Myth 1: "You cannot help a person grappling with dependencies to and/or addictions until the addicted/dependent person decides to ask for help"
Truth: Denial is the most recognized, and, an integral part of the disease of addictions and dependencies, and we must understand the main components of denial if we are to be successful in bringing help to the addicted / dependent person. A difficulty in admitting and accepting help is fueled by a sense of shame and remorse combined with the desire to prove that there is no problem and that the addicted / dependent person is still capable of controlling the situation. Due to this shame and remorse, combined with a sense of humiliation at the thought of admitting that they cannot control it, the addicted / dependent person is at first not willing, and then as the disease progresses, not capable of seeking the help they need. So if we, their family and friends, are sitting around waiting for this person to ask for or seek help, we may wait until it is too late. This person either will not or cannot go for help on their own. This means, that if this person is to be helped, the helping process must start outside themselves. It needs to be initiated by someone concerned. It needs to be brought to them. It is like a person drowning. This person cannot save themselves, but family or friends can throw a lifeline to save their life. This lifeline is the process of intervention. That is, if the intervention is done in a caring and masterful way, with love, dignity and respect.
Myth 2: "You cannot help a person grappling with dependencies and/or addictions until the person -Crashes -Hits bottom -Loses everything"
Truth: Family and friends do not have to wait until the addicted / dependent person loses everything. Addiction is too often the only disease where we sit around and wait, as we witness the afflicted person be destroyed and ravaged by this predictable and progressive disease, before help is sought. The addicted / dependent person can hit bottom many times until death or clinical insanity without ever accepting help. Too often the addicted / dependent person crashes but is unwilling to surrender and accept help because the pain of not using is perceived as greater than the continued pain of using. If we just wait for them to hit bottom, as if only then can help be offered, we may be waiting in vain and it may be too late.
Hitting bottom, crashing and losing everything need not be the outcome. “Bottom” is not a pre-determined place in reality. Bottom is, simply put, when the addicted / dependent person is successfully helped to accept and implement help and solutions. Bottom can be when the addicted / dependent person is helped to appreciate that the perceived pain of entering recovery is less than the true pain of continuing the progressive destructive process.
Like any progressive disease, the earlier help is introduced the greater the chances of recovery. It has been our experience that clients who have been helped to accept help early in the progression of their disease, and who still have the loving support of family and friends and are still employed with a source of revenue along with the possibility to develop a caring support group and network, have greater chances to do better and enjoy the benefits of a long lasting recovery. Treatment outcome is greatly enhanced by early intervention.
Myth 3: "Treatment will not be effective if the person was forced or coerced into treatment"
Very rarely does an addicted / dependent person wake up one morning and decides to seek treatment. More often than not, it is when the addicted / dependent person is feeling the pressures and pains of the progression of their disease that they seek treatment. This simple reality may explain why in our experience we do not see a marked difference in treatment outcome between those to whom it has been strongly suggested by a family member, a spouse, an employer, or judge, to seek treatment and those who seemingly decide on their own to seek help. The reality is that both groups are being coerced and forced by their respective life circumstances to seek treatment, help and solutions.
When we understand this dynamic we also come to understand that a masterful intervention is not about coercion, bullying or ultimatums. A masterful intervention is about helping the afflicted person come to realize that it’s ok to ask for and accept help. A properly coached intervention helps bring the possibility of help in a way that is neither humiliating nor confrontational.
During the initial contact with an interventionist the presenting problem will be discussed and options will be explored. It is during this initial dialogue that a determination will be as to whether or not an intervention is the most appropriate option.
If it is decided that an intervention is in order then a training and preparation session is typically scheduled as it is a crucial component to a successful intervention. Fears, doubts, questions and misgivings that family and friends often have about interventions will be resolved as best as possible. Also, it is during this training period that everyone is coached in how to present and communicate facts and concerns in a non-judgmental way. Love, respect and dignity for all are of prime concern.
Intervention brings hope to the hopeless.
Let your hope be stronger than your fear.
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