Enabling - When 'Helping' Doesn't Really Help

Enabling - When 'Helping' Doesn't Really Help

Joined: March 8th, 2007, 6:53 am

January 7th, 2012, 5:18 am #1

http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/info2/a/aa052197.htm

Enabling - When 'Helping' Doesn't Really Help

Enabling Takes Many Forms

By Buddy T, About.com Guide

Updated March 05, 2011

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Many times when family and friends try to "help" alcoholics, they are actually making it easier for them to continue in the progression of the disease.
This baffling phenomenon is called enabling, which takes many forms, all of which have the same effect -- allowing the alcoholic to avoid the consequences of his actions. This in turn allows the alcoholic to continue merrily along his (or her) drinking ways, secure in the knowledge that no matter how much he screws up, somebody will always be there to rescue him from his mistakes.

What is the difference between helping and enabling? There are many opinions and viewpoints on this, some of which can be found on the pages linked below, but here is a simple description:

Helping is doing something for someone that they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling is doing for someone things that they could, and should be doing themselves.

Simply, enabling creates a atmosphere in which the alcoholic can comfortably continue his unacceptable behavior.



Are you an enabler?
Are You Enabling an Alcoholic or Addict?
Answer these 12 questions to help you decide whether or not your actions and reactions to the alcoholic might be enabling.
Click on the link above to take the enabling self-assessment test. If you answered "yes" to any of the questions, you at some point in time have enabled the alcoholic to avoid his own responsibilities. Rather than "help" the alcoholic, you have actually made it easier for him to get worse.

If you answered "yes" to most or all of the questions, you have not only enabled the alcoholic, you have probably become a major contributor to the growing and continuing problem and chances are have become affected by the disease yourself.



Facing the Consequences
As long as the alcoholic has his enabling devices in place, it is easy for him to continue to deny he has a problem -- since most of his problems are being "solved" by those around him. Only when he is forced to face the consequences of his own actions, will it finally begin to sink in how deep his problem has become.
Some of these choices are not easy for the friends and families of alcoholics. If the alcoholic drinks up the money that was supposed to pay the utility bill, he's not the only one who will be living in a dark, cold, or sweltering house. The rest of the family will suffer right along with him.



Tough Choices, But Choices
That makes the only option for the family seem to be taking the money intended for groceries and paying the light bill instead, since nobody wants to be without utilities.
But that is not the only option. Taking the children to friends or relatives, or even a shelter, and letting the alcoholic come home alone to a dark house, is an option that protects the family and leaves the alcoholic face-to-face with his problem.

Those kinds of choices are difficult. They require "detachment with love." But it is love. Unless the alcoholic is allowed to face the consequences of his own actions, he will never realize just how much his drinking has become a problem -- to himself and those around him.



Getting Help
Often those closest to the alcoholic or addict believe if they can just get him to stop drinking or drugging, it will solve all of the problems. They may attempt a family intervention and many other tactics to try to "solve the problem."
But many families find that even if the alcoholic or addicts quits and gets into recovery, the problems linger. For families dealing with either an active or recovering alcoholic, there are many resources available to help and support you through the difficulties. Many family members have found that joining Al-Anon Family Groups have changed their lives completely.
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Joined: March 8th, 2007, 6:53 am

January 7th, 2012, 5:21 am #2

1.Cease doing anything that allows the alcoholic to continue their current lifestyle.
2.Do nothing to 'help' the alcoholic that he could or would be doing himself if he were not drinking.
3.Stop lying, covering up, or making excuses for the alcoholic, such as 'calling in sick' for him.
4.Do not take on responsibilites or duties that rightfully belong to the alcoholic.
5.Do not give or loan the alcoholic money.
6.Don't 'rescue' the alcoholic by bailing him out of jail or paying his fines.
7.Do not scold, argue or plead with the alcoholic.
8.Do not react to his latest misadventures, so that he can respond to your reaction rather than his actions.
9.Do not try to drink with the alcoholic.
10.Set boundaries, don't make threats, and stick to them.
11.Carefully explain to the alcoholic the boundaries that you have set, and explain that the boundaries are for you, not for him.


I am likely enabling a certain alcoholic by my doing #7....which has ended today...maybe others can learn to stop also???
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Joined: March 8th, 2007, 6:53 am

January 7th, 2012, 5:48 am #3


Dealing With Addiction Denial

Everyone Else Is to Blame, But the Addict

By Buddy T, About.com Guide

Updated October 07, 2008

Married to an Alcoholic?Get your sanity back We're here to helpwww.FreeMyAddict.com


For the family, friends, employers and co-workers of alcoholics and addicts one of the most frustrating aspects to deal with is their denial, especially when it is so obvious to everyone else the person has a problem.
In spite of all evidence to the contrary, the addict will stubbornly insist they do not have a problem, or their problems are someone else's fault. In a recent post to our Alcoholism / Substance Abuse Forum, a visitor struggling with methamphetamine abuse displayed all the classic signs of denial in the following edited message

A Story of Denial
I was told I needed rehab by my wife. She threw me out two weeks ago and before then, called my boss and told him I was doing drugs and abusing her. Well, I wasn't abusing her, but I was using meth. I got fired from my job and I've been living on the streets and living out of my car.
I can't find a job anywhere here in Arizona. My funds are going quick and my faith in God going quicker.



I Don't Need Recovery
I just found out that she's got me on a private insurance that'll cover any rehab that I go into. This is why she's doing this to me. But I don't think I need rehab or I don't need to go into recovery. Are there any other options? I also want to let you know that this same woman has had five known affairs on me. I think I use meth to deal with that pain. If I was to divorce her and live life away from her, I wouldn't have the desire or need to use meth.
I've stayed with her so long after these affairs because of my two beautiful kids, who didn't ask for this and who deserve two parents.

-- Sgt. Rudog



What Other Sign Do You Need?
Above is the story of a man who has lost his job, lost his family, lost his home and is now living out of his car because of his meth use, but he still insists that he doesn't have a problem! His reaction to his situation is the typical denial of an addict:
He blames his drug use on the behavior of his wife

He minimizes the effect his abusive behavior has had on others

He blames losing his job on his wife

He doesn't need help, he can quit anytime

What will it take for this guy to finally admit he has a problem? Will it take a trip to jail? The loss of his health? What will it take for him to hit bottom?
The answer is, nobody knows. For some, the threat of losing their family or their job is enough to wake them up. For some getting that first DUI is their "bottom." But for others 10 arrests won't slow them down. Addiction is a baffling disease, especially for the friends and family who try desperately, as this man's wife has done, to get them to see they have a problem.
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Tim
Tim

January 7th, 2012, 6:05 am #4

1.Cease doing anything that allows the alcoholic to continue their current lifestyle.
2.Do nothing to 'help' the alcoholic that he could or would be doing himself if he were not drinking.
3.Stop lying, covering up, or making excuses for the alcoholic, such as 'calling in sick' for him.
4.Do not take on responsibilites or duties that rightfully belong to the alcoholic.
5.Do not give or loan the alcoholic money.
6.Don't 'rescue' the alcoholic by bailing him out of jail or paying his fines.
7.Do not scold, argue or plead with the alcoholic.
8.Do not react to his latest misadventures, so that he can respond to your reaction rather than his actions.
9.Do not try to drink with the alcoholic.
10.Set boundaries, don't make threats, and stick to them.
11.Carefully explain to the alcoholic the boundaries that you have set, and explain that the boundaries are for you, not for him.


I am likely enabling a certain alcoholic by my doing #7....which has ended today...maybe others can learn to stop also???
A person who believes they enable or disable addictions of others might be a little deceived.

If you pump drugs into a little kid that's another thing.

Some people eat themselves to death.
I know there have been prisoners who drank themselves to death with water.
Consuming too much of anything kills a person.

No one can save anyone from themselves. And to believe we can do that is self deception.

If John Dow wants to jump off the bridge tonight and end it all, that's his decision. Just don't be the cause of it in his mind, for your own sanity. And hopefully before John jumps out of shear hopelessness, you introduced him to the knowledge about God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son our Lord.

Enjoyment of the created things is why they were created. Abusing the created things and becoming a slave to them is a death sentence.

A person denying their limits of power over others peoples decisions is no different then the obese person denying the food is killing them. Its all dental.

God created mankind to have a sound mind. And denial of any kind distorts that sound mind. The best we can do is love and cherish one another with truth.

If people loved and cherished John Dow he wouldn't even consider jumping off that bridge. But he himself would love life, and he would share that love with others and even lend a helping hand to the needy and down trodden persons.
But that world isn't here yet, accept deep in our hearts.

All glory belongs to God.

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Joined: March 8th, 2007, 6:53 am

January 7th, 2012, 6:40 am #5

Dealing With Addiction Denial

Everyone Else Is to Blame, But the Addict

By Buddy T, About.com Guide

Updated October 07, 2008

Married to an Alcoholic?Get your sanity back We're here to helpwww.FreeMyAddict.com


For the family, friends, employers and co-workers of alcoholics and addicts one of the most frustrating aspects to deal with is their denial, especially when it is so obvious to everyone else the person has a problem.
In spite of all evidence to the contrary, the addict will stubbornly insist they do not have a problem, or their problems are someone else's fault. In a recent post to our Alcoholism / Substance Abuse Forum, a visitor struggling with methamphetamine abuse displayed all the classic signs of denial in the following edited message

A Story of Denial
I was told I needed rehab by my wife. She threw me out two weeks ago and before then, called my boss and told him I was doing drugs and abusing her. Well, I wasn't abusing her, but I was using meth. I got fired from my job and I've been living on the streets and living out of my car.
I can't find a job anywhere here in Arizona. My funds are going quick and my faith in God going quicker.



I Don't Need Recovery
I just found out that she's got me on a private insurance that'll cover any rehab that I go into. This is why she's doing this to me. But I don't think I need rehab or I don't need to go into recovery. Are there any other options? I also want to let you know that this same woman has had five known affairs on me. I think I use meth to deal with that pain. If I was to divorce her and live life away from her, I wouldn't have the desire or need to use meth.
I've stayed with her so long after these affairs because of my two beautiful kids, who didn't ask for this and who deserve two parents.

-- Sgt. Rudog



What Other Sign Do You Need?
Above is the story of a man who has lost his job, lost his family, lost his home and is now living out of his car because of his meth use, but he still insists that he doesn't have a problem! His reaction to his situation is the typical denial of an addict:
He blames his drug use on the behavior of his wife

He minimizes the effect his abusive behavior has had on others

He blames losing his job on his wife

He doesn't need help, he can quit anytime

What will it take for this guy to finally admit he has a problem? Will it take a trip to jail? The loss of his health? What will it take for him to hit bottom?
The answer is, nobody knows. For some, the threat of losing their family or their job is enough to wake them up. For some getting that first DUI is their "bottom." But for others 10 arrests won't slow them down. Addiction is a baffling disease, especially for the friends and family who try desperately, as this man's wife has done, to get them to see they have a problem.
Two Phases of Enabling


By Jeff Jay

Previous Article Next Article

When family members become concerned about a loved one's alcohol use, they will almost always do all the wrong things. Operating out of a sense of loyalty and love, they will unwittingly enable the disease to progress. Inevitably, the alcohol or other drug use becomes worse.

There are countless examples of how this may occur. Here are three stories that showcase enabling behavior.

1) A young woman in college is known to be drinking somewhat heavily. Her grades aren't what they should be. Finally, she drives her car into a parked vehicle while intoxicated. Legal problems arise.

Her parents run to the rescue, thinking: "She's just going through a phase. She can't be an alcoholic. She is our beloved daughter." Instead of getting professional help, her parents call a lawyer to deal with the legal trouble. Unwittingly, they diminish the negative consequences of their daughter's drinking. That is, they make the problem less of a problem for their daughter. In this way, they have enabled the problem to continue.

2) A young man with a wife and children is staying out too late. He is drinking with his buddies at a sports bar and occasionally using cocaine. The problem escalates over time and his behavior becomes erratic. He stays out all night. He begins to miss work. He spends the mortgage money.

His wife becomes frantic, and somehow blames herself for the problem. When he misses work, she calls in sick for him. When she is asked by his parents how things are going, she lies and says all is well. She is too ashamed and confused to reach out for help, yet she is unwittingly making things worse. Without knowing it, she has become his accomplice by averting negative consequences at work and smoothing over problems with his parents. She may even borrow money to cover the mortgage payment. Even though she begs and threatens, cries and pleads, his wife is now enabling the problem to continue.

3) A 74 year old woman has prescriptions from three different doctors, none of whom know what the other is prescribing. She is taking Xanax, Percodan, and Tylenol 3, along with a host of other medications. She also drinks at night, now that her husband has passed away. Despite the love of her children and grand children, she is an alcoholic and drug addict.

When she falls and breaks her hip, the accident is attributed to old age. But at 74, she is quite fit and completely independent. She has lost her balance and fallen in her own home because of her narcotic and benzodiazepine habit, along with her drinking.

The family will not acknowledge the problem. Although Grandma has been hard to deal with on certain family occasions, it is simply too much to deal with. And besides, they think, she deserves to have a drink or two after Grandpa's death. By turning away from the problem this family is enabling the problem.

There are two phases of enabling: innocent and desperate. The stories above are all examples of innocent enabling. The family members really don't know any better, and their rationalizations are holding up fairly well. In truth, they are in as much denial of the problem as the alcoholic.

At some point this changes. Perhaps the young woman from the first story continues drinking, and drinks even more. Finally, she has a second and more serious car accident, injuring herself and someone else. Now her family is terrified. "My God," they think, "she just can't stop drinking. She must be an alcoholic!"

Strangely enough, most family members still will not reach out for help. Instead, they will descend into the desperate stage of enabling. Recognizing that their daughter has a serious problem, her parents take drastic measures to cover it up. They cannot imagine their beloved daughter labeled as an alcoholic. She will never be accepted, much less get ahead. Now the family goes into high gear. They hire another lawyer, they transfer her to a new college, and they keep the incident quiet. They are afraid that they may be making things worse, but they are determined not to damage her reputation.

Of course, this only makes things worse. Their daughter has not received any treatment yet, and so the disease progresses. Although her parents know there is a serious alcohol problem, they see it as a moral issue and not a medical one. They are still enabling the disease to continue. Desperately enabling.

Most people suffering from chemical dependency have an enabling system. This system is comprised of well-meaning friends and family members who unwittingly help the disease to progress. The enablers may be the source of money or the things that money can buy, like food and shelter. They may be the source of alibis or services such as legal help. Or, they may simply ignore the problem.

Just as families can do a lot to make things worse, they can also help things get better. When the enabling system turns into an intervening system, the disease becomes much harder to maintain. Friends and family cannot cure chemical dependency, but they can have a very positive impact on the problem. Families can break the cycle of enabling in three ways:
1.Talk openly and honestly with the alcoholic about the problem. Stick to the facts and don't be judgmental. Talk about your own feelings, but don't try to inflict guilt. Only talk when the person is sober. Do not nag or scold. Talk about what you will do to help, and also talk about what you will no longer do to enable the problem. Also, talk openly and honestly with other family members about the problem, so everyone is on the same page.
2.Do not give or lend money for the addiction, or to cover debts caused by the addiction. For example, if the rent money has been spent at the bar, don't block the natural consequences of that action. Otherwise, one is only buying the next drink. However, if young children are involved, this strategy may not be appropriate. Be vigilant in protecting these silent victims of addiction.
3.Become involved in a program of recovery. Al-anon, Nar-anon, and Families Anonymous are invaluable resources. It is often too difficult to stop the enabling process without help and support from those who have been down this road. Join a group, and draw on their experience, strength, and hope.

Enabling can also take a toll on the family members themselves. Ironically, their attempts to control the situation may impact them physically and emotionally. Some of these negative consequences are discussed in our book, Love First: A New Approach to Intervention for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction:

"Loved ones who enable the alcoholic are at high risk for both physical and mental illnesses. Their stress may cause diseases in the family similar to those the alcoholic experiences.

"According to Dr. Max Schneider, an internist specializing in families of alcoholics, the people around the alcoholic suffer from higher incidences of gastritis, stroke, heart disease, insomnia, respiratory problems, anxiety, and depression. Dr. Schneider warns that the risk of accidents, homicide, and suicide are much higher among families living with active addiction.

"Desperate enabling causes every member of the family to suffer. Anger and disputes arise; blame is bounced from person to person, and the family unit itself is eventually damaged. Children are especially vulnerable to this phase of enabling. The adults in the family are so focused on keeping the alcoholic in line, they don't always notice what the children are going through. Make children your number-one responsibility. Be sure they are safe. Talk to them about alcoholism. Explain that it is a disease. It is nobody's fault, and the sick person can't help him-or herself. Give children a safe harbor, a person to talk to, and be honest with them. If you are aware of children who are living in danger because of a parent's addiction, it is your duty to act. For guidelines on helping children cope with a parent's alcoholism, contact the National Association for Children of Alcoholics."

With all the problems that result from the enabling process, one might wonder what causes people to become enablers in the first place. In the innocent stage of enabling, the answer is ignorance. Enablers at this stage have plenty of love and concern, but they have no effective knowledge to guide them. In the desperate stage of enabling, fear is the primary motivator. Here we find enablers who are so concerned about the continuing consequences of addiction that they will do almost anything to protect the status quo. Ironically, there is a good deal of pleasure to be found in successfully outrunning the consequences and escaping the pain. As we note in our book:

"When addiction causes a problem, we are in pain, too; when the problem is solved, we're relieved and our pain is reduced. Our feelings of relief are a form of pleasure. Once we go through the enabling cycle a few times, we're conditioned to expect a reduction of pain and increased pleasure as a result of our enabling behaviors. Since we feel better, we mistakenly believe enabling works. Of course, since the addiction has not been treated, more problems will continue to surface. The only way we can keep up with the problems is to find more and more ways to enable. Our enabling progresses as the disease progresses, and our lives become increasingly unmanageable."

When the enabling system turns into an intervening system, things begin to change. In the articles to come, the some of the techniques for planning and carrying out a structured intervention will be discussed. But there is an important interim step that can be taken short of a structured intervention. When a family detaches with love, in what can be called a soft intervention, they can protect themselves from the negative consequences of the addiction at the same time that they help the alcoholic to feel those consequences. A passage from Love First illustrates this point:

"The well-known 'Serenity Prayer' by Reinhold Niebuhr is the perfect recipe for detachment: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

"We are encouraged to see what we cannot change in other people, places, and things, but what we can change in ourselves. What does it take to do this? Wisdom and courage. And what is the result? Serenity. When we detach with love, we take our focus off the alcoholic and place it onto ourselves. When we focus on ourselves, we regain our power to make meaningful choices about what we do and what we don't do. By making this shift in our thinking and actions, the world around us changes. Our world becomes manageable, and we find peace."

This final passage from our book illustrates the problem and solution for many families:

"If you are focused on the alcoholic, you are focused on the problem. Take your eyes off the problem, and you'll no longer be trapped in the problem. Put your focus on yourself. Resign from your job as manager of the alcoholic's problems. Sign up for the team that creates solutions."


This article copyright ©2000 by Jeff Jay. Excerpts from "Love First" copyright © 2000-2008 Jeff Jay and Debra Jay. More information at:http://lovefirst.net/lovefirst.htm
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January 7th, 2012, 6:42 am #6

Intervention


By Jeff Jay

Previous Article Next Article

I am passionate about intervention for a very simple reason: intervention saved my life. My story is somewhat unusual, because I went further down the scale of addiction than many. But it is still a clear illustration of the power of intervention. In the first of this six-part series, I want to begin by telling you part of my story.

After years of chronic alcoholism and drug addiction, I was unable to help myself in any way. Although I had been a national merit scholar, president of my high school student association, and head of t he alter boys, I was now homeless and penniless. I had a bleeding ulcer, a bleeding colon, and neuropathy of the legs. I was unable to eat solid food and I was sleeping under bushes in the city parks.

But I still didn't think that I had an alcohol or drug problem. I just thought I had a little cash flow problem. Sitting on a park bench on a cold and rainy day, I thought: "If I can just get another twenty bucks together, everything will be all right."

There is nothing unusual in this thought process, because denial is the hallmark of addiction. For me, drinking was a solution, not a problem. On the contrary, anyone who got in the way of my solution became a problem. That is why people have so little success in trying to reason with alcoholics.

In the end, suicide seemed like a logical solution. I didn't understand that I had a disease, much less that effective treatment was available. All I could see was that I couldn't go on, and that I couldn't turn to my family and friends. I was alone in the world, bleeding internally, and wracked with pain. An old friend of mine had recently committed suicide, and it seemed like a good plan to me. I was twenty-six years old.

A miraculous confluence of events prevented my death. I had resolved to kill myself in the same manner as my friend, and I had made all the necessary preparations, including renting a dingy flophouse room to insure privacy. The next day would be my last, and like any good alcoholic, I decided to give myself a one-man going away party.

I frequently drank myself into blackouts, and that night was no exception. I can only report what has been told to me by others. Apparently I made a phone call across the country to an old girlfriend, Helen, in New York City, and told her about my brilliant plan. She realized that I meant business, and called my parents in Michigan. My mother, just the day before, had had a dream in which she heard a voice that told her: "You must find Jeff." Imagine then, their reaction to Helen's urgent call.

My parents got the number of the pay phone in the flophouse and called me at 8:30 the next morning. I was passed out and fully clothed, lying cross-wise on the bed when someone pounded on my door and bellowed something about a phone call. I stumbled down the corridor and down three flights of stairs to the basement. There was a pay phone on the wall with the receiver hanging down by its cord. I picked up the phone and was shocked to hear my father's voice. I hadn't spoken to my parents in a year, and I was sure that they didn't even know what city I was in. In response to their greeting, I said, "I cant' talk to you now. I'll call you back." I hung up the phone, held my head, and walked away.

I cannot begin to describe the depth of my humiliation and depression. I couldn't even commit suicide right! I headed out to the liquor store across the street, and then to the city park to drink my pint bottle of port wine out of a brown paper bag.

The sun was shining and the birds were singing as I slumped down onto the grass to drink. The tiny park in the middle of the big city was alive with people going to work and taking their morning exercise. My first chug brought up bloody sputum, as usual, but I continued to pull on the bottle, drinking the only medicine I had.

Fortified and determined to carry out my suicide plan, I finished off the small bottle, and got down to business. I would not fail this time. First, I resolved to call my parents, because I gave my word, and I didn't want to jinx myself by breaking my promise. Naturally, I wouldn't say anything about my suicide plan, but I would get them off my back. Then, I'd go back to the flophouse and get down to the simple business of ending my life.

There was a small bank of pay phones in the corner of the park, and I placed a call back to Michigan. I learned later that my parents had been consulting with someone about intervention, so they had a new approach in talking with me. There was no anger or recrimination. They were very calm and concerned. Their tone was disconcerting to me, because we hadn't had a calm conversation in years.

My father asked me a very simple question, which momentarily stunned me. There is nothing magic about this question, but at the time it stopped me right in my tracks. He asked, "Jeff, how are you doing?"

I simply couldn't reply. I thought to myself, "Well, how am I doing? I'm bleeding from both ends, I can hardly walk, and I'm getting ready to commit suicide. On a beautiful day, with the sun shining and the birds singing, and all the people going to work. How, indeed, am I doing?"

For some reason, I finally replied with the single most intelligent thing that I've ever said. I'm not sure where it came from, but I answered his question by saying: "I think I need to go into a hospital."

The next day, I began a medical detox that lasted 10 days. I was then transferred to a 28 day treatment program. Nothing worked until I got down on my knees and asked God for help. I had a spiritual experience that could fill its own book, after which I was able to follow the directions laid out for me by the treatment team. I followed those directions, one day at a time, with tremendous difficulty. Reaching out to others for help was not something that I was used to. But the program that they introduced me to worked, and I have been clean and sober since October 4, 1981.

My story did not involve a classic, structured intervention of the type that will be discussed in these articles. However, it was an intervention nonetheless, and it made the rest of my recovery possible. Intervention in one form or another has been an integral part of the recovery movement since the beginning. Bill Wilson did not go looking for Ebby; Ebby came to him. Dr. Bob adamantly refused to meet with Bill Wilson, and only relented under pressure from his wife and their friend, Henrietta Seiberling. And so on.

One of the most pervasive myths in our culture is that an alcoholic must hit bottom before he or she can be helped. But what is hitting bottom? You might hear an old hand say, "I didn't sober up until I lost everything: the job, the home, the wife, everything. Then they threw me in jail, and I knew I was at the end. I finally surrendered."

There can be many things that intervene on an alcoholic, that will break their denial and help them to accept help. It may be the loss of a job, a relationship, or health. It may be a legal or financial problem. In the example above, a series of unconnected and disorganized interventions took place to finally break the alcoholic's denial. This is commonly called "hitting bottom," but it is not the only way to start the recovery process.

The alternative is a structured family intervention. Intervention is a way of raising an alcoholic's bottom, so that they can get help now, before there are any more negative consequences.

My wife Debra and I are the authors of the new Hazelden guidebook on this subject. It is titled, "Love First: A Family's Guide to Intervention." In it we ask a simple question: "If alcoholics and addicts won't accept help until they're ready, what will it take to get 'em ready?"

Waiting for an alcoholic to hit bottom can be dangerous, or fatal. In the forward to our book, former senator George McGovern talks about the tragic death of his daughter Terry as a result of her alcoholism. He writes: "we were repeatedly told by well-meaning, supposedly informed friends that we would have to wait until Terry really hit bottom.' The trouble is that when she hit bottom,' she died."

If someone you love is suffering from addiction, whether this means alcohol, prescription medication, street drugs, or destructive behaviors; there is something that you can do about it. You may not be able to control another person's actions, but you can have a tremendous influence.

First, you can learn about the illness. Knowledge is power when dealing with this disease. Next, you can identify and stop your own enabling behaviors. These are often subtle and unconscious. Most families, operating out of simple love and concern, will do all the wrong things when trying to grapple with this illness.

The next step is to put together an intervention team. This means contacting the most significant people in the addict's life, and getting them all on the same page. Most family interventions fail because everyone has a different theory of addiction and a different approach to the problem. This is a recipe for disaster.

When the intervention team is organized and committed to action, detailed preparations must begin. I like to say that there are three keys to a successful intervention: Plan, Plan, Plan. We'll describe these plans, and provide a checklist that you can consult.

One of the primary goals of an intervention is to preserve the dignity of the alcoholic. Ultimately, they must agree to accept help. Our role is to help to help break their denial, so that they can make the best choice.

In "Love First," we have developed a powerful new technique for using love to disarm the addict's defense system, and to break denial. Everyone has heard of "tough love," but with a "love first" approach, you may never have to resort to a tough bottom line.

I have helped to facilitate interventions for many years now. It is a beautiful process, and one in which you, the friend or family member, can be a powerful instrument of God's love in the world. People suffering from addiction are not able to stop permanently on their own. And God doesn't usually work by lightning bolt. He works through people. People just like you.

In the articles to come, we will talk about this process in some detail. If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact us through the website, here.

Let me leave you now with this thought. When facing alcoholism and drug addiction, we need a miracle. And God sent you.

This article copyright ©2000 by Jeff Jay. Excerpts from "Love First" copyright © 2000-2008 Jeff Jay and Debra Jay. More information athttp://lovefirst.net/lovefirst.htm



More links on other articles on this issue:

http://www.lovefirst.net/xarticles/article3.htm

http://www.lovefirst.net/xarticles/article4.htm

http://www.lovefirst.net/xarticles/article5.htm

Last edited by seekingsoftly on January 7th, 2012, 6:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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