Sober Intervention

 

An intervention is the first step to recovery, it is important to bring about change in your loved one.

Helping someone get sober and give up alcohol for good often means working with their family first.

Listen to John from Sober Services interview for passionforfreshideas.com

A Sober Intervention is one of the most loving and compassionate things you can do for someone struggling with addiction.

You may often hear that there is nothing you can do to help the alcoholic or addict stop their debilitating habit until they themselves are ready. Or that they must hit a rock bottom first before they can stop. One of the unfortunate truths of this statement is that when anyone afflicted with this disease does eventually reach a rock bottom, so may those closest to them. This can include financial insecurity, loss of home and in some tragic cases even death.

As part of the A.I.S (Association of Intervention Specialists) Sober Services are one of the few organizations specifically trained to guide families and colleagues of those suffering through this procedure. It is important to note that interventions should only be carried out in the presence of at least one trained and qualified person.

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The 10 Stages of a Sober Intervention


The Sober Intervention always starts with a full gathering of as many of the family and friends as are able to join us, but we never include the addict or the alcoholic at this stage. It’s vitally important that they do not know that we’re meeting to discuss them and their addiction. Between three and six people is a good number.
Agree that you will maintain complete confidentiality and that no one will inform the addict / alcoholic. This is so important.During this first consultation we’ll be discussing the facts about the addict, and noting all the harmful behaviour that you’ve all observed.You’ll be explained how and why we write everything down in letter format which will be read out to the addict during the actual Sober Intervention.
We’ll be focussing on the 3 parts of this letter – Absolute Love, Complete Honesty and Strong Boundaries.

We shall be planning what each of the group will say and in which order.

We will examine how we believe the addict will react and what barriers they’ll throw up. We want to be able to completely anticipate their answers beforehand and have all our answers ready to fully address their denials, tears, anger and so forth.

Whoever is leading the Sober Intervention (from Sober Services) will work individually with everyone to ensure that the letters are well written and that everyone is able to stick to the plan of action, especially the Strong Boundaries in the 3rd We’ll also make sure there’s enough Absolute Love throughout without judgement, and that the Complete Honesty is a fair assessment and factual rather than assumed.Between each section of the letter the phrase “Will you accept the help we’re giving you today?” will be inserted. This will be repeated throughout the Sober Intervention and will become like a mantra for the addict / alcoholic to keep hearing.The Sober Interventionist will arrange to have individual consultations over the phone or via skype, to make sure everyone’s letter is written in the correct manner.
Every person will email their letter to the Sober Interventionist so each one has a copy whilst talking through it and looking for ways to improve the letter.
In best case scenarios, we’ll then meet face to face a second time with the whole group, but again without the addict / alcoholic’s knowledge.We will do a read through dress rehearsal and understand the way the actual Sober Intervention will flow on the day.We will continue to discuss as many of the possible reactions that the addict / alcoholic may come back to us with so that you’re fully prepared to confront their addictive disease.
The result of the Sober Intervention is that the Addict / Alcoholic will be escorted either by the Sober Interventionist or by the family to a residential facility on the very same day.This means that there’s plenty to be discussed and agreed upon before the actual Sober Intervention.Choosing the right treatment facility will depend on a great deal of different factors including location, culture, length of programme, detox facilities, and maybe most importantly, budget. Sober Services will help you make the right choice and will set up all the connections for a smooth admission on the day.
We’ll need to make sure that we’re able to pack the addict’s bag and that a passport is available if they need to travel by air.

We need to make sure their diary will not throw up any objections that will override the decision to accept the help we’re trying to give them. Things like Court Cases, or Weddings, or important work commitments will need to be discussed and overcome.

It is always best to do the Sober Intervention as early in the day as practical. This allows us to do the Sober Intervention before the Addict / Alcoholic is intoxicated and hopefully will have them in a position where their body cries out to them for help in some form or ever, making it easier for them to accept our help before they have to go out and drink or use. Remember, this is about offering a graceful exit to their addiction, not making it feel like they’ve been forced.We will also agree on who the leading member of the family and friends will be. This is the person whom the Addict respects or listens to the most, often one of the Parents, though not always. It could be a spouse or sibling or even one of the elder children.
We will have a specific seating plan that the Sober Interventionist would have configured and everyone will need to be there on time ahead of the Addict / Alcoholic’s arrival.There will be a specific order of reading the letters out too, so everyone will know exactly when to speak and when not to. We will ask everyone to maintain a formal atmosphere and for everyone to behave politely and not to become agitated or aggressive. Similarly, no one should feel scared or threatened.
When the Addict / Alcoholic arrives, the leading family member speaks calmly and says “We are all here because we love you and are concerned about you.”We don’t need to use the words addict or alcoholic, but every sentence should begin with the words ”I” or “We”, and avoid using “You”. For instance, “I am upset about how you are drinking and upsetting the children” or “We are here to help you to overcome your addiction challenge.”
The Sober Interventionist will introduce themselves and ask the Addict / alcoholic whether they believe they have a problem and need help first of all. This could be over very quickly and often they do accept the help at this stage as they look at the faces gathered in the room.If he or she denies a problem then we proceed to go around the room (in the pre-agreed order) as each person reads out their letter.Allow the Addict / Alcoholic to answer each person’s letter but don’t agree with them. Avoid accusations or anger and simply move to the next person in the circle.
At the end of each persons letter remind the addict / alcoholic that you love him or her, and that you don’t want them to destroy their life.
The Sober Interventionist will be continually assessing the situation and will not accept it when the addict / alcoholic tries to say that they will seek treatment “later.” This is not acceptable. This meeting is an ultimatum, and we must be prepared to overcome every objection as they arise.It will be difficult, but the Sober Interventionist will help the Addict / Alcoholic deal with whatever anger, denial or resistance comes up.We don’t want the Addict / Alcoholic to feel as if everyone has ganged up on them, but we must be united and strong to succeed and we must not cave in to their illness.
In most cases, the Addict / Alcoholic will agree to go to treatment as per our agreed plan. In the rare occasions that they doesn’t happen immediately then that doesn’t mean we’ve failed, but will mean that our efforts will start a chain reaction of events that will ultimately lead them to change their mind once the boundaries are enabled.In addition, you’ve made it known that you will no longer enable his or her behaviour and that their addiction, however they consider it is approaching the end of it’s life cycle – the game is up.Life will never be the same for the Addict / Alcoholic, whatever happens next. They’ll know that in order to maintain the balance and unity of the family structure that they’ll need to address their addiction, and they’ll always be thinking about it, until they do decide to accept the help we’ve been offering them

Reasons for a Sober Intervention

If you're not sure whether a Sober Intervention is the right thing to do for your loved one, Read our page on reasons for a Sober Intervention.

Sober Intervention FAQ

Have some questions about our Sober Interventions?

Testimonials


"My daughter is an alcoholic and was on a downhill spiral. She had been in rehabs before but was unwilling to undergo further rehab treatment. I was deeply concerned about the traditional concept that the alcoholic has to reach 'rock bottom' before any meaningful treatment would work. This gambles that in the interim the alcoholic won't die, cause irreversible damage to their body/mind and jeopardise their future by possibly having a criminal record, debts, losing their home etc.

Sober Services offered a different approach of 'intervention' before the alcoholic descends into the possible terrifying consequences mentioned above. The intervention process, which is explained in the Sober Services programme, whilst being very stressful for myself and my family, was effective in that despite my daughter's initial strong resistance to further detox and rehab she ended up undergoing detox in the UK and rehab in South Africa.

Ian Young and his team at Sober Services were extremely helpful in:-
(1) the lead up to the actual intervention process
(2) participating in the intervention meeting with my daughter and family members
(3) choosing the right rehab as Ian has extensive knowledge of various rehab possibilities both domestically in the UK and abroad.
(4) putting together a programme to cover the post rehab situation for my daughter.

Throughout the process Ian was always contactable which was hugely important to myself and he gave advice to family members on the actions they needed to take as part of the intervention.

I appreciate there are no absolute guarantees that my daughter will remain alcohol free forever but I felt the intervention process at least offers her a good chance of living rather than the highly probable dire consequences of the 'rock bottom' approach."

B.D.

"Dear Ian,

It was around this time last year I contacted you and asked for your help providing an intervention to help me, my family, and most importantly my brother.
You found us all in a very dark place. My family was torn apart and ruined. We struggled to see a light at the end of the tunnel, and all felt truly lost. After battling with my brothers addiction for nearly 10 years, after trying every avenue and failing time and time again, we had hit rock bottom, desperate to help him but finally accepting defeat.

But now after your successful Sober Intervention and residential rehab recommendation we are approaching my brothers one year anniversary.
One year of being clean and sober!
This is a sentence I cannot stop repeating to myself.
For each time I do, am left feeling astonishingly proud of my brother.
Proud of his achievement, who he has become and the path he is creating for himself.
This was something I not only thought was impossible, but has now created the foundation of my new relationship with him.

Ian, thank you for everything you have done for all of us.
We are a completely different family now, a happy one.

Thank you for giving me my brother back.

x"

Miss R. F.

"“To any family feeling helpless, frustrated and like there is no way forward to help your alcoholic loved one, please phone Sober Services now.
There is a way forward. I phoned to learn about the Intervention – a word that conjured up terrible images.
It was an emotionally fraught time.

After just one phone call I had clicked with Ian (who took the call), been reassured about the Sober Intervention service on offer and, most importantly, been convinced that finally, finally, somebody understood our situation and had a clear way forward for us to help our Dad.

During the emotional rollercoaster week after that first phone call, knowing Sober Services were on hand, on our side and committed to working with us was like being wrapped in a security blanket. Suddenly, there was someone, a professional, available 24/7 to answer all our questions and provide both emotional and practical support.

If you have a loved one who is an alcoholic (drinking, recovering or any stage in between) and you need help, phone Sober Services.
It will be the single best thing you have ever done for yourself and your loved alcoholic.”"

A. Whitaker

"We have been using sober services virtually since there inception in 2008. We have no hesitation in recommending their services to all those who think they may need them.

Our experience in working with them is first class, and so is their service concept and attitude.

We believe Sober Services are an intrinsic part of our success. Their ability to respond almost instantly is something we have not experienced before, and becomes a valuable resource when dealing with clients’ during a time of personal crisis.

We are proud to offer Sober Services as part of our structure."

Michael Garnham

Treatment Director - One40 Group

"To any family feeling helpless, frustrated and like there is no way forward to help your alcoholic loved one, please phone Sober Services now. There is a way forward.I phoned to learn about Intervention – a word that conjured up terrible images. It was an emotionally fraught time. After just one phone call I had clicked with the person who took the call, been reassured about the Intervention service on offer and, most importantly, been convinced that finally, finally, somebody understood our situation and had a clear way forward for us to help our Dad.
During the emotional rollercoaster week after that first phone call, knowing Sober Services were on hand, on our side and committed to working with us was like being wrapped in a security blanket. Suddenly, there was someone, a professional, available 24/7 to answer all our questions and provide both emotional and practical support.

If you have a loved one who is an alcoholic (drinking, recovering or any stage in between) and you need help, phone Sober Services. It will be the single best thing you have ever done for yourself and your loved alcoholic."

A. Whittaker