Certified National Drug & Alcohol Interventionists

The Bottom Line

Many times during our interventions the addict is already so beat down, guilt-ridden and ashamed that they are relieved when they are offered help with the full support of family & friends. The love and care they feel during the intervention process can, if only for a moment fill that void that they have been stuffing with substances and/or alcohol for so long. However, that is not always the case. And a very important part of being an interventionist is planning for unexpected behaviors and scenarios during the actual intervention and doing all we can to keep the intervention on track, no matter what the reaction of the addict is. As I said many addicts walk into the intervention and immediately feel relief, ready to throw their hands up in surrender. But in some more complicated situations I’ve found my own self running down the street in 3inch heels while making a case to our client to come back inside and hear the family out (needless to say I now wear sensible shoes when the intervention takes place). In instances like this the “Bottom Line” can be the most crucial part of the entire process. Bottom lines can make or break an intervention. The addict has to realize the impact and horror their family is facing, and they have to understand that their family can no longer stand idling by, jumping every time the phone rings for fear of the devastating news that may come. And most importantly no one is there to punish them. By this time we have sat down with the family and talked about addiction education, enabling behaviors, and what they should expect when recovery begins. Prior to the intervention day we have a family education day in order to go over several scenarios with the family. We prepare & educate each family so they will have some idea of what to expect. In addition we are sure to make ourselves available to each family we work with before, during, and after the intervention and treatment. It is important that each member of the family is on the same page in order for any chaos to stop. We also make sure the addict knows that we are and always will be in their circle of support. The curriculum we’ve created includes a discussion about enabling behaviors. After identifying the enabling behaviors in each family & individual family members/friends we have a better idea about what each person’s bottom line could be. Our curriculum also includes guidelines & examples for not only the bottom lines but for the letters from each member, imploring the addict to accept the help being offered. Furthermore, we put great emphasis on the fact that EVERY person participating in the intervention must stick to their bottom line…NO MATTER WHAT! We stress that each individual’s bottom line has to be something they are willing to do (or NOT do), if it’s not something they can maintain for the long haul they cannot use it. Otherwise, it can deem the entire intervention process an exercise in futility. In the interventions where the addict continues to refuse help after the bottom lines have been established we first, have to make certain that the family knows that we are still supporting them and it is imperative they stay committed to their bottom lines. Next we make it clear to the addict that the family/friends will no longer participate in enabling behaviors & the bottom lines laid out will go into effect immediately.

In the rare cases that the addict does not go directly into treatment we have found that as long as the family is holding firm on the bottom lines the addict enters treatment within a week to 10 days. In our cases we stay in touch with the family & their addicted loved one until a resolution presents itself. Many times the addict calls to accept help due to the fact that the intervention has caused a chain reaction…the life they thought they were hiding or denying has had a bright light cast over it and in most cases they finally begin to realize that their actions & addictions are effecting more than just themselves. Some start to understand that the intervention was something their family put together out of love and concern…and at that point using becomes a lot less enjoyable. Their addiction has been brought to the forefront of their mind, and any denial is now much more difficult to maintain. In these ways every intervention is a success. The process brings families together, helps sort out the chaos, gets everyone on the same page, and leads everyone resolutions and recovery!

“Over the years working with and talking to so many people who deal with addiction, either as an addict or the loved one of an addict I’ve learned many things…One of the most important things I’ve realized is that no addict is expected to deal with the struggles of addiction alone (no one should). But just as important, no family should have to navigate the chaotic path addiction leads to alone either. That’s why we are here…not only to offer our help and guidance but to lead our families back toward hope and peace.”
Kelli Athas

For any questions please call : 877-744-3578

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