The longer a family and substance abuser try to solve the problem on their own, the more complicated the situation becomes. Allowing addiction intervention professionals to help you reset expectations and take a different approach can help both the substance abuser and the family achieve healthy change.
Getting anyone into recovery is such a delicate process. Knowing how and when stage an intervention for a loved one is a key process in getting the necessary help required. Below is Felicia’s story of how her intervention set her on the path recovery
Felicia’s True Story
The first time Felicia drank she was 12 and on a camping trip with her friend when her friend shared alcohol with her. Felicia had seen her family members drink before and didn’t think it was that big of a deal. As she got older she started drinking more and more.
“Once I got into high school there were days I would go to school and I wouldn’t know where I parked my car when I got out,” Felicia said. She didn’t realize it then, but looking back she can see that it started getting bad when she began stealing and abusing her uncle’s painkillers and then going out to use Cocaine. “I was dabbling with Cocaine – I didn’t have a problem though; I was just doing what everyone else was doing.”
Her vehicle was eventually impounded when she let her dealer, who had several warrants drive it. She needed her parent’s help to get it out of the impound lot so she had to come clean to them about what she’s been doing. “I went to my parents and said, ‘hey I need help getting my car out so I’m going to tell you all of this stuff. It was completely manipulating the situation. That’s when I knew, I didn’t think I wanted to stop but even if I did want to stop, I knew I couldn’t”
Felicia ended up going into an Intensive Outpatient Program, which at first she thought was a great idea for her. She quickly realized that was not the case because when she would go home, she would find herself surrounded by the same people she had been when she was using. The temptation to use became too strong and she began to use again.
Wherever You Go, There You Are
Felicia and some friends thought it would be a good idea to steal $10,000 from a friend and go to Porto Rico to start new lives. When they got to the hotel, the manager wouldn’t let them check in. “We just got obnoxious and we were arrested.” After they were released Felicia went back to her parents’ house. The next day her parents woke her up and said her grandparents were there and wanted to talk to her.
“I walk downstairs and my entire family is all there with letters written to me explaining their concern and what they’ve seen over the past few years.” Felicia’s family was understanding of the fact that it wasn’t her that was doing all of these things, they knew it was because of her drug addiction. They told her that she needed to get help and her plan left in three hours.
She agreed to go, even though at first she didn’t take it that seriously. She was continually looking at the other people and comparing her disease to theirs. “Once I kind of leveled out, I started realizing that I can’t leave this place, I’m here for the long haul.” After this realization, she began to take treatment more seriously, she figured if she has to be there she might as well get something out of it.
“I was excited to get out of treatment, but also very scared. You’re no longer in a bubble, you’re no longer doing everything planned out day by day. You can make your own choices.” Felicia continued to go to meetings and got a sponsor to help her work her steps. She now has a strong home group and a service commitment. “I’m using the tools I learned in the treatment program.”
Like most people, she still struggles with the stress of paying bills, working and trying to go back to school. Those are all things that she never thought she would be able to do without using, yet she is and she’s clean while doing them.
“It’s reconditioning my brain to function a completely different way, I’m really big into meditation.” While she doesn’t see her family often she talks to them every day and they have built back a lot of the trust that was lost during her addiction. “If you want it to work, you have to do what other people are doing. You follow them like a lost puppy because that’s what you are at this point.”
How Do I Know It’s Time
I’ve helped hundreds of families over the years as a professional interventionist, and I’ve seen a lot of scenarios. It’s difficult to know when there’s the need for an intervention. Many believe that they can simply talk to the addict in question and lay their emotions out on the table, and then everything will change in their loved one’s mind.
It doesn’t always work like that. In fact, it rarely works like that. Depending on how severe an addiction is, the “point of no return,” when they consciously decide that they have a problem, may have been two exits back. This is when you need an intervention, when there’s nothing that can be done except delivering ultimatums and having a thorough discussion. Detox and rehab still need to be the choice of the addict, whether or not that was due to emotional reasons shared with them by their family and friends during an intervention. They need to walk through those doors with the desire to get, and stay, clean.
Here’s a list of some of the most common signs that should raise some red flags in your mind.
- Dodgy Behavior Patterns
- Increased Tolerance
- Mental Fog
- Changes In Appearance
- Enhanced Emotions
- Barely Getting By
- Their Wellbeing