Why do we need a professional interventionist?
If your loved one is caught up in a destructive behavior, such as addiction to drugs or alcohol, gambling, internet addiction or an eating disorder, these destructive behaviors will not improve by ignoring the problem and hoping it gets better, or by covering up or by shielding the loved one from the consequences of their actions. In virtually all cases, by the time you realize there is a problem, the behavior has been going on for much longer than you think and is always much worse than you think. Moreover, when an individual is caught up in addictive behavior, the very nature of the addiction is to lie, to deny, minimize and hide it. Addiction is often caused a disease of deception for the very reason that the disease dictates the terms of disclosure and behavior.
But why do I need a professional interventionist?
1. The Professional speaks the language of addiction, the language of normal people, and the language of recovery. Often the Professional Interventionist serves as an interpreter. The Interventionist is usually, or is best when, he or she is a recovering addict or alcoholic and understands the language of addictive thinking. Examples of addictive thinking include statements such as “I have been lying to many people about my drinking, but if I go to treatment to get help when I am really not an alcoholic, that would really make me a liar and I need to be honest now” or “Why should I make any changes? I am not the one with the problem; they are. When others make the appropriate changes, I won’t need to drink or use any other drug.” Often the family gets so frustrated at the addict or alcoholic that they either explode in rage or give up – the professional understands what the addictive thought process is and can communicate it to both parties.
2. The family is susceptible to emotional blackmail. Often the addict or alcoholic is highly manipulative and can often make the family members feel guilty for some imaginary or real excuse for their behavior, often blaming the family for some wrong that causes the loved one to drink or drug. Many times the manipulations are subtle and easily effective when the family is sued to it and the family patterns.
3. The family has often been enabling the addict or alcoholic and cannot change their own behavior to see what the right solutions are. Addiction is a family disease and everyone’s perceptions are altered by the drugs or alcohol. The fact is that everyone is sick and everyone suffers from the addiction. The addict or alcoholic simply has the closest relationship to the substance. The Professional Interventionist can see in which ways the family enables the loved one and in which ways the loved one is manipulating the family.
4. The family lacks credibility because they have not been through treatment themselves. Often no immediate family member is in recovery or gone to treatment. Frequently, the addict or alcoholic will deflect criticism and attacks by family members by telling them that they know nothing about addiction so why should he or she listen to anything the family says. Contrarily, the addict or alcoholic will accuse other family members of having a substance abuse problem or other problem worse than he or she has. The addict or alcoholic will also accuse others “You take pills” or “You drink more than I smoke daily!” The Professional can accurately defend the family and return the emphasis on the loved one.
5. The main reason that the loved one does not want to get help or go to treatment is because he or she is afraid of the unknown – of what will happen. The Professional Interventionist knows what is going to happen in treatment and what recovery is like. The Professional Interventionist has often been there – many of us, like me, were intervened upon ourselves.
What does the Professional Interventionist do?
1. The Professional Interventionist should be trained and Board Certified with the Association of Professional Interventionists, with a BRI-I or a BRI-II. The Interventionist should be knowledgeable in addiction and intervention techniques. The Professional Interventionist is the source of knowledge on the problem and where to go for the solution.
2. The Professional Interventionist will understand what is motivating the loved one to stay in his or her destructive behavior patterns and where to turn for the right solutions and resources to address the various issues from which the loved one is suffering.
3. The Professional Interventionist will apply emotional pressure when needed and relieve the pressure when necessary.
4. The Professional Interventionist will cut through addictive thinking and behaviors and enabling thinking and behaviors to bring everyone to focus on the real problem.
5. The Professional Interventionist will alleviate the fears of the family and the addicted loved one.
6. The Professional Interventionist will provide information and knowledge on the disease concept, the co-occurring disorders, and the solutions available.
7. The Professional Interventionist will keep everyone calm when family members start to get elevated or overly emotional.
8. The Professional Interventionist will seek to provide a safe and secure setting and environment for everyone concerned.
9. The Professional Interventionist will coordinate various forms of care, including detox, medical care, psychological care, addiction services and special needs care for the loved one.
10. The Professional Interventionist can successfully transport the loved one through the fears and apprehensions and bring the loved one to treatment while helping the family members with their issues.
11. The Professional Interventionist can start the family on their own process of healing and recovery - understand their part and develop tools to deal with the alcoholics or addict.