It was believed by professionals in the drug and alcohol treatment
field, and even those recovering in A.A., that a practicing
alcoholic/addict must reach “bottom” before he/she would benefit from
any kind of help for his/her addiction.
Many were allowed to lose their jobs, families, material belongings,
health, and even their lives before they were presented with some form
of reprieve from their disease. More found his/her “bottom” in death
than in recovery. Instead of waiting for an addicted individual to
reach their “bottom” today a crisis can often be precipitated so that
treatment becomes an accepted alternative. This is called an intervention.
Intervention is a process in which a chemical/activity abusing or
other addicted individual is confronted by caring members (CAREFRONTING)
about his/her environment. In the carefrontation, the
dependent/addicted individual is helped to take an accurate and
realistic look at how the substance or activity is affecting the people
who are important and many of the situations around them.
Intervention is not aimed at just getting the dependent/addicted
person to seek treatment, but it takes place on the environment. It
changes it so that the person can no longer comfortably exist. When the
environment no longer “enables” the person, he/she will become more
available for treatment.
The “NO TALK” rule is the most destructive of all enabling
behaviors. It helps the person to continue the delusion that “it’s not
that bad”, and when this exists, recovery is impossible.
Enabling of family/friends:
- Expecting the dependent/addicted person to be rational
- Expecting him/her to control his/her drinking or behavior.
- Accepting blame for his/her problems
PARTICIPATING IN THE SAME BEHAVIORS WITH THE PERSON
JUSTIFYING THE BEHAVIOR WITH EXCUSES
KEEPING FEELINGS INSIDE—Do not want to rock the boat
AVOIDANCE—saying “it’s not that bad, at least he doesn’t beat me up”.
PROTECT—because of the image of the family or self
LECTURING—over and over
TAKING OVER RESPONSIBILITIES—letting him/her off the hook
FEELING/ACTING SUPERIOR—treating the person like a child
CONTROLLING—saying “let’s skip the party this evening”
WAIT—God will take care of this
ENDURING—this too will pass
Enabling by professionals:
- Failure to make proper diagnosis
- Failure to identify symptoms
- Failure to confront patients that appear to arrive for appointments under the influence
- Prescribing sedatives for “nervousness” and refilling prescriptions without examinations
- Failure to identify dependency as a disease
- Praying for recovery (without referring to any treatment)
- Moralistically attacking the behavior
- Attempting to manipulate through “guilt trips”
- Accepts missed deadlines and sloppy work
- Accepts being late for work/or leaving work early
- Accepts adjusting schedules around lunch
- Accepts obvious lies and continues paying
This all leads up to the behavior that causes the most problems in chemical dependency or other dependencies—the NO TALK RULE
If the family won’t talk, and the employer won’t talk, and the clergy
won’t talk, HOW will we ever get the person to talk and seek treatment?
Schedule an assessment with an interventionist and learn how you can
save the life of your loved one. You will be starting the best walk of
your life with those who understand and are willing to help you.