Everyone will be changed, however slightly, by participating in the intervention, particularly the addict. He will not be able to sustain his addiction with quite the same ease as before. The intervention shatters some illusions the addict may have about his anonymity, his power and even his worth (ego)—he cannot turn his back on that knowledge once it is declared publicly.
In my experience, there is no failed intervention. In those cases where the addict did not agree to go for treatment immediately, I have found that anywhere from twenty-four hours to a year and a half later, the message got through and they went to treatment themselves. The seed that had been planted took root. Be patient and remember: your decisions need not depend on whether the person goes to treatment.
Self-abuse is the fourth reason you must be very careful about waging consequences. Addicts are often addicted to self-abuse and self-imposed punishment, and they may even dare someone to present some leverage. It is as if he/she needs the possible pain to survive. In the Storti Model of Intervention, total withdrawal of the family from a loved one is rarely recommended. It is too unlikely withdrawal could be—or even should be—maintained. However, new or tighter boundaries are often recommended, for everyone’s health.
Whether any kind of leverage is used or not, everyone should remember the power words have—they can inspire and they can scar. We want to love them into treatment.