Intervention Help for Families Ready to Confront Addiction

Karen Franklin of Family Intervention & Recovery Services

Riverbank House recently sat down with Karen.  We spoke about the help available to families through addiction intervention.

RBH: Many families don’t know about interventions or about working with a professional interventionist.  Why and when would a family want to speak with a professional?  And what does that relationship look like going forward?

KF:  It is common that those who struggle with addiction are in denial about their situation.  Thus, they are often unwilling to seek treatment. As shocking as it may seem, they may not recognize the negative effects their behavior has on themselves and others.

Intervention helps the person make the connection between their use of alcohol and drugs and the problems in their life. The goal of intervention is to present the alcohol or drug user with a structured opportunity to accept help and to make changes before things get even worse.

Our work with the family begins with the Intervention.

We provide case management, after-care planning and family support and consultation for up to one year after the Intervention. We walk along side our families and support them through the first year of recovery.

RBH:  Does an intervention ever “fail”?  And if it does fail, is the family now more faced with more hurt than before the intervention?  Is there a risk to intervention?

KF:  In my opinion, there are no failed interventions.  Our experience is that most people do accept help and go to treatment the day of the intervention.  However, there are those that refuse help on the day of the intervention.  The one thing we cannot control is that the addicted person has free will and choice.  Frequently, most who refuse end up accepting help usually within a short time if the family holds boundaries and no longer enables the addicted person.

Families Become Stronger

In our experience, families become more united in supporting the addicted individual in making healthy decisions.  When this change happens, families no longer support a loved one in making the unhealthy decisions. Families begin to understand how the addiction has taken over their lives.  When this understanding occurs, they begin to take their lives back and get their own help.   As Al-Anon literature states: “Changed Attitudes can Aid Recovery”

RBH:  When you make a recommendation to a family, what determines the fit between a client and a recovery program or rehab?

KF:  Family Intervention and Recovery Services does a full assessment with the client and family to determine treatment options.  We consider all factors in the case such as age, addiction or mental health history, co-occurring disorders, trauma, prior treatment experience, financial issues.  The factors help us determine the best course of treatment for each individual case.

The Importance of Long-term Recovery Support

For young adults, we strongly recommend long term options such as a recovery program like Riverbank House.  Those struggling with opioids also need a longer-term option to have enough time to stabilize in their recovery.  Those that have had multiple, unsuccessful rehab experiences and chronic relapse issues are those we also highly recommend for a longer-term recovery program.

Men who have struggled with addiction and have not been able to attain success with school or career are also excellent candidates for your program. Also, someone coming out of a primary treatment program would be a great candidate for Riverbank House as an extended care option.

I tell families that a 28-day or 30-day rehab experience does not offer a lasting solution.  Unfortunately, the expectation that a short-term stay is effective can set up a cycle of chronic relapse.  This cycle often involves visits to countless treatment centers.

Recovery is a journey and it takes time to get better.  A primary short-term rehab is just the beginning. They didn’t get sick overnight and they are not going to get better overnight either.  They need continued structure and support to succeed.

RBH:  Thank you Karen.  You’ve been a terrific friend to Riverbank House and we much appreciate your willingness to share your wisdom with us.

Karen is a native of New England, currently living in Phoenix, AZ.   She is a road warrior working with families nationwide in her Intervention Practice. 

Karen can be contacted at 602-690-8440 or via email at