Struggling to Decide


Dr. Ellis discusses how addiction excels at keeping people around it off balance and in doubt. He then describes common signs of addiction that should help you decide if you need to take action.

The idea of an intervention is intimidating to many families. They struggle to decide and often end up doing nothing usually because of a lack of information about intervention. So the addiction wins and continues to entrap their loved one, perhaps for years, as he or she bumps along the bottom or falls even further into the dreadful consequences of addiction.

In considering intervention, here is the chief question families must answer: “What would happen if everyone in the family, along with close friends, went to the addict in an outpouring of love and presented a solid plan for recovery?” (adapted from Debra Jay, No More Letting Go, p. 8). An intervention is an act of love from a group of united, caring, and informed loved ones who present a reasonable plan for recovery to an addicted person.

The most common mistakes families make in considering intervention:

  • “We’re letting go.” I prefer the word detach, as in the family detaches from the behavior of the addiction, and this is a good and necessary step for families to take, but only when every reasonable intervention technique is exhausted should we let someone freefall.
  • Approaching the addict one on one. This usually takes the form of something like “her husband talked to her and she threw a fit!” There has probably been a long line of individual family members that have tried to get the addict to change, but one-on-one the addict always wins. He knows how to push the buttons of family members and deny, divert, divide, and debate.
  • “We’re afraid of making things worse.” Often family members fear the addict’s anger or threats, and thus do nothing. It’s a recipe for inertia, and the addiction wins. We never conquer anger with more anger, and we never conquer anger by doing nothing. Love conquers all things.
  • “She’s already said no.” Of course she said no. The addiction is telling her to say no. Ask yourself this question, “what would it take to get her to say yes?” The collective love and will of a team of caring people is a very powerful psychological and spiritual dynamic. Addiction owns the brain, so the people that love the addict appeal to the heart of the addict in a planned, united, and reasonable manner.

If you’re struggling with the idea of moving forward with an intervention, consider a meeting or conference call with Dr. Terry Ellis to discuss your concerns.

Also read Love First  by Jeff and Debra Jay. As the title suggests it describes a loving approach to getting your loved one into recovery. Bottom line: be informed. This may be the first time you’ve dealt with addiction in your family. Dr. Ellis deals with this daily. Don’t make a decision without proper investigation. We’re here to help.

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