No matter what the drug–when I took it, bought it, prepared it or used it–I knew what I was doing was inherently wrong. But, that didn’t stop me. I preferred to believe it wasn’t as bad as my family made it out to be, or that I could control it and that the obstacles I faced were somehow not my fault (or were all my fault).
I would ruminate, “If people would only believe in me,” or, “I just need this one thing paid for.” But getting clean was something I put off because I was sure that my being stoned wasn’t the problem. The way I looked at it, getting high made my problems more bearable.
I had no idea what was wrong with me, but I believed that if I only had a job or my rent paid, I could regain my footing and live the way I knew I could and should. I would think, “Right after this bag of meth, this bottle of vodka, this bag of pot, that’s when I’m going to get my life together.” But, that day never came: This is the cage most addicts and alcoholics live in.
Families sometimes think the solution is to move their loved one a thousand miles away. Invariably however, his problems follow. Prison inmates, for example, are sometimes clean for years and yet, once freed, they return to their addictions. This is because the underlying reasons for the addiction are not actually confronted or repaired, so the condition continues.
Over time, the addict or alcoholic becomes further conflicted with himself and retreats more and more into the comfort of a chemical embrace. He begins to perceive himself as a victim, blaming others for his problems. At a certain point, the drugs or alcohol are merely a retreat from the worst of it and, while they may soften an addict’s perception of his decline, at the same time they worsen it. Ironically, the self-serving addict ends up with less and less until he has nothing left at all, another example of why addiction is a prison, a black hole which evolves beyond his control, a rip-tide drowning him.
Luckily, many addicts have loving families who reject our invitations for self-annihilation and seek ways to rescue us instead.
The real solution is to get the person back to being his true self again, unburdened from his past transgressions and able to make decisions based on conscience with the potential to live a purposeful life. The fact that you are reading this shows that you believe it can be done. And you’re right, it can.
A good intervention is simply the first step, albeit an important one.
While helpful guidelines exist, no formula fits every situation. Even after reading every book on the subject, including this one, you won’t have every answer you need. My hope is to instill in you a sense of navigation so that when unique situations arise you can face them effectively.
I can point you in the right direction, but the story of your intervention is a path you must walk yourself. In any case, I hope you find perspective here, learn to have patience and how best to take action and, most of all, to persevere.
Families often ask me, “What if we fail?” But the better question is, “What if you succeed?”