Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why a Professional Interventionist

The last day I drank, I begged God that if He could take away this self-centered self-destruction, I would do whatever I was asked to do.  Doing interventions and helping others get clean and sober seems to be what I am destined to do...because I am damn good at it.  So far, I have not lost one yet.

I believe that anyone can beat his or her addiction with the right treatment and the right attitude. Most people suffering from addiction want to change; they simply cannot imagine the way out.  For most of us, our addictions worked in the beginning.  We really, really liked our addicted life – even when little things began to go wrong.  Our addiction was the one thing we could always count on.  We need 5 things to change – A wake up call, a willingness to change, hope that change is possible and good, something to take charge of, and permission to dream again. A good intervention shows the addicted loved one that his or her lives are in crisis and their current lifestyle is unsustainable, that the problems they have are solvable, that we know a way out that they are going to like, and that life can be truly wonderful again – an absolute adventure!!!

Why do I 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 called a disease of deception for the very reason that the disease dictates the terms of disclosure and behavior.  Many times it takes a professional to break through the denial and delusion.
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.
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

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