How nice it would be if your loved one woke up tomorrow, gave you a call and made the announcement. “I have looked around at my life, how my actions have affected me, affected you and my future and I have decided that I am going to enter into 28 days of treatment and then recovery.
I am going to commit myself to this way of life for at least a year of intense aftercare, including support groups, therapy, and a half-way house.” How nice that would be. But, odds are, you probably won’t get that call. If you do get anything close to that announcement and your loved one does check them self into treatment, it the story will usually change within days. More often than not, once the drugs wear off in the detox at the rehab, the commitment they had days earlier will fade. “Maybe 28 days is a bit too long.
I don’t need this program to stay sober. I realize now that I need to come home to be a better son, father, and spouse. I’m sure that I can do this much better at home. I’ll just leave treatment, stay at home and go to AA.”
Now we are scratching our heads. They seemed so sincere. What happened?
Interestingly enough, rarely does anyone enter into treatment for a noble reason, regardless of what they may say at the time. At that moment they do not have the ability to objectively look at their life and understand long-term consequences. They are operating on a “feel good, avoid feeling bad” operating basis. In other words, your loved one entered into treatment, or recovery, or abstinence because of one reason and one reason alone…
Why do People Relapse?…because at that moment, quitting was more comfortable than not quitting
Yes, your loved one was sincere when they looked you in the eyes and said, “I want to quit”. Most drug addicts and alcoholics do want to quit. But understand that there is a world of difference between wanting to quit and willing to quit. In other words, a difference between temporarily wanting to quit because of a brief but uncomfortable change in circumstances…and willing to actually do some uncomfortable actions in order to quit and recover for a long enough period of time to count.
Everyone, sooner or later and at sometime, wants to quit. What are some of the reasons that will compel someone to want to quit?
- Lack of financial or other resources to continue
- Drugs have worn off
- Temporarily felt the consequences
- Embarrassment or shame for intoxicated behaviors
- Embarrassment or shame for being caught at using
- Someone who has leverage is lecturing or threatening them to quit
- There are heavy consequences hanging over them
All of the previous are reasons to want to quit. However, unfortunately, each of the above reasons is usually temporary reasons and usually based upon temporary outside things that will usually change once a person sobers up. Once they gain the resources to use again, they usually do use again. Once the embarrassment of another episode wears off, there they go again. Once the temporary consequences disappear…often so do they.
An intervention is when someone is engaged in unhealthy behaviors and an outside source comes in and influences that person to change their behaviors. An intervention can be brief, with short-term effects causing short-term change. Or an intervention can be long-term, having a lasting effect. Many families become good at implementing short-term change but haven’t learned how to implement long-term change in their loved one. A professionally guided intervention isn’t about getting someone to temporarily quit, for that has happened time and again. Professional intervention is about educating and helping to change the family dynamics in such a way, that the change in a substance abuser is long-lasting.
Intervention Services isn’t about getting your loved one to want to quit…we are about getting your loved one willing to quit. In other words, willing to do what it takes to get and stay sober.