Since our last blog a few days ago we have received a large number of calls from people who are experiencing the same problems we wrote about. In some cases we were able to give some simple advice to them to enable them to start the process of helping their loved one and in other cases we were able to start the process of a family intervention, with or without professional help. We feel that some further general points of guidance might prove useful, but dealing with an alcoholic or drug addict is a difficult process and we, at The Providence Project, have trained and experienced counsellors available to take your call and help free of charge.
The first thing to bear in mind when dealing with your friend or family member is that he or she is not a bad person, but is someone who may be suffering from a medically proven disease. A person who is suffering from such a disease behaves in an abnormal way often causing considerable hurt and distress to themselves and to those closest to them. The addicted person is often aware of the harm they are doing to those around them and this adds to their feelings of uselessness and low self-worth. Criticism and blame in those instances can sometimes make the situation even worse. It must be made clear that the approach is being made because you care about the life and health of your friend or relative and you want to let them know how this behaviour is impacting on the lives of those around them. We have often seen situations where an alcoholic has long since ceased to care about the effect of his or her drinking has on their own life, but is persuaded to do something about their problem when they discover at first hand the devastating effect it is having on their children.
A concerted approach made jointly by the friends and family of the addicted person is usually more effective than a series of isolated approaches. At The Providence Project we often work with professional family interventionists around the country who can help by co-ordinating the approach or merely by advising on the form and timing that should be adopted. It is also of vital importance that a programme of drug rehab or alcohol rehab is readily available immediately after the intervention and this is another area where our trained counsellors can help by advising you of the available options.