Tag Archives: Intervention

Four Signs That it is Time to Stage an Alcohol Intervention

It can be difficult to ignore the symptoms and effects that pop up when someone you care about abuses alcohol. Every person in the family might be touched by that addiction, and yet everyone in the family might be wondering what in the world they should do in order to make the problem stop.

While holding an intervention might seem drastic at first, it may be the absolute best way to help your loved one recover. These are four signs that indicate that it’s time for your family to take action.
 

Sign 1: Alcohol Use Has Become Uncontrollable or Compulsive

People with an addiction to alcohol can no longer control when, how much, or how often they drink.

As a result, they might:
 

  • Drink first thing in the morning
  • Bring alcohol to unreasonable places such as work, family gatherings, in the car, or at church
  • Find it impossible to stop drinking once they have started drinking
  • Attempt to cut back on alcohol and fail to achieve any kind of reduction

These signs indicate that the alcohol use has moved to a point beyond the person’s control, and an intervention might be the best way to help your loved one accept help.

>>> READ THIS NEXT: Start with Alcohol Detox

 

Sign 2: Alcohol-Related Health Problems Appear

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than 40,000 people die each year of chronic liver disease, and alcohol abuse plays a huge role in many of these deaths. In addition, many other people lose their lives due to cancer problems caused by alcohol, and cardiovascular conditions exacerbated by the abuse of alcohol.1

People who drink heavily often begin to experience major health problems, or they might have abnormal test results when they visit their doctors for routine screenings. Any of these problems provide families with data that they can put to good use in an intervention and are strong indicators that the alcohol abuse issue has reached a dangerous level.
 

Sign 3: The Safety of Others Is At Risk

Those who drink are a harm to themselves, but they can also harm others. They might drive while intoxicated, for example, or they might get into physical altercations due to the influence of alcohol. Family conflicts can be fueled by alcohol, and arguments may result in injury to everyone involved.

Your loved one may have to face fines or jail sentences if alcohol misuse is not addressed. Drunk driving can result in the death of your loved one or the death of an innocent bystander — creating a situation that your loved one would have to live with the rest of his or her life.
 

Sign 4: Brief Conversations Haven’t Worked

Many families touched by alcohol addiction attempt to solve the problem by holding frequent, informal talks. They might discuss the behaviors they’ve seen and express the wish that their loved one would get help, and sometimes families even feel compelled to research treatment facilities before the talk, so they can outline how the treatment will progress. If families have held a number of these talks and the person still won’t enroll in treatment, it’s time to get serious and hold a planned intervention.

This might be just the sort of wake-up call your loved one needs in order to agree to get supportive help.

It isn’t easy to hold an alcohol intervention, and it’s not uncommon for families to be frightened about how the discussion might unfold. Hiring an interventionist might help. Intervention professionals can help families plan, and they can remain in the room during the talk and take action if something goes wrong. If you need the help of someone like this, please call us at 760-548-4032. Our admissions coordinators can connect you with a number of professionals who can help you.


Sources

1 U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Chronic Liver Disease and Cirrhosis. 6 Oct 2016.

How to Stop Enabling an Addicted Loved One

The desire to help your loved ones meet their recovery goals can be a source of strength and motivation for someone who is struggling with addiction. But for some people, the need to help becomes so strong it’s impossible to recognize when the line between helping and enabling is crossed. By definition, enabling is essentially the same as “empowering,” or helping a person achieve things they could not on their own.

Parents help children, grandparents help grandchildren and friends help each other whenever someone has a need. Enabling, unlike helping, is allowing unhealthy choices and behaviors not only to continue but to become even worse through the actions of the enabler.1

Enabling is incredibly common for families of people with longstanding addictions. Reversing enabling behaviors can be difficult, but it’s those changes that foster lasting change in your addicted loved one.

Reducing Temptation

Scenario:

Joseph is an alcoholic, and his drink of choice is vodka. With a few gulps of his trusty bottle, he can transition from a mild-mannered man with a breezy disposition into an angry, abusive man who throws things and terrorizes his family. His wife, hoping to help, stocks the kitchen refrigerator with beer. If she can just get Joseph to switch to a less intoxicating substance, he won’t be quite so abusive.

Families of an addicted person will do almost anything to make the person they love stop using, and yet, they often purchase the drug of choice just to keep the peace. According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, two-thirds of teens and young adults that abuse prescription medications get them from friends and family members or acquaintances.2

When an addiction is in play, all offers of alcohol and drugs should cease immediately.

The person shouldn’t be encouraged to drink after a bad day or to take a pill due to a low mood. Instead, the person struggling should receive positive messages to stay sober and should never have access to drugs or alcohol, especially from family members.

Allowing Consequences

Scenario:

Marie has a longstanding addiction to prescription painkillers, and on Friday night, she stumbles across an entire stash of pills in a neighbor’s medicine cabinet. Over the weekend, she has a binge party of her own, taking in all the pills in a spree she can’t really remember. When Monday rolls around, her boyfriend feels sorry for her and calls her workplace to let them know she is sick. Then he calls in sick himself and spends the day caring for Marie, hoping that his kindness will inspire her to stay sober the next week.

With the current opioid crisis at epidemic proportions across the U.S., it’s likely that many people struggling with addiction are employed at some level.3 Keeping them out of the workplace when they’re recovering from a binge may seem like the smart thing to do. After all, you don’t want your loved one to lose her job. Nursing them to health might also help families feel as though they’re doing something useful, rather than just watching helplessly as the addiction takes its toll.

This is considered enabling behavior, as it protects the addicted person from the real consequences of an addiction, which might include:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional embarrassment
  • Loss of employment
  • Social shunning

These consequences allow the person to feel all of the pain an addiction. Recognizing the damage drug abuse causes can be a catalyst for change in your loved one’s life. Without consequences, the person struggling has no motivation to get clean and stay sober.

Dealing with Finances

Scenario:

Andy was paid on Monday, and by Tuesday, he’d drained the family checking account in order to pay for drugs, leaving Susan with no money to pay rent. She chose to keep the account open and picked up extra shifts at work so she could keep their apartment without paying a fine. She mentioned the incident to Andy but didn’t make any other changes. The following month, Andy did the same thing.

Since the drive to use is more powerful than anything, people who struggle with addiction are unable to make good financial decisions. Families that have joint accounts can find their finances quickly depleted because their loved one can’t stop buying drugs. Opening separate accounts can be helpful, as it can ensure that a family’s cash isn’t spent on drugs or alcohol.

It can also help to have separate budgets with each person expected to contribute a certain amount to household expenses.

This can give sober family members control over how their salaries are spent, and they’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that they’re not paying for the behaviors that are tearing their families apart.

The Importance of Self-Care

Scenario:

From the moment he wakes up in the morning to the moment he falls asleep at night, Liam wonders whether or not Linda is using drugs. Days in which she doesn’t use are considered good, but when she slips, Liam falls into depression. He no longer participates in hobbies or does anything voluntarily that doesn’t involve Linda, even though she disappoints him. Her behavior is the focus of his life.

For families of addicted people, everything revolves around the decisions an addicted person makes. They may feel that they have little control over their own happiness, and often, they fall into despair as a result. Getting out and doing something that doesn’t involve the addicted person, or doesn’t involve thinking about the addicted person, can help.

In Psychology Today, Dr. J. Wesley Boyd encourages family members to take care of themselves while helping an addicted loved one take steps towards recovery.

He offers the following five steps as essential for family members with an addicted loved one:

  1. Educate yourself about addiction — Learning the signs and clues that your loved one using helps you see things you may not have otherwise. Knowledge is power. Having the right information can increase your awareness of the addiction that might have gone unnoticed.
  2. Don’t allow yourself to be abused — Family members of substance abusers are often abused emotionally, as well as financially and physically. Family members must take reasonable steps to protect themselves from such abuse.
  3. Recognize enabling behavior and don’t collude with the user or cover up the abuse — Don’t lie to employers, creditors or pay the person’s bills. Natural consequences of a person’s actions are road signs to change.
  4. Seek professional help if any part of your life is in jeopardy — If you become beaten down by your loved one’s addiction your job, housing, the ability to buy food and your overall ability to function is at risk. Seek professional help if you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed by current situation.
  5. Attend to your own health and well-being — It is impossible to be fully present and make good decisions for others when your own health needs aren’t being met. Eat right, exercise, get quality sleep and keep all of your doctor’s appointments. By staying in the best health possible you’re more able to help your loved one break free from addiction.4

Support Groups for Families

Scenario:

Jim has lived with his alcoholic mother for 30 years, and he’s never mentioned a single word to anyone about her habits. He doesn’t tell his friends about the times he cleans vomit from the bathroom, or the times he’s picked her up from jail. He doesn’t tell his neighbors that the screams they hear are due to her alcoholic rages. He suffers alone and in silence, as he’s just sure no one else would understand.

Group Therapy

Support groups for families of alcoholics can reduce the sense of isolation, as family members have the opportunity to meet peers who are sharing the same kinds of struggles in response to the same kinds of stimulus. The group can share tips and tricks they’ve used in order to stop enabling the behavior, and the members of the group can support one another when times are tough and the urge to enable begins to grow once more.

Participating in a support group can also help family members to learn more about how addictions progress, and how they are treated. This information can help them to more adequately help the person in their midst, and it can help them to perform more informed interventions that could entice the person to accept the help of a formal treatment program for addiction.

Finding Help Through Intervention

Some families include their anti-enabling steps in their formal intervention for addiction. They tell the addicted person why they’d like addiction treatment to begin, and they outline how treatment works, but the end of the intervention provides them with the opportunity to declare their intention to change. They specify the ways in which they will no longer harbor the addiction, and they discuss how they’ll begin to focus on their own healing and their own happiness, regardless of what their loved one in the throes of addiction might do. Then, when the changes come, the addict isn’t surprised, and the resolution is a little easier to stick to.

A CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) Intervention is designed to work in just this way, and studies of the effectiveness of this approach demonstrate just how effective it can be. In a study in the Journal of Substance Abuse, for example, researchers found that 70 percent of families that used this approach were able to convince their loved one to get help.

Many experienced more robust mental health, regardless of whether or not treatment was started.5

If you’d like to find out more about how you can live a healthy life in the midst of addiction, call us at 760-548-4032 and speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.

Start the Journey Today!

760-548-4032

Sources

1 “Are You Empowering or Enabling?” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers. 11 July 2012.

2 Safeguard Against Medicine Abuse: Securing and Disposing Medications.” Partnership for Drug-Free Kids – Where Families Find Answers. 11 June 2018.

3 National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Opioid Overdose Crisis.” National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). 6 Mar. 2018.

4 “Five Must-Do Things If a Family Member Is Abusing Drugs.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 11 June 2018.

5 “How Compassion Can Help You Support an Addicted Loved One.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 3 Oct. 2016.

Your Drug Addiction – Who Does It Hurt?

You’ve been using drugs or alcohol for a while now. You recognize that you use in unhealthy ways or amounts, but you’re not really sure it’s a problem. You’re pretty sure you’ve managed to hide your use from your boss, your family, or your friends. You still feel okay, even if some aspects of life may seem a little out of control.

Unfortunately no matter how much you deny the impact of substance use on yourself and your loved ones, addiction does hurt. You know this is the truth at the same time your addiction argues otherwise. Addiction has changed your life. It changes the lives of people around you.

Drug Addiction Hurts You

Woman in denial with hand over faceYou have denied, minimized, ignored, or excused it. However, the truth is that addiction hurts you. It changes how you feel and how you think. You’ve given up things that once brought you joy. You wake up feeling sick or sore. You don’t feel like the same person you once were. This sometimes seems okay, especially if you began using drugs or alcohol because you didn’t feel good in the first place. However no matter what mental or physical health challenges you face, you have to recognize that substance use hasn’t made them better. One or more aspects of your life has suffered.

The American Psychiatric Association explains, “Substance use disorders are associated with impairments in psychological development and social adjustment, family and social relations, school and work performance, financial status, health, and personal independence (e.g., as a result of legal charges associated with substance use, suspension of the individual’s driver’s license after being convicted of driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance).”

You have been hurt by addiction. Drugs or alcohol may let you push aside concerns for short periods of time, but these physical, mental, social, or emotional concerns return. They return and hurt even more than before. Recovery brings real healing and real relief.

Drug Addiction Hurts Your Family

You feel like you put on a good show around your family. You smile when you’re supposed to. You hide the extent of your drug or alcohol use and stay away when you are high. You think you’ve managed to protect those you love the most. However, anything one family member does can hurt the others.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration[1] shares, “A family is a system, and in any system each part is related to all other parts. Consequently, a change in any part of the system will bring about changes in all other parts.”

Addiction impacts everyone in the family even if you are the only one it has directly changed. Positive change can have a similar cascading effect. Getting clean and sober means healing the hurt you have unintentionally caused those who love you most.

Drug Addiction Hurts The Community

Police officer with patrol carYou don’t have to personally know someone for your addiction to impact their life. On a large scale, addiction touches every single life with no exception. The Surgeon General shares, “Alcohol misuse, illicit drug use, misuse of medications, and substance use disorders are estimated to cost the United States more than $400 billion in lost workplace productivity (in part, due to premature mortality), health care expenses, law enforcement, and other criminal justice costs (e.g., drug-related crimes), and losses from motor vehicle crashes.”

You don’t even have to look at the social impact of addiction to see how it changes lives. On just a purely financial level, every taxpayer is hurt by substance abuse. Coworkers face greater workloads on the job as they take up your slack. You risk the lives of strangers through vehicle or other accidents. You support crime and the cost of fighting that crime. You hurt the community by removing your contributions to it. Addiction is not an individual problem. It hurts every life. Recovery goes a long way towards healing that hurt. It lets you give back to the world rather than take from it.[2]

Drug Addiction Hurts

Drug addiction hurts you. It hurts the people you love and the people you haven’t yet had a chance to meet. Continued drug use puts your life, your family, and your community at risk. Begin the healing process to end the hurt and harm. Feel better and protect your family. Call Michael’s House at 760-548-4032 and learn about your opportunities for a bigger, better life.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64269/. Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2004. Web. 22 Mar 2017.

[2] https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/surgeon-generals-report.pdf. Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nov 2016. Web. 22 Mar 2017.