Family Interventions

Watching someone you love and care about destroy themselves through alcohol or drug addiction is unbearably painful and distressing. Well-meaning friends and associates may advise you to walk away and get on with your life, but unless you have been in that situation yourself, it is very hard to comprehend how difficult it is to let go. If the individual concerned is a close family member i.e. a daughter, brother, father, mother; it goes against every instinct inside of you to just give up and walk away. Everyone else may seem to have given up on them, but yet you still feel there must be a way of getting them help. This is exactly when a Family Intervention can help. Decades of experience have proven that a Family intervention is a powerful and lifesaving tool, in getting your loved one to accept help and into rehab treatment. It is not a sign of weakness to not let go of hope and enlist the services of a professional, but a sign of strength, love and determination

Case Study

*Tom* is 34, and was brought up in an environment where his mother *Jean*always drank. It became the norm to smell alcohol on his mother’s breath. Tom’s father drank only occasionally but rarely made an issue of Jeans drinking, as she still functioned well. Jean held down a part time job, had an active social life and cared for Tom and his older sister *Emily’s* needs. Tom’s father worked away from home in the armed forces. His work took him away from the family home for weeks and on some occasion’s months at a time. As Tom approached his teenage years, he began to notice his mother wasn’t so good in the mornings. He would often wake up to the sound of her retching in the bathroom. As time went on, he noticed that Jean was replacing her morning cup of coffee with a glass of vodka and orange juice before packing him off to school. Tom would often come home from school to find Jean asleep on the sofa with a bottle of vodka and orange tucked down the side. Tom worried about his mother’s wellbeing and lived for his father’s return back home, as when he was around his mother seemed to drink less and was happier.

Over the years, and Tom having left home to find his own way in life, his mother’s health and well-being deteriorated. Jean had become distant; she no longer cared for her appearance. She still held her part time job as a cleaner, but withdrew from her friends and other family members. Tom started to question his mother’s drinking, but his questions were always dismissed by Jean and the subject changed. Tom now had his own wife and young children, but Jean rarely showed any interest in them. Tom’s father was now retired but the fact he was at home didn’t seem to impact on how much Jean drank anymore. Tom’s sister Emily had little to do with her mother; she felt anger and resentment at her mother’s unwillingness to change. Tom’s father was also concerned, his wife was no longer the vibrant and caring person she used to be, yet whenever he challenged Jean, he was always met with anger and blame. Tom’s father felt that it was his fault, for not being there for the family and working away from home so often, so his wife’s anger and blame only served to confirm his guilt. It became easier for him not to say anything and just let Jean drink, rather than risk an angry and defensive outburst that only added to his guilt of feeling a failure as a Husband and a Father. Tom felt for sure that if his mother didn’t get professional help that she would soon die. Jean had become thin and gaunt looking, her skin had a yellow tinge and her stomach swollen, yet she still denied that she needed help. She maintained that her drinking was her only pleasure in life and that she was not willing to give it up. Tom felt helpless, his father and sister seemed ambivalent towards Jeans drinking and unwilling to challenge her to stop. Tom yearned for his mother to be a part of his family, to bond with her grandchildren and show an interest in his life. He began to look for ways to get help to stop his mother from destroying herself completely.

It was at this point that he came across Daniel Gerrard’s intervention services and made the call that was soon to change his and his family’s life dramatically.

Thanks to the intervention service, conducted by Daniel, who was able to bring the family together to confront Jean in a safe and structured environment, on hearing her family’s fears and concerns and how her drinking had impacted on them individually, Jean finally broke down and admitted she needed help. Jean was taken immediately to a suitable rehab clinic by Daniel for treatment and stayed a term of 8 weeks in total which was followed up with a tailored care plan back in the community. Her physical, mental and spiritual needs were addressed through the treatment as she began to experience life as a newly sober woman.

Jean is now 6 months sober and is involved in her children’s lives. She sees her grandchildren regularly and has begun to attend counselling with her husband to repair their marriage and learn how to enjoy each other company once more. She still has contact with Daniel and maintains her recovery by seeing her aftercare counsellor and attending 12 step meetings. Jean is slowly repairing her relationships with her daughter and Tom also. The family know that there is a long way to go, but now they have hope and the intervention has brought them all closer together so that they are no longer isolated in their pain.

*names and identifying details have been changed to protect client confidentiality*

This case is good example of what can be achieved by enlisting the help of a professional Family Interventionist and treatment plan. You may be able to see some similarities in your own circumstances. A Family Intervention brings the family together and shows the individual concerned a united front. Guided and planned by a professional, this family were able to set aside their own anger, reservations and fears in order to achieve the common goal of getting their loved one into treatment and beginning the processes of family as well as individual recovery.