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This is a guest post from interventionist and family counselor Ricki Townsend,. Ricki volunteers to lead Clean & Sober Recovery Services' FREE and confidential family support meetings. Call us at (916) 990-0190 to learn more.

There are 23 million Americans living in active, long-term recovery. Addicts make the choice to use and abuse and to be miserable; or they can wake up and say, “Enough is enough. I know that I need to and am able to stop this horrible way of living.” We can choose to suffer with our loved ones, or we can say, “I am not willing to participate in your destruction. You can be a part of my life only if you seek and stick with recovery.” Those are tough but powerful words, and I have seen them galvanize tremendous change.

Read more: How taking care of YOUSELF might spur a loved one into treatment

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This is a guest post from interventionist and family counselor Ricki Townsend,. Ricki volunteers to lead Clean & Sober Recovery Services' FREE and confidential family support meetings. Call us at (916) 990-0190 to learn more.

As an interventionist and family counselor, I’ve frequently been asked when an intervention is called for, and here’s the answer, in a nutshell: An intervention comes about when a family has tried everything and is at the end of their rope. They have exhausted every approach: crying, screaming, watching like a hawk, grounding teens or even leaving their spouse for a while. They may have also had their fill of visits to the Emergency Room and have perhaps even witnessed a close call from an overdose. They are exhausted, and they are becoming depleted – physically, mentally and emotionally — much like their beloved addict. Finally, they call out for help, most likely because another crisis is on the doorstep or just around the corner.

When that time comes, the healthiest and most successful approach would be to work with a board-registered interventionist. It is important for families to work with a professional interventionist who is not acquainted with the “addicted loved one” because the therapeutic relationship needs to be objective in order to be successful. There needs to be detachment from persons and personalities.

It is also critical to use a board-registered interventionist who has been trained in many elements of the intervention process. A board-registered interventionist should possess the range of expertise and experience to keep the calm in the room and be able to handle any situation that arises.

An interventionist will work with the family before and after the actual intervention, including selecting a treatment center based on the loved one’s needs. Some families need a rehab nearby; others need one far, far away. Some teens need intense, long-term treatment in a wilderness camp setting. Some parents need to go to a treatment center to disengage from their own destructive co-dependency and enabling. How do you know what your family needs to get healthy? That is why you call in a professional to determine what the family needs, rather than take matters into your own hands.

Blessings,
Ricki Townsend, BRI-1, CAS, RAS

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The US Surgeon General recommends that people consider stocking the overdose antidote naloxone (Narcan) if they have a friend or family member who is at risk of an overdose. That could include someone who has been prescribed an opioid such as OxyContin and accidentally takes too many, or someone who is discharged from addiction treatment or from jail, after which tolerance falls and relapses can be deadly. Get your naloxone here.

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Intentionally crashing your car or breaking your bones? There’s no candy-coating the desperate actions people may take to satisfy the incessant cravings of an addicted brain. You’ll get a gut-wrenching sense of that desperation from the "Stop Youth Opioid Abuse" ad campaign, recently announced by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Will the campaign work? Judge for yourself by viewing the tragic lengths that some teens and young adults went through to feed the monster of their addiction.

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