The holiday season is especially difficult for those dealing with addiction in their lives. To choose to enter treatment yourself or to talk a loved one into rehab during the holiday season is always more of a dilemma than any other time of the year. The holiday season is full of family traditions and making new memories to have for future holidays. It’s a time to enjoy the company of family and friends accompanied by the spirit of giving again more than any other time of the year. Now consider the thought of not having a particular loved one there as they always have been for that special day or week. That person whether it’s you or any other loved one will be missed and things won’t be the same without them. Also, that person will be away from their family and friends won’t be able to enjoy those traditions and new memories being made for the future. Yes, being in rehab during the holiday season can be very difficult for everyone.
With addiction, almost everything to the addict’s environment can be a stimulator or trigger to drink alcohol or use drugs. Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years or Kwanzaa, it is a very emotional and stimulating time of year and most addicts don’t fare well during this time. It’s a time of “celebration” and a perfect excuse to forgive oneself or others for their “shortcomings”.
“Let’s just get through the holidays” is a common statement we often hear in the recovery field. There is no perfect time to get help. There will always be important reasons not to if you look for them. But when it’s needed it’s needed. Don’t let the holiday season be a reason to wait to help someone you love, including yourself.
Our busiest time (and usually overwhelming time) is right before or right after Christmas or New Years. Why? Because those who call for help before the holidays are usually remembering last year and how badly it went because of the addiction. Those who “wait until the holidays are over” are usually the ones who tell us their holidays were ruined by the addict or alcoholic and they shouldn’t have waited. Common stories we hear:
It’s human nature to want to be around our loved ones during the holidays and also human nature to forgive and hope for better beginnings because of that holiday spirit. Unfortunately addiction takes no days off, especially Christmastime and other festive family holidays. It is simply the worst time to apply that holiday spirit when dealing with an addict or alcoholic.
In my 18 years of sobriety and active service to recovery I have never encountered a treatment facility that didn’t handle the time of year correctly. It is already a tough enough time for those working inside the walls of drug and alcohol rehab keeping everyone focused on their daily tasks and counseling the clients through the tough times of being homesick and missing family. In addition to the already difficult chore of keeping sanity, most treatment facilities do a nice job of decorating and even buying gifts for their clients to make it through the days still on task. The bottom line for rehab staff is to rehabilitate their clients and give them clear vision to make better living decisions in the future. Those decisions start in rehab and the holiday season is actually a great test for those attending a program. What addicts need more than anything is to know that they can get through tough and challenging times and remain sober doing so. Keep in mind that the staff working in such a facility has their own families and they all understand what you or your loved one will go through while being away.
In my time of working in rehab, I always tried to keep my staff more aware of the time of year and the experiences they had as ex-addicts and how stimulating it was for all of us too. When it came to Christmas, the build up prior to the actual day was tough but when the actual day came and went, things went much easier. Before we knew it, it was all over and we could get back to the business at hand of recovery.
I as a survivor who lived through many years of addiction I know what it’s like to be in rehab during the holiday season. It was extremely difficult to think that my family was doing all of the usual holiday activities together, smiling and carrying on……without me. As an addict in recovery, all I could think of was myself. It wasn’t really my family I missed. Of course I felt guilty because I disappointed my family on such a spiritual time of year but my thoughts were more about me and what I was missing. And I guarantee that in the early stages of my recovery, if I weren’t in rehab I would have been on the streets putting myself in danger like I always did up to that point. As an interventionist I hear all of the excuses and pleads and promises of a nice holiday together if they can get one more chance. Don’t fall for it, even if it’s you talking to yourself. When it’s time, it’s time. Get help and get it now. Too many parents have had to bury their kids because they waited for that one special holiday with hopes that things will get better if given one more chance. Don’t wait for the holidays to be over to do the right thing. Addiction is fatal in many cases and waiting to get help simply does not make sense when one sees the big picture.
Call us now for a confidential consultation at (844) 688-8555
So why do addicts avoid treatment? It is fairly easy to come up with one’s own idea why but if you break it down and really look at the addict’s life, it gets more interesting. Depending on what stage or how far along the addiction is, there will be specific reasons why an addict or alcoholic just refuses to get help. They’re sick and they know they need to change and get help but what keeps them from taking that step? Why avoid treatment when it’s the most obvious choice to everyone else looking in? There are some major factors regarding these questions:
Most chemical addictions are physically addictive and the mere thought of going through a physical withdrawal is a no-no. The withdrawal symptoms are more than what an addict can mentally bear to confront. Opiates like heroin, methadone, vicodin, percocet, and oxycodone are all in this category where the physical withdrawal brings about a seemingly endless array of flu-like symptoms with an overwhelming craving for the opiate and only the opiate to handle the pain. Alcohol falls right in line with this as well as benzodiazepines like Xanax, Lorazepam, and Klonopin, except that these two bring about another scare that the person could very well have a seizure and literally die from the withdrawal. Other addictive drugs like methamphetamines and cocaine won’t typically cause life endangering effects from withdrawal but the mental aspect is too very overwhelming to the adduct. The simple thought of not having the drug anymore is enough to precipitate heavy anxiety and irrational high risk behavior to re-establish the high again.
The simple fact is that drugs and alcohol feel better than good. That’s why people continue to use them despite the side effects of ingesting them. They all have some kind of unfavorable side effect (lethargy, vomiting, bad taste, burning, anxiety etc) to tolerate and become immune to but once past that hurdle, the dependence starts and then the full blown addiction.
When you have a bad day of work, smoke a joint on the way home or have a few beers. Fight with the girlfriend, go out and do some coke or pop some pills with friends. Chemicals become the go to when things get stressful and they make a person feel better. Also the person doesn’t have to deal with anything when high. Addiction progresses and the stressers become more and more so the intake of drugs and alcohol follow suit. Alcohol and drugs become a problem when a person uses them beyond the point of recreationally. In the end they become what many recovering addicts call their “best friend” or “only friend”. Now someone suggests that they stop using and go to rehab? Not likely to happen in the latter stages of addiction. The only thing that makes the addict feel better is the drugs and/or alcohol.
Most folks addicted to drugs or alcohol either have had their own experiences of trying to get clean in some sort of treatment setting or they at least know someone who has. Considering the company that that an addict will keep in his or her life, the references will not be good. The horror stories I hear as an interventionist of a “friend’s” experiences in rehab are something to write a book on. And 99% of those stories are false either embellished or simply lies to impress each other. Most addicts picture being in a hospital bed for a month in a hospital robe drugged out and shuffling back and forth to group therapy in a Cuckoo’s Nest atmosphere. This doesn’t sound fun to anybody. Then comes the person I’m intervening on who has never set foot in a real treatment facility with all these imagined fears of how horrible it will be. As an interventionist I bring pictures and solid information but more importantly I bring experience of having been there myself. I find that building trust with the struggling addict or alcoholic in front of me is key to developing a line of communication that they will listen to. Most are scared to death of what they are about to encounter because of other’s horror stories or something they have seen on TV when in reality, they are in for a very nice experience. There are too many great ones out there that well outnumber any that can be considered bad.
As much as any other reasoning, an addict will avoid treatment because life is under his or her control. Everyone close to him lives their lives to appease or comfort the addict. Nobody wants to make matters worse and upset the addict because he may hurt himself and we may be at fault for that if we push too hard. With depression and anxiety underlying in most cases, families and friends know this and don’t want to rock the boat. We simply leave them alone. Some parents give their kids money to go buy what they need for each day so they don’t go through withdrawal. Why? Because parents have become trained by the addict that something horrible will happen if they don’t. This system is one of many examples but the reality is, why would an addict or alcoholic leave this situation? One, it’s comfortable. The lights are on, there’s a bed to sleep in, food in the fridge, laundry gets done for them and essentially aside from a little argument here and there, everyone leaves them alone to do what? Drugs and alcohol! The system is also something that addicts don’t want exposed. Nobody outside the immediate family is welcome to realize its existence so the addict traps the closest loved ones with shame and embarrassment. If anyone outside the sphere saw it, they would blow the top off of it in a second. This is a huge reason addicts won’t just go to treatment; the fear of this system being exposed and destroyed. It really is unthinkable to the addict that reality will set in and life will have to change. After all, the system took a while to build. This is why interventions have drama. The system is being exposed and crushed right in front of their eyes. If you’re in the middle of one of these systems, step out for a minute and take a look inside if you can. You will see it’s very obvious and very destructive.
If you have someone in your life who needs treatment but just won’t commit, it may be time for an intervention. Give us a call and get a free and confidential consultation to see how we can help you. 8446888555
There comes a time in the life span of addiction when the addict’s family just can’t take anymore. The addict is in full denial and will not take the steps to get into rehab or do anything at all to quit using or drinking. Nothing anyone says or does makes any difference. Every day is the same routine and life continues to get progressively worse. What can a family do to change this broken record or loop they are all stuck in?
They can call a professional interventionist and have an addiction intervention done to save their loved one’s life.
A well trained addiction interventionist does many things but most importantly he brings hope and he makes things change dramatically for the better; for everyone! He brings a level of experience and understanding of each situation and simplifies everything into a workable and winnable solution. An addiction interventionist prepares the addict’s family for what will come during the intervention, what will be said and done by the addict and how to handle all of it safely and with love. He will address all concerns and worries but ultimately he will ensure the addict gets to treatment safely and willingly. The interventionist will control the entire process from start to finish meanwhile keeping everyone engaged and winning.
There are several types of interventions but the most utilized and popular is the Johnson Model. Others have been developed over the years but all are performed with the sole purpose of getting an addict or alcoholic to relinquish control and start to accept the love and help offered by loved ones. An addict usually has everyone close to him immersed in denial, confusion and total chaos so a well done intervention is handled by keeping things simple and not letting the addict take control. Instead an interventionist opens up and controls communication between all parties involved so that solutions can be made and the chaos can stop. It is the time that family finally gets their freedom back and the addict begins treatment and a new life ahead.
Remember an addict is scared to stop and change the course of his or her life. Addiction is insidious, destructive and deceitful to everyone, including and most especially the addict. It is a trap that progressively steals the spirit of a human being and replaces it with emptiness and fear. Addicts want to be helped but the fear of quitting and leaving their only perceived source of safety and comfort is too much to bear. An intervention is the bridge that reconnects the wayward addict to family, friends and most of all, hope of a better life.
How do we help someone after rehab? Well, when someone goes to rehab it means that life has become unmanageable to the point that they needed to get away from everything they know and receive help from professionals to gain control again. Praise anyone you know for having the guts to take that step. To stop everything in one’s life and to go somewhere new and unknown to face the biggest problem one has ever experienced, is deserving of serious applaud……..even if they were the recipient of an addiction intervention. Regardless of how that step took place, they wound up getting in a car or on a plane and checking themselves into treatment for their addiction(s).However, going away to an addiction treatment program is the first of many steps toward true recovery. It is vital that a recovering addict comes home after rehab to complete change and a blank slate to start over; as much as possible. At this point a person has been clean and sober for some time and has started living with healthy routines and boundaries. Rehab is the beginning stage of living life on it’s terms without relying on chemicals or unhealthy behaviors. Now the real work begins and the person has to take the tools learned in treatment and put them to use in his or her own life. So what are the options after rehab?
For those who have the option to prolong their time away and absorb as much sober time as possible, there are some options out there:
Some programs will offer internships to graduated clients to help others while remaining under the umbrella of care in a sober environment. This can be a wonderful and seamless next step for many who can afford to stay away from home longer. Education in the field of addiction is priceless in helping people but life experience can be as important or more. Most rehab facilities practice this because they understand the value of it. Many times addicts will not open up to therapists because there is no connection to them but throw someone in there who has lived the same exact lifestyle and now you have a connection. There are unlimited opportunities in this area as treatment programs want to employ ex-addicts and will often help with education and internal training.
Transitional Living is another productive and successful method of continuing one’s treatment. A person who has completed inpatient rehab can choose this option and still remain in a sober environment while getting on with their life. There is structure and rules and obviously the number one rule is to remain clean and to be responsible for more than just yourself. Finding work and staying productive while maintaining rehabilitation routines are mandatory. A person can use this option to utilize the tools learned in treatment and meanwhile start on the runway of life again with support systems in tact for when things get tough. Another great factor here is that most transitional living homes are affordable enough so that the recovering addict can pay his or her own way and not rely on family anymore.
Some people have too many responsibilities waiting for them at home to prolong their hiatus. Having a significant other and/or children or having to get back to a job that pays the bills to survive are examples here that would most likely dictate that the person must return home to handle matters after rehab treatment. It is critical to have a plan set up for this to because the person is running into a wall of reality and will need help to adjust. Here are some key points to add into that plan.
Addicts will hide anything that is incriminating to them and their addiction and often times right before leaving for rehab they will leave things behind so when they return they can pick up right where they left off. This would include drugs, alcohol, credit cards, money, paraphernalia, contact numbers, cell phones and possessions to sell later. Addicts also stash items so family won’t find out how bad the addiction really is. For families, it is important to look under, over, behind, and inside of anything you can think of, anything you can see and most of all, what you can’t see! Throw away anything that you can conceive of that will stimulate the person’s brain and remind them of that old lifestyle. Go online for questions or call a professional in the field of addiction if you’re not sure but when in doubt, remove it.
Cell phones are EVERYTHING to an addict, especially a drug addict. Change the number or discontinue the service of that phone and it’s contacts. You can call the rehab facility and have them talk to your loved one about this. You have to be somewhat considerate and try to give them the choice of removing negative contacts in their phone as they will most likely need a cell phone in the future for more positive contacts upcoming.
Most people have to work and it’s just a fact of life. Many programs will help their clients get lined up for work when they arrive home, as soon as possible. Families are advised here to contact your loved one’s main counselor and discuss this matter. Productivity is a must in recovery and getting right to work or back to work is imperative. The longer the person avoids getting productive, the less likely they will and the greater the chance for a relapse.
Addicts are notorious for talking a big game and selling to everyone how great things will be “when they return home”. Sometimes, the environment at home is way too stimulating to come right home to and relocation has to happen. Again, recovery os all about starting from as clean a slate as possible. New beginnings will bring new outcomes and successes versus old habits and behaviors starting up again.
There are so many support groups out there for any type of addiction there is. After rehab, along with finding work and maybe even more importantly would be to find support in one’s local area. There are always support groups nearby or even in your home town. Life will be trying and the person in recovery WILL think about using drugs, alcohol or going back to gambling or other addictive behaviors when they are stressed or bored. Many people come out of rehab thinking they need a break from the rigid schedule of rules and self-discipline that rehab required of them. And sometimes even families will think the same and want to give them a break or give them some time to decide what to do with themselves. THIS IS TOTALLY WRONG AND A GUARANTEE OF A RELAPSE! It is the time to stick with those rigid rules and make them even more rigid. Tighten up and find one’s purpose again! Find a mentor within your area who can be there for council and a kick in the butt when needed. Find a therapist to talk to and continue the therapy left off in rehab. Find a group of clean living people fighting the same battle and get involved with group activities. Success lies in these people and the positive they offer to the world and themselves.
Addiction consumes and steals everything it can; time, money, opportunities, jobs, relationships, love, etc. Now in recovery it is time to take full advantage of the freedom that is available. Time will be abundant and there will be money in one’s pocket. This can either be a blessing if handled with discipline or the start of a downfall if taken for granted. As a family, take the liberties where you have them and come up with healthy boundaries and rules for living. Financially there should be a budget with a savings plan with old debts being paid off. Time needs to be filled productively and aggressively, not lazily. Each day, especially in the first year of recovery should be full to where a person is happy to hit their head on the pillow at night and looking forward to the next day. If you are a respected person in someone’s life who is recovering, you have the leverage needed to be heard when you demand for a plan. You have to be the one(s) to do it. The closest people to an addict will be pivotal to his or her recovery and no matter how old the person is, they need to have someone to look up to and to have come down on them when they start to go awry. Addiction is often times one poor choice away from coming back full blown again don’t fear to be a disciplinarian when needed. They will thank you in the end as long as they stay on course. If you are being blamed for being too tough or not minding your business, you are probably looking at a relapse in the face but have your own council on this too. Co-dependency comes in as insidiously as addiction does. If something feels wrong, it’s wrong and it needs to be addressed right away.
For many reasons this should make sense. On a personal note as the writer of this piece, I’ll swear to this as the foundation to my success. Being involved with helping others keeps my focus on what is really important in life. There is always someone else in need of help or just our time. Volunteering our time to help others, brings about a very empowering and purposeful feeling and in turn can make someone else’s day that much better. As stated earlier, there are unlimited opportunities to work in the field of addiction and recovery if that is an option. The bottom line here is to overcome the selfish tendencies that addiction demands of an addict and to promote betterment in others as well as ourselves. The reward comes naturally and this no doubt aids in maintaining sobriety.
There are so many more ways to outline a successful path for a recovering addict but these outlined above will guarantee a healthy start of followed with truth and integrity.
The most common question we hear while preparing a family for their upcoming intervention is, “what if he refuses go treatment? Here are the facts; over 90% of those intervened on will go to treatment, typically on the same day. On a very rare occasion it may take another day or two depending on extreme circumstances. We pride ourselves in our work as do most all professionals working in addiction recovery. But let’s face it, an addict has the right to say no at any time and refuse treatment, but why do they statistically almost all go? Because addiction is miserable. That’s the truth. No matter how stimulating the high is or how physically or mentally hooked a person is to their addiction, everybody wants out and wants a normal life again. Bottom line is that it’s scary and it means that we have to see life as it is instead of the behind the protective shield of the chemical.
There should always be a plan of action prepared by your interventionist with the family and friends of the addict, one with back-up plans and contingencies for everything the addict will throw at you. Your interventionist knows addiction from both sides and can predict what will happen, therefore preparing the family and friends for how to respond or not to respond. Sometimes a person will refuse adamantly though, to the point where you just know he isn’t going to go anywhere. They are just trying every last manipulative tactic they know before giving in, hoping that if they yell loud enough or repeat it enough with conviction, those who enable him will give in.
But this time there is someone different in the room, the professional interventionist, along with all available family members and friends which takes away the ability to disperse or divide and conquer. There is a unified front to deal with now that poses a great disadvantage to the addict and his manipulation of that group of family and friends. An addict can run and hide but the dynamics of addiction and co-dependency dictate that there are certain rules in this game. Number one rule is that the addict needs his or her family, mostly the chief enabler. Your interventionist will work with those who have enabled the addict to strengthen them and weaken the addict’s manipulative tools.
Addicts under pressure can seem desperate and dangerous. They are merely rattled and scared, not typically dangerous to themselves or anyone else. Very rarely someone may take to desperate measures but more than 9 out of 10 will threaten everything including suicide to change the flow of the intervention but result in a predictable hollow scare tactic.
In my opinion, an addict saying “NO” to treatment is par for the course but not nearly a reason to change course or end an intervention, or not do one at all. An intervention continues until the addict enters treatment and the family and friends feel confident with their upcoming steps in their loved one’s recovery process. Again, most addicts don’t want to be addicts, even the ones who swear to you that they are happy with it. They’re not. Addicts want to be like everyone else and to shed the destructive and monotonous lifestyle of addiction. It’s just extremely scary to stop what has been a normal in one’s life and to go somewhere to change, somewhere different and new feeling vulnerable.
It is too easy for families and close friends to justify not doing an intervention for someone just because they fear they won’t go. Statistically they want to go but fear the unknown. Do your homework, find the right treatment center for your loved one and then arrange for an intervention to do it right. Please don’t let this be another worry and reason not to save someone’s life. We are here to help you now.
No matter which way you slice the pie, prisons do not perform well in rehabilitating offenders. Programs are frequently punitive, and according to a report in the Washington Post, about 66 percent of prisoners, within three years of their release, commit crimes again. In many instances, the new crime is more serious than the one that previously landed an offender in prison. This is especially bad news for people in prison on drug crimes. However, rehab should be an option for many prisoners. We published a post here http://delaware-valley.biz/drug-treatment/facing-drug-charges-rehab-is-an-option/ about this topic.
Before or during our family day meeting to prepare for the upcoming intervention, many people ask us,”If we intervene will he hate us for doing it?” “Will he never talk to us again?” This is a grave concern for most families, especially the chief enablers in those families because of the fear of losing their addict or alcoholic. When we love someone we love them unconditionally, no matter what their flaws or weaknesses may be. Addiction becomes the addict’s personality, how people see them and eventually it becomes accepted that the addiction is just part of how things will always be. So if we love that person we have to love everything about them as a whole, including the addiction, right? Over time we accept that the person is simply an addict and won’t ever change.
In all my years of treating clients and doing interventions I have personally seen roughly 1% actually hold it against their families for sending them to treatment. And if you’re an enabler and you’re reading this you are probably asking, “what if my child is part of that 1%?” What if, what if, what if……. Try to take a minute and stop asking the what ifs and speak with a addiction specialist or interventionist and really hear what they have to say. If you can do that you are more than half way there to saving your loved one’s life and eventually hearing “THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME WHEN I NEEDED YOU THE MOST”.
The thing to remember is that treatment isn’t what our minds can make it out to be. Treatment is rehabilitation, betterment and most times fun. It’s a place where people genuinely care for others as a profession and a lot of them who work in treatment facilities are recovering addicts and alcoholics themselves. The reason to intervene may seem logical but to put it bluntly, we are stopping the progression of destruction and bringing your loved one to safety and onto a clear path to recovery; a much better life! The odds are that if they are in treatment and learning coping skills and learning to love themselves again, they will love you that much more.
Fear can make us do the worst and most careless of things and in the case of addiction, fear prohibits us from change. Preservation of what we have and want to keep is normally the thought process here. We fear that our loved one will hate us or stop talking to us because we dare to stop the destruction and intervene. That destruction is real and many times kills people. It is true that we can love someone to death.
No matter what your fear of intervening is, anything is better than what is going on now. All it takes is one glimmer of hope in an addict to start with and the sky is the limit. They won’t hate you or stop talking to you. They will thank you when they are in a clear state of mind and loving life again.
If you would like to speak with one of our intervention specialists, we are available 24/7 at (844) 688-8555.
A common concern, and of course a very good one is “what if he or she hides or runs away from the intervention to avoid going to treatment. We know that by the time an interventionist has been called in to help a family, there have been at least a few attempts from that family or friends at getting them to stop using and to seek treatment. Running and hiding is a common way an addict will avoid the inevitable outcome of rehab. Usually when confronted, and addict will use a variety of manipulative tactics to push away anyone who presents getting sober including, anger, postponement, divide and conquer, pitting other family members at each other and of course running. Addicts are creative when quitting the drug is pushed upon them.
Intervention is all about preparation. We know that running and/or hiding is in the front of the addict’s mind when he or she is confronted. So we prepare for it. Every person’s situation, their environment, their demeanor and their response to pressure is particular to that person so we have to be prepared for the possibility that a person may try to run and hide. Truthfully, 90% of those being intervened on DO NOT run and hide. Most will stay to confront it, usually to deny the severity of the problem or to talk everyone out of it. Most addicts are curious and actually looking for a way out of the mess they created with their addiction. Most want to argue some at least but for the most part, they are looking to see what will happen next and usually underneath all of the denial they are relieved that you came to them with a solid plan that isn’t the monster they feared in their own minds.
I cant say that I’ve ever had a true “runner” in many hundreds of interventions over the years. They normally walk out if they leave at all and we are already positioned in the room to handle it with the right people in the right places, a person to go smoke with them, maybe a disabled vehicle, or their anticipated destination already prepared for their arrival, only to turn them back to their family and the intervention. Again, every person is unique and each will turn to their most convenient escape route when confronted but the one thing the addict never has is a plan. It’s always what we have because we prepare for what we know to expect and we always win.
As an alcohol and drug interventionist the most common question we’re asked is “What are you going to say to get him or her to go?” This is asked for two reasons, first because families and friends are, by this point, out of ideas. They’ve tried saying and doing everything to make their loved one stop using and choose treatment, but to no avail. The other reason is because they are looking for a “magic pill” of sorts, the one missing thing that someone experienced knows and will share with them, to make this problem finally go away. There is no magic pill. Addiction took a stretch of time to be created and definitely did not happen overnight. However, an intervention is the one way to make that addiction start to disintegrate almost immediately. There is something very extraordinary in organization and group/family unity led by an experienced drug intervention specialist. The mere presentation of this very thing says more to an addict than most understand until they witness it themselves. Since addiction thrives on separating and manipulating to survive, the powerful presence of group unity speaks volumes and therefore starts to crush the destructive behaviors mastered by an addict.
Going back to what to say or do to make them go; there are many things that will be said or done, or even not done to find the addict’s willingness to accept treatment. Underneath, most people stuck in addiction want help but cannot and will not let their guard down. Pride usually plays a huge roll here along with embarrassment and shame. After a while, the drinking and drugging feels like the only thing he or she is any good at anymore. All self-confidence is gone and the future is something that cannot be confronted. Therefore, speaking to the addicted is done with and premeditation and care for these exact feelings. Your interventionist will coach you and your family and friends on what to say and not to say and he or she will lead the intervention. He will inform and prepare you for the direction the intervention will take so that you can be a prepared participant and not a spectator. Your interventionist will learn from the family and friends, who the addicted loved one truly is, and who each of your support group is to them, so that the dynamics are understood and used to their greatest advantage and best outcome. Your interventionist has counseled thousands of addicts and alcoholics in his or her career and knows what to say and do in the stressful and tense setting of an intervention. Every addict needs to hear and see something particular to let their guard down and allow outside help in. Call us and find out how intervention can help someone you love. 856-981-5444
How does one determine what their rock bottom is? A few weeks ago I was preparing a family for an intervention for their addicted daughter and the mother asked me a very common question, if my family did an intervention to get me to accept treatment. I answered “yes” as was the case and she followed with the next question, “When was it that you hit rock bottom?”. I thought about it for a second, recalled the moment and answered her question honestly by saying “about a couple of weeks into my program”. She was clearly confused by my answer so I had to clarify my answer. In my mind, what I was answering was “When did I really realize that I was at rock bottom and then decide that I had to make changes?”. When did it really hit me? I remember the moment. I finally broke down and realized where I was and what I had amounted to. I heard and felt the extreme disgust and disappointment in the voices of my wife and parents on the phone. I had no friends left, no job and literally no possessions. That was the moment that I broke down and FELT THE BOTTOM. I was on my own and had to do something about it all. My back was finally against the wall and this time I had nothing clever to say or to do to get out of it.
Of course, that mother was asking this particular question because she was looking for hope that she was doing the right thing and that the intervention would help her daughter realize that she was at rock bottom and therefore be receptive to help, just like it happened for me. She was looking to validate the very difficult decision to intervene on her child and praying that she was doing the right thing. The guilt was overwhelming for her.
This mom like so many others could have intervened at least a year before she did and gotten her child help back then with just as much ease as we did a month ago. The signs were all there. The girl had been arrested, lost all of her good friends, acquired a new group of horrible and addicted “friends”, she was at risk of losing her job, you name it. Her life had been falling apart for a long while before this family finally decided to intervene. Her child was not only addicted to drugs; she was disconnected from her family and falling further away from the reality of life more and more every day into a black hole of hopelessness.
The problem was that they as a family tried everything they could think of to tackle the addiction but kept getting resistance. Resistance is typical and expected. To come out of addiction and face the world without drugs is a very scary thing for anyone in that position. So when the family tried everything, they started to give up and stood back to give her space to figure it out. Then they would press on her again without a plan of action just to press because the addiction was consuming their lives more and more. They became inpatient and angry with her and became desperate because nothing they tried had worked. Desperation brought more friction and less effective communication, thereby making matters worse. Finally someone at a treatment center recommended an intervention and the rest is history. She is actively doing her program and doing very well. And the communication with her family has improved tremendously. She has a long way to go to get it all right again, but she is more confident and much more able to do it now.
Rock bottom is all about perception. The addict doesn’t see rock bottom as the end. They see it as a new challenge that has to be overcome, just another crappy day falling apart as usual, just a little worse each day. The addict doesn’t see what you see on the outside looking in. You see life becoming more unmanageable and out of control by the second and somewhere in your gut, you know they need help. The problem lies in that perception because addicts are unbelievably and inevitably notorious for convincing others and themselves that everything is going to be ok. Everything is NOT OK! Most addicts are surviving at rock bottom much longer than families and friends are aware of. Most have a closet full of secrets that families have no clue about until they finally go to treatment and need help sorting it out. Things have been falling apart much longer than most people realize but with a timely smile, a few convincing words, maybe an angry outburst or defensive comment that you’re too close to a sore spot, the addict learns how to repel all signs of potential attempts to “help” them. So you leave them alone, dance around the subject and stop pushing the issue and pray for them to wake up and finally ask for that help you so desperately want to give them.
People in general have the perception that something will have to happen to make their loved ones wake up or hit bottom hard enough to wake up and accept help. The majority of families I meet have normally waited for heavy consequences to hit their loved ones before calling a professional interventionist and arranging treatment. Or things have fallen apart so badly that it now has to be the right time because nobody can take anymore of the destruction and everyone is ganging up on the enabler to do something about it.
To expect someone under the full influence and control of drugs and/or alcohol to make a logical life changing decision, no matter what the circumstances is a mistake. Waiting for someone to just wake up one day and dive into recovery is asking the impossible for most. They need you to stop the madness and make the choices for them until they can prove to do it themselves. This is addiction! With enough support and firm stances behind them, they will wake up and have their own rock bottom to start over from. Without it, day one of recovery may not ever happen. Recovery is much more possible than most people know or believe but it takes 100% commitment from the addicted one and the supporting family and friends. Rock bottom to me was a blessing and it allowed me to finally see reality. My intervention was what saved my life because it gave me the abilities I never would have had.