Questions We Hear All the Time:Intervention Specialist, Ed Storti, has compiled a list of questions and answers asked by people learning about interventions. This list may answer most of your basic questions.
No. You can wait and let the diseases of addiction “intervene” by itself. This intervention comes in the form of arrests or medical crises: someone winds up in jail or the body gives out. Premature death can occur. Other less shocking but still deeply tragic results may also await you and your loved one. When the illness takes its own course, excruciating loneliness and alienation occurs. Socially, friends and family withdraw from the patient, or the patient isolates him or herself. As the pain intensifies, it becomes intolerable—the patient “bottoms out.” The problem with this approach is that the insupportable lifestyle (“insane” at its core) continues even after bottoming out. This is not to say that bottoming out always leads to disaster. Sometimes, the reality of the addiction can settle in on the patient and they seek help. Nevertheless, even in these successful situations, the patient is not the only person affected by the disease. You are affected, too. The patient may take several years to bottom out—but maybe you cannot tolerate your present situation that long. Instead, you will get tired and frustrated. You will suffer until the situation is intolerable, even though you are not the addicted person. None of this bottoming out is necessary. The Storti Model was founded on the principle that you don’t have to wait any longer.
I have always believed that most quality centers will not fail you, but the patient can fail them. Sometimes, the patient will not do what they need to do to stay physically and psychologically healthy. Defiance is an issue in all addictions. The treatment centers do have the methods that can keep the addiction in physical remission and to temper the mindset of the addicted patient. The hope for the patient is that they will take responsibility for their recovery. This is not easy. Will the patient stop sabotaging their success? Will they adhere to abstention? Will they accept treatment recommendations? Will they discover and manage the triggers that continue their abuse of self?
No. Treatment centers want to first stabilize the patient physically and psychologically and then give them a choice for their future. Once in treatment, a transformation can in fact occur in the patient. They can acquire a desire and practical motivation to learn more about their addiction. They can become more honest about their part in it. Ultimately, the bulk of the patient’s work will take place in continuing care once they have stabilized and been given direction and recommendations.
We believe that 85% of people with addictive diseases never ask for help. The remaining approximately 15% respond to their pain or their crisis by getting help on their own. Help can come from anonymous groups (AA, NA, and so on), therapists, physicians—some addicts have even been successful by getting clean themselves. Since addictions shorten lives and bring misery to all involved, most people with addictions lead a life of practical or clinical insanity. They die too young. The reason is that the patient, in his illness, has developed stubbornness, numbness, or a threshold for pain that keeps him/her in a state of self-abuse (sometimes we say quiet desperation). The intervention process, in the vast majority of cases, alters the destiny of the disease. It lengthens lives and provides an alternative to abuse and insanity. Intervention is a proven alternative to bottoming out.
In the Storti Model the power of the intervention rests in its appeal to the heart of the patient—not the mind. The intervention communicates kindness and respect. Its purpose is not primarily to give the patient information or to get the patient to fully admit to the extent of the disease. The simpler and more powerful goal of motivating the patient to accept the solution as a gift is the Model’s aim.
Yes. Any competent specialist will go over your personal risks involved in an intervention. That is why an assessment is needed—it deciphers what risks may be present and gives the interventionist a chance to outline ways of dealing with difficult scenarios that may occur during the intervention or even afterwards.
Yes. Each intervention specialist has accepted a certain school theory of intervention. Each also brings his or her personality to the process. It’s wise to call a few intervention specialists. Ask for an assessment with them to make sure you’re comfortable with all aspects of the intervention model and specialist. You can ask for recommendations from treatment centers or families who have experienced interventions in the past.
The Storti intervention specialist is a major contributor in the meeting and gives positive motivational energy to the group and to the patient. This differs from some other models where the interventionist takes a background or educators role. The specialist directs and facilitates a motivational enhancement process under the Storti Model. The procedure is motivational, not clinical. It elaborates on the patient’s positive character traits. It does not dwell on the negative examples from the patient’s history. Even when specific information about the patient’s behavior is used in the intervention, the interventionist and the group put it in a positive content. It is not leverage based. This means that you don’t convey harsh consequences to the patient. The intervention provides instead a gift of life--a rebirth. Under the Storti Model, the intervention is presented with dignity and respect. The procedure is accelerated in time. The timetable from assessment to preparation to intervention is as rapid as possible. This assures greater participation by friends and loved ones. The intervention procedure is personalized for your family and friends. The Storti Model is adapted and modified to your case, so it can be brought to the patient in the most acceptable and receivable way—we look for ways of presenting to the patient that they will respond to. The patient’s response is typically more positive because the patient’s family and friends play a role in finding a sensitive way in presenting the issue.
No. I admit and regularly work with many treatment centers around the United States. I use a range of centers because it’s important to match the treatment modality to the patient’s requirements (physical or psychological needs and locale and budgetary factors).
Always the chief criterion is the degree of trust the family feels towards the participant. Will the addicted participant tell the patient of the impending intervention? With trust and a contributing spirit in place, yes, often an addicted person can participate in an intervention on the patient.
If Some Participants Are Not Sure They Will Attend the Intervention, Can They Attend the Preparation?
Yes. Normally, the preparation (usually the afternoon before the intervention) helps to unite the group, to create a cohesive team. There should be no unrest in the group. It should feel positive, even excited about going forward with the intervention. After the preparation, it is decided whether all participants want to attend the intervention. Most do, but sometimes someone declines. Those who decline can always write a letter of encouragement for presentation.
The assessment helps to determine the appropriateness of intervening on someone known to erupt in anger in emotional situations, who is dangerous, or who is unstable. Typically having the right people present can defuse this behavior. Not all patients can be intervened upon. The only way to determine the appropriateness of intervention is to discuss risk factors during the assessment.
Yes. It is important that the person read some material of mine, which I will have given to the contact person. The person must also understand/agree to the philosophy of the Storti Model. The bulk of the group must be prepared. Intervention under the Storti Model relies on the chemistry that comes from a prepared group.
Less time than you might think—typically less than an hour. The group is prepared to present for two to three hours if necessary. More time is spent in assessment. On rare occasions (no more than 1 to 2 percent), interventions end prematurely due to inappropriate or abusive behavior by the patient. This will be discussed with you during the assessment.
Yes. I have intervened on two people at once or two people separately in the same day, admitting them to different facilities. It takes a special effort by the group and the intervention specialist, but it can be done.
Yes. I find that intervention in the home is comfortable for the patient. It also is comfortable for the family. On the other hand, there are issues to consider before choosing the home. For example, you may not know the patient’s schedule to be sure they would be home; you may not know who might be with the patient that day in the home or there may be weapons in the home. These details will be worked out during the assessment and preparation.
It is difficult enough to motivate patients to get help. To present that they will need a deposit--is a major endeavor. Usually, I recommend that there be a guarantor of the account. This helps the patient stay focused on admission and treatment.
It is best to reserve a facility and have a family member take a tour. This research is important and should be presented to the patient as the best place for his/her personality, addiction and family involvement.
Yes, in some cases. Children younger than ten years old are not usually appropriate at an intervention. If the contribution of a young child would help, audio or video tape can be prepared for presentation during the intervention or cards written with love, can be given to the patient and read aloud.