Part One: The Pre-Intervention
Before moving to Woodstock, NY, I was an interventionist in New York City. After training at the Arms Acres outpatient clinic, I worked in conjunction with Dr. Jacob Sperber, an addiction specialist, and together we helped addicts and their families discover lasting recovery. After witnessing the plethora of substance abuse in my practice in NYC and when I decided to move upstate, I imagined it might be less so as an interventionist in the Hudson Valley. It’s almost ironic that in Woodstock, NY I’m doing about the same amount of interventions that I did in the city.
The destructive force of addiction is universal in its patterns and dynamics whether in the city or the country. However, having worked with so many clientele over the years it is important to understand the unique configuration of issues that each intervention presents.
Considering that every family system is different, it’s important for me to identify who the key “co-addicts” are. Meaning that some family members and or friends will be enabling the addict in more dramatic ways than others will be. Usually these family members or friends don’t even recognize their role in the addiction. These members need to be immediately educated and supported in understanding their contribution to the family disease of addiction. The so called “silent” members also need to understand that they too are contributing to the systemic crisis. This family/group work is the “pre-intervention” part of the intervention.
Once each member of the group comprehends the role they are playing, behaviors can begin to change. The group can then shift from being co-dependent to being pro-active and truly ready to participate in the intervention. The members will be ready to talk directly to the addict about how the addict’s behavior has affected them and how they feel. They will be able to do this without shaming or verbally attacking the addict and will be talking in the spirit of support and compassion.