Thursday, October 8, 2009

Both Sides of the Fence

Being a member of a team of interventionists and professionals in the field of drug and alcohol abuse; specifically providing intervention and recovery services, there is rarely anything as heartbreaking as watching an intervention fall apart.

We have seen interventions that went as smoothly as anyone could have dreamed, and we’ve seen interventions that were reminiscent of an episode of “Cops.” In the intervention field of work, we have seen both types succeed with great results.

Unfortunately, there are those cases where the alcoholic or addict is reaching out for help, begging to be “saved” and more than willing to go to treatment, when something happens to throw a wrench in the process. Sometimes the family is that wrench.

Day after day, my team and I at Intervention 911 does what we do best: we work with families in crisis that need the professional guidance to break the unhealthy cycle of addiction and move the situation into a state of positive change. We come armed with knowledge, experience and credentials galore. More importantly, we come with compassion, a listening ear and a heart for recovery.

From my own experience, being part of an intervention as a family member is an extremely scary and difficult thing. We know we need a professional’s guidance, we know we should trust their direction and yet, when the rubber meets the road, we are the only ones that can make that life-saving decision to hold firm to the healthy boundaries we know are right. This is the most critical time in an intervention. I can’t tell you it is comfortable or pleasant because it isn’t.

What I can tell you is that the level of discomfort is nothing compared to the remorse and guilt felt after an unsuccessful intervention, knowing that I contributed to the sickness of a loved one by not taking a stand for their wellness.

This is my story entirely. I was on board to get my loved one help, I headed up the organization of the intervention and kept everything on my family’s end moving in the right direction. I was excited to know that I had someone I could trust coming in to guide my family through this effective, yet fear-ridden process. I wrote a letter filled with love and healthy boundaries to present at the intervention and hoped that the rest of the family believed in this process as much as I did.

However, when the time came to present my healthy boundaries to my loved one and execute on those consequences, I just couldn’t do it. I pulled back, took the control away from the Interventionist and even though “my way” hadn’t worked at all thus far, decided that “my way” would work better than the tried and true process we were supposed to be engaging in.

Let me tell you how my story ended: my loved one didn’t get help that day, my family was more fractured than ever before, and had I found a rock large enough to accommodate myself and my shame, I would’ve been more than happy to crawl under it and never come out. To this day, if I could do it again, I would do it differently. I would step back, listen to the guidance I was being given no matter how difficult it would be, and trust the process.

As a family member who has been through the intervention process, I now see that even if I had to stand by my boundaries and endure a measure of pain in doing so, it couldn’t have been any more painful that the life I was living watching my loved one die.

The problem is that because addiction is progressive and is a family disease, over time the family becomes accustomed to the pain, we lower our expectations for happiness and gear up for survival mode. We try to arrange every piece of the puzzle to just keep the peace in the family. In doing so, we not only lose ourselves but we continue to enable the addict to live in the sickness. Not only that, we stay in the sickness with them.

When an intervention takes place, one way or another, there will be a life altering change. If the family engages properly, takes direction from the professionals, that change can be positive. It may not look like the picture we had in our head, it may not “feel good” immediately, but change will happen. Either our loved one will chose to get well or we have the privilege of not having to stay sick any longer. In most cases, we get both.

As a member of the Intervention 911 team, I know that intervention’s work, but as with anything, an intervention has got to be a united endeavor. The family needs us, but we need the family too. We need the family to stick to their commitment to bring about change, no matter how hard the initial discomfort feels. We need the family to trust our experience and motives.

Most of all, we need the family to let us guide them through this process with love and compassion. If the family can do that, the result will be good. Nothing changes until something changes. Together, the Intervention911 team and the family reaching out for support can bring about miracles.

We have seen lives change, children grow up with sober parents, marriages saved and relationships healed. Trust. Strength. Unity. These are necessary ingredients to a successful intervention. If you trust us, we can offer you the strength you need by working with you and for you to stop the sickness and support the wellness of not just the addict, but the family as a whole. / PH# 866-888-4911

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