that renders one powerless and produces harmful consequences. Unless the chemically dependent person gets help, he or she will die prematurely. Chemical dependency is a disease that kills. It is also a disease from which people can and do recover. In 1956 the American Medical Association (AMA) proclaimed chemical dependency a disease by their medical standards. In 1990 researchers announced they had found the gene that causes severe forms of alcoholism. Today medical experts refer to it as a “brain disease.”

We know that chemical dependency is not caused by a lack of willpower, or weakness of character, or some flaw in a person’s moral structure. Nor is it the result of external influences – an unhappy marriage, problems at work, or peer pressure. This means that if someone you care about is chemically dependent, it is not your fault.

The chemically addicted person does not have to “hit bottom.” In no other disease is “hitting bottom” necessary for the person to receive the help they need and deserve. By gathering those who love and care about the chemically dependent person, an intervention can lovingly and honestly assist him or her in getting help.

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“Lois helped us intervene on my father on Father's Day 1990. My father's life was dramatically changed as well as my family. I got my father back.” 


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