Heart to Heart: The Honorable Approach to Motivational Intervention is primarily a cookbook for those who desire a thorough understanding of my intervention process. The book describes intervention as a tool to help the lay public, paraprofessionals, and established professionals. It is a quick read, intended to acquaint the reader to my method of intervention. It’s sort of a bird’s-eye view of the Storti Intervention process. -Ed Storti
There are four basic reasons why proposing certain consequences should be given very careful consideration. One of these is the time element. People will wait, sometimes for years, before feeling ready to put their marriage or other relationship on the line. They do not need to wait and suffer for all that time. I have had people inquire about an intervention on their spouse, and when I explain how gentle the process is handled, they say, “You mean I don’t have to be ready to divorce him? Why did I wait fifteen years to call you?” At some point someone told them they needed strong leverage, or had to wait until the person bottomed out. Neither is true. It is a shame that common misconceptions cause so many people to live in such pain in and around addiction. If you get nothing else out of this book, it is paramount to remember: Consider motivational intervention, either now or later. You may find that it may not even be right in your situation, but you owe it to yourself to consider the possibility. In all cases, talk to a few intervention specialists. Get different opinions.
A second aspect of consequences that needs to be weighed carefully is the dichotomy between love and leverage. Punishment often leads to negative feelings. It does not make sense to say, “We love you, but if you don’t get help, we are going to do such-and-such.” (Employers and teens are exceptions; sometimes this approach may be appropriate for them presented with respect and dignity.)
Also, if you threaten certain consequences, you must be prepared to carry them out. Otherwise, you lose all credibility with the addict and you defeat the plans you made for yourself. Pride and leverage are not compatible, and by using leverage you confront the addict’s pride.
Third, you must keep in mind the reality of delayed reactions. Part of the purpose of the intervention is to “plant the seed” that there is hope of a better way to live than in the vicious cycles of addiction. There is hope. The reality of the delayed reaction is that even without saying a word, when the intervention stage is set, the seed is planted and you must allow time for it to take root. Think of it as if a loved one has just had surgery. The doctor comes out of the surgery room and tells you the patient is in recovery, the surgery went well, but we will just have to be patient and let the loved one accept the surgical repair. In one case I worked on, six of us had met at a hotel in Colorado where the addict was expected to arrive for a business conference. He never showed. Someone had tipped him off about the intervention, and he opted to leave the state. Was the intervention a failure? No. With only the thought of it, the seed was planted. Thirteen months later, the man checked himself into the treatment center we had planned to offer that day.