Recovery From Addiction and Mental Health Starts On the Inside
The way your family is addressing the problem may be drawing you further away from a solution.
The family member with a substance use or mental health disorder is often viewed as the cause of the problem. Although a valid point of view, the way the family roles change in response to the chaos and drama of the addiction and mental health concerns is equally problematic.
Who we are and how we came to be
Family First Intervention
All too often, those with substance use or mental disorders take center stage, whether through their addiction and poor choices tearing families and communities apart or during treatment by acting out volatile emotions and behaviors.
The family is often forgotten in this drama. We started Family First Intervention to meet an unaddressed need in dealing with the addiction and mental health problem and, hopefully, provide a solution. We believe that rare is the loved one with a mental disorder, drug addiction, or who is an alcoholic capable of sustaining a comfortable situation (i.e., the addiction) without assistance from someone or something else. With all we know about addiction, mental health, and dual diagnoses, and with all the opinions and theories as to what works best, we have witnessed one thing, both professionally and personally, that appears to be nonnegotiable for the treatment process to begin. That nonnegotiable is some form of recognition of the hardships and consequences of addiction and mental health behavior. We do not believe these things alone get or keep anyone sober or stabilized. We do believe it is the most impactful way to start the process. To move through the stages of change, at least from pre-contemplation (denial) to contemplation (awareness that a problem exists), ambivalence needs to be introduced into the situation. Until the loved one with a substance use or mental disorder sees a greater need to seek help than not, it is inevitable that little to nothing will change.
Families often play a larger role in the life of their loved one with a substance use or mental disorder than they may realize.
Many believe the problem is either solely the addiction or mental health. Families almost always default to a mental health concern, even when alcohol and drug use is present or obvious. Many do this to convince themselves that enabling is necessary to help their loved one who is a victim of mental health concerns. For many, it is easier to justify enabling a mental health disorder than an addiction. Very few see early on that the shifting of the family system due to enabling and ineffective strategies for coping with the problem is of equal importance and requires attention. If an addict, alcoholic, or someone with mental health concerns is comforted by the family, he or she may never see the need for change and ask for help. Families react, engage, and enable for various reasons. Some of these reasons may include their own family of origin, guilt, shame, and the role of being needed in the relationship. Others may feel that serving as the loved one’s caretaker will prevent things from becoming worse. What we know and see today is that families often enable and react to chaos in exchange for the comfort they receive. Families receive comfort as well by avoiding a confrontation. Interestingly enough, therapeutic confrontation is one of the most effective intervention tools professionals use to bring about change within a group. The fear of change must become secondary to the fear of staying the same. Until then, all those involved are likely to have further struggles.
We believe in our mission, values, and goals statements. Remaining faithful to our purpose reveals itself in our performance. By focusing on families and remembering what we are trying to accomplish, we can help improve upon our goals. We know from experience that the families who use our services see their loved ones do far better in treatment than those whose families fail to change as well. Common reasons for a successful outcome include family boundaries, self-awareness, education, insight, and accountability with regard to a loved one with a substance use or mental disorder.
Our outcome measures are essential to determine if what you are doing is working. It allows us to add or deduct services. When something is working, we continue doing it and always look for new ways to see if it can be improved upon. If it is not working, we look for how it can be corrected or if it needs to be removed from our program altogether. We believe that by retaining the best staff who share the same belief in our mission, vision, values, and goals, we can provide you with the most effective intervention services to help you and your loved one achieve your goals.
An intervention is not about how to control your loved one with a substance use or mental health disorder; it is about learning how to let go of believing you can.
Our goal is to help you set and achieve your goals
Empathetic listening to a family allows us to hear and understand what your needs and goals are. During this process, we seek to achieve a clear understanding of what your family and the loved one with a substance use or mental disorder is experiencing, what may be needed, and the impact on the family structure. Families often aren’t aware of what they want or need when they call—they only want the madness to stop. We frequently hear families say they just want their loved one out of the house, to address their mental health, or for him or her to stop using drugs or using alcohol. Other times, families may tell us “if their loved one could just find a meaningful job, take their medication, find the right medication, or a meets a significant other,” that would be all they hope for. We try to help families understand that although these are helpful goals at some point in the process, they may not be appropriate for an immediate or long-term solution. One of our goals is to provide education, self-awareness, and insight into how our intervention services work. Things the family never considered may need to be addressed, e.g., issues that are holding the family back from being made whole and the loved one with a substance use or mental disorder from seeking help.
We help you to understand addiction and mental health recovery through a fresh perspective
If you have been part of any type of counseling, you may have heard the term “meet them where they are.” At Family First Intervention, we most certainly meet you where you are, and we also try to help you understand why you are where you are, as this will ultimately help you in your family recovery. Our goal is to help bring you to a new way of looking at things to better address the problem. Most of “where you are” and what you know has been seen through the perspective of a substance user, a person with a mental health concern, and family members who may not be the best source of information and guidance. There are also those who have an opinion on how the situation should be handled. All the advice from those sources may be quite sincere, but is it effective? We look forward to sharing some of our solutions with you while we help you understand and come to embrace them. We know the fear of change, of the unknown, causes many to cling to the status quo. We seek to build trust and walk you through the process. The more you know what the change can and will be, the less fearful of it you may become. The following is a list of some of our objectives and methods for achieving agreed-upon goals:
Objective: Increase self-awareness of family behaviors that may complement the lifestyle of their loved one with a substance use or mental health disorder.
Method: Provide education and insight through our intervention process, including the initial consultation.
Objective: Initiate and increase family recovery efforts.
Method: Offer our S.A.F.E.™ (Self Awareness Family Education™) following the intervention to provide continued support and accountability for family recovery.
Objective: Attend and increase participation in individual therapy and self-help groups such as Al-Anon, ACOA, CoDA, and Families Anonymous.
Method: Discuss the participation of the family, the importance of the family’s recovery, and the benefits of the family changing its behaviors and reducing its reactivity, regardless of the loved one’s willingness to do the same.
Objective: Increase the likelihood the loved one with a substance use or mental disorder will accept help and enter a rehabilitation program.
Method: Provide an intervention facilitated by a professional in which the family has the opportunity to therapeutically speak and interact with their loved one with an interventionist acting as a mediator.
Objective: Increase retention and completion rates for the substance user in treatment. This will allow your loved one to be stabilized, brought to a baseline, properly diagnosed, and effectively treated for possible underlying or primary mental disorders.
Method: Provide the family with support, education, and awareness of boundaries while holding the loved one accountable, even if he or she chooses to stop engaging in recovery efforts.
An Overview of Our Mental Health, Drug, and Alcohol Intervention Process
What makes Family First Intervention different is this: we are a team. Although there are many good intervention professionals who can help, most operate alone or with only a few others in their organization. Our process starts with a call or a chat with a live person or filling out a contact form which receives prompt attention. Beginning with the initial contact, it is our responsibility to listen to you, to hear where you are, and to see how we can help. Most families do not know what they want, but even when they do, they don’t know how to achieve it. By listening, we can understand how best to proceed.
Once scheduled, the next step is to put the intervention together. We base much of our assessment on knowledge received from the family. During this process, we ask a series of questions based on three tools which are industry standards in substance use. The first tool is the DSM V Diagnostic Criteria for substance use disorder. This tool helps classify the disorder as mild, moderate, or severe. A second tool is the Addiction Severity Index (5th edition) which helps us understand different problem areas in the substance user’s life, including Medical, Employment, Support, Alcohol and Drug use, Family, Social, and Mental Illness. The third tool is based on criteria from ASAM, the American Society of Addiction Medicine. These criteria are almost always used for treatment planning. Although we are not a treatment center, it is this tool that helps us know the needs of a client entering treatment.
The 6 Dimensions of ASAM criteria are:
Detox and Withdrawal Potential. This helps us understand the client’s needs for medical supervision during the detoxification period. Almost every client entering treatment will go to detox for 24-hour supervision, even if needs are not met in this area.
Dimension 2: Biomedical Conditions and Complications. This dimension addresses health concerns and physical abilities. It allows us to understand if special accommodations are required or if there is a need for medical appointments while in treatment.
Dimension 3: Emotional, Behavioral, or Cognitive Conditions and Complications. Dimension 3 helps us understand any mental health concern, and it allows us to learn more about the thoughts and emotions of the substance user.
Dimension 4: Readiness to Change. Most intervention clients are at the contemplation stage, meaning they are aware of the problem. Only a handful are in the pre-contemplation stage, i.e., in denial of any problem or the need for change. One of the many goals of the intervention is to help them see the need for change and to compare the pros and cons of both.
Dimension 5: Relapse, Continued Use, or Continued Problem Potential. Although it may seem strange for an intervention company to seek this kind of information, understanding the substance user’s history helps us recognize the risks associated with the treatment plan. A substance user who meets the criteria in this dimension may not be a candidate for a treatment center curriculum that has failed in the past or one that is short-term and in the same environment where the substance user may continue to struggle.
Dimension 6: Recovery/Living Environment. This dimension is equally important for the same reasons mentioned in Dimension 5. Returning home or to the same location is not always in the best interest of the substance user or the family. Ongoing support in a stable environment is often recommended, even early on in the treatment plan.
After the assessment is completed and the days of the intervention are determined, we come to meet with you in your home or at an agreed-upon location. Those in attendance include all willing family participants. The loved one being intervened upon does not attend and is not aware of the pre-intervention meeting. The goal of that day is to provide the family with insight, knowledge, and self-awareness. A Family First Intervention manual is provided to each family member as a guide in order to set a foundation for accountability and boundaries for the substance user who may or may not have an underlying or primary mental health disorder. This eye-opening process will bring much clarity to the struggle the family has faced and the reasons why we have been brought together. During the pre-intervention, families will hopefully see the importance of engaging in their own recovery and understanding they have little to no control over the addiction or mental disorder. There is a big difference between wanting help and having to seek help. Families will understand that, in most cases, they have played a role in the loved one not asking for help. The pre-intervention meeting will include (1) preparing the intervention letters that will be read during the intervention and (2) constructing and preparing boundaries in the event the loved one declines help. The boundary letters apply at all times should the loved one try to leave treatment or complete treatment and then experience a relapse at a later time.
Once the pre-intervention is complete, the next step is the intervention meeting that includes the family and the loved one. This event almost always happens the following day. At this meeting and under the guidance of the interventionist, family members read their letters and inform the substance user of the gift of recovery that is available to him or her. The family is essentially informing the substance user of a path to recovery alongside the family’s decision to begin its own path to recovery, set in place by professionals and family members. The intervention is not about whether the loved one agrees or not to accept help. Rather, the goal is to accept the loved one’s decision and, notwithstanding that decision, for the family to start its healing process and to set healthy boundaries. Regardless of the loved one’s decision, things will never be as they were previously.
Before the process begins, families often think they are bringing in a miracle worker to offer a motivational speech to convince their loved one to enter treatment. Although there is much discussion about the need to accept help, it is just as important that families understand the process is also about them taking care of themselves going forward. After all, addiction and mental health affect the family as much, if not more, than the loved one needing treatment for their substance use or mental health disorder. The family needs to understand that what they expect their loved one to do is something they will have to do themselves: undertake the recovery journey, too.
After the intervention is complete, the family will be invited to enter our S.A.F.E™ Family Recovery Coaching (S.A.F.E™ is an acronym for self-awareness family education™), which includes an introduction and orientation call to familiarize the family with the process. The structure that follows is a module-based system that educates you and helps your family stay on track with recovery and growth. The goal of this process is to create self-awareness, to understand misplaced emotions, to lessen the reactivity to your loved one’s actions, and for the family to learn how to accept and live with the changes that have happened.
Call Today to Schedule a Professional Intervention
Waiting for the loved one with addiction or mental health concerns, or other family members to take the first step toward change may never occur. The complexity of what has happened within the family structure is often a barrier to asking for help. While we wait for the loved one in need of substance use or mental health treatment to ask for help, it is ok for your family to seek solutions. Along with professional intervention and guidance, family members are often the only ones who can make change happen.
You can help a friend or family member with a mental health disorder, drug addiction, or alcohol use problem immediately by reaching out to us at (888)-291-8514.