An Interventionist May Open the Door to Recovery
Often, the many families who pass through our doors have been so badly damaged by the destructive effects of addiction on their family that one has to wonder ‘how did things get so bad before the addicted individual agreed to accept help?’
Then, of course are the stories that we read every day about the tragic overdoses that are occurring as part of the ongoing opioid epidemic and it’s overwhelming to realize how many families will never get another chance to watch their loved ones start the road of recovery.
Here are two critical parts that play starring roles in these tragic scenarios:
1) Addiction is a Progressive Disease
You can’t tell by looking at someone if they have crossed the ‘invisible line’ from drug abuse to full blown addiction. The mental and physical dependence takes hold of the person’s life slowly, and consumes everything they care about and love, until all that is left is their drug of choice.
2) Addiction is a Family Disease
The family is often taken along for the ride and, like the proverbial “frog in boiling water,” bears witness to the deterioration of their loved one’s health, self esteem, legal standing, and entire family’s quality of life. What is surprising is the extent to which the support system will often participate in the denial and enable the person’s drug use.
Addiction is Less than Mysterious to an Interventionist
To those who are affected by an addicted loved one, the disease is shrouded in denial and learned behaviors. They have so gradually accepted the incremental advances of the addiction, they may be living in shocking circumstances, seemingly ‘helping their loved one kill themselves.’ To the interventionist, addiction is a fairly predictable phenomenon with every person playing one of a few “key roles” (the addict, the codependent enabler, etc).
Getting the help of an interventionist is akin to hiring a specialized technician to repair a piece of machinery (as opposed to trying to learn how to do it yourself). The interventionist will be trained to gauge the severity of the use, identify the roles various family members are playing, and create a game plan to get the person into treatment.
While planning and executing an intervention is not always successful, the intervention is a key step in the process of eventually getting the addicted person the help they need. The best thing a family can do in the case that their loved one does not agree to accept treatment at an intervention is to accept the guidance of the interventionist in creating and enforcing boundaries which will make the drug use much more difficult for the person to continue. Some of the steps may seems counterintuitive, like ‘kicking the person out of the house onto the street.’ However, we urge you to “trust the process” and follow through on the commitments you’ve made (and hold other family members to theirs).
Often the process can stretch into months and even years, but when the enabling that has allowed the addict to continue his or her use is interrupted, they will be all the more closer to the point of ‘surrender,’ when accepting help and a life in recovery is more desirable than continuing their destructive path.
Contact NorthStar for Help if Needed
Our treatment program in Boulder, Colorado specializes in creating an environment where newly recovered individuals thrive in sobriety. We have many addiction specialists on staff and can help you locate an interventionist in your area to get the help your loved one’s life may depend on. Call us today at (303)558-6400 to speak to an intake counselor and get a confidential and complimentary assessment of your loved one’s drug use and options for treatment.