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Considering an Intervention...need help, advice, pointers please!

Considering an Intervention...need help, advice, pointers please!

Old 03-26-2013, 03:02 AM
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Considering an Intervention...need help, advice, pointers please!

Hello everyone. I'm posting today because my family, similar to many of yours, is suffering the affects of living with an alcoholic and addict.

My mother as been on anti-depressants and valium for 23years. About 15 years ago, she added alcohol to her list of coping devices. Our family has swept it all under the rug up until recently when my mother made a random decision to enter herself into an inpatient rehab. Sadly, she is in need of a serious dental surgery which we've known would require her to stop drinking for a prolonged and indefinite period of time. The sad part isn't so much that she needs a surgery, but that I suspect that her choice to confront her alcoholism was based on "consequence-driven" rationale.

She was detoxed from the valium and alcohol at the detox center. Her valium was replaced by a non-addictive substitute. She was then moved to the rehab we had set up for her, and it turned out that they didn't feel their facility was fit to deal with my mother because it was confirmed by the doctors that she had an eating disorder. They moved her to another facility(which she screamed and fought over) that was better suited to deal with her specific needs (people who suffer from addiction, mental health disorders, and eating disorder). She felt cornered when she was called out on her eating habits, and she basically insisted that she come home. She screamed "abuse!" and "neglect" were occurring at the rehab... but again I suspect that her desire to leave occurred because she was confronted with a dismal reality... that she was going to have to do a lot more work than she ever thought, and unearth a lot of unresolved issues that she dismisses as no big deal. She even still insists that since she hasn't had a drink, she is recovered. She doesn't feel that there is more to recovery other than removing alcohol. Her problem was she needed dental surgery and quitting drinking was the solution. No drink= problem solved.

Before she came home, we set boundaries for her about what we expected upon her return. Coming home wasn't going to mean that we were going to let her recovery slip away, or allow her to say "oops forget it guys, I don't want to stop." The deal was she would come home, be transparent and authorize family into all doctors appts, she'd go to 6 mtngs/ per wk, attend therapy for her eating issues, make a schedule and stick to it, etc. No doubt she would have signed off on anything just attain that plane ticket home. As expected, she agreed to the terms, and my father flew her home.

She has been home for 2 weeks now. She has since resumed her valium use, which she was 20 days detoxed from, and is now doing twice the amount that she was taking pre-detox(she had been getting issued 20mgs a day but only taking 10mgs bc she feared taking more an mixing in her daily dose of alcohol. Now she is taking 20mgs bc her dr thinks that was what she was taking before). She lies to her shrink and refuses my admittance into her appts. Although she has maintained sobriety from alcohol for the past 30 days, she is on a higher dose of valium now than she was before she went into detox.

I've taken myself temporarily away from my work to assist at home since my family all have jobs that they cannot afford time away from. I've been urging my mother to read books on meditation, spirituality, the AA books, etc. She has no interest. Despite her promise to make 6 mtngs a week, we have only made it to 5 mtngs over the past 2 weeks since she has returned. As each day passes, she keeps trying to find ways to not go to AA... she complains defensively that "she's not like those people." I know she should get to the mtngs, even if she isn't really into it at first. I ask her what she wants to do for her recovery if not AA, and she has no answer other than, "I'll find the power in myself. I can do this on my own."

I've begun to make more serious ultimatums in more stressed conversations recently. I told her that if she doesn't stick to her new downsized commitment to attend 4 mtngs per week, that I will no longer be involved in her life. Tonight was a major fallout as she's trying to refuse to live up to that commitment, and doesn't want to go to her mtng tomorrow.

Here is the yolk of the current debacle: If she refuses for the next week or two to do anything proactive to repair her damaged mind, do we sit back and watch? I tend to think of that as enabling. So then is the right step to have a family style intervention? Is it time for us to lay down clear boundaries as a family and start coming to terms with the idea of possibly having to remove her from our homes and lives? Is an intervention too severe of a method for someone who has been sober from alcohol but has been living on a higher dose of valium?

Additionally, my father is having major issues with enabling. Does anyone have any literature they can recommend? He is gong to al-anon mtngs, but he hasn't yet found someone to speak with one-on-one for advice. He does say that he will leave my mom if needed, but when he is in front of her, he will not say that. He whispers it to me behind the scenes, despite my telling him that these are boundaries that he must make her aware of.

Any advise would be sooo much appreciated! Thanks for taking the time to read and advise!!!
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:26 AM
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I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this. I don't really have any advice just wanted to let you know you've been heard.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:51 AM
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Find a professional to set up your intervention if you move forward. Family is too close and cannot be objective.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:57 AM
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Gosh you have been on quite the roller coaster ride......

As for interventions - I will make just a few comments but wait for someone who has been more involved with them to come along. They traditionally aren't effective, yet there are families that have been successful with them. I guess it depends on what you are looking to get out of it. I don't see anything wrong with as a group telling her she can not live amongst you if she is using. You really need everyone to get on board though and to stick to it. Will they? Because the worst thing that you can do with an addict is set a boundary and then not keep it.

Given his actions I am doubting that Dad is ready to enforce the boundary he is whispering. What exactly is the living situation here with your mom? Are ya'll living together under the same roof?

Benzodiazepam's react on the same portion of the brain as alcohol. So your mom has just stepped up another addiction to counter the effects of the withdrawel from alcohol. Sadly, without a desire to recover the chances of her drinking again are very high. Benzo's and alcohol are a poor mix - you probably already know this from your experience before.

So the 3 c's of addiction are you didn't cause it, you can't control it and you can't cure it. The one thing you can do is decide to no longer be a co-dependent or an enabler to it. stopping these behaviors MAY have an effect on the addict. It sounds like your mom has a number of enablers in her life. Now you are one, you are there helping and she is back to old tricks. Ultimatums DO NOT WORK. Its not about trying to force her to "behave". Rather its about making decisions about what YOU will allow and not allow to happen in your own life. Boundaries - think well before you make them. As I stated above the worst thing you can do is to lay a boundary and then not enforce it. If you are at the point where you are prepared to have nothing to do with her then fine - but it can't be a half way thing - not talking to her for a week then resuming conversation.

Addicts are manipulative liars. They will do whatever it takes and say whatever they have to to protect their addiction. They will tug on heart strings and then stomp all over the heart of the person they belong too. As for your dad Al Anon is the best place for him to be. A great book is Codependent No More by Melanie Beattie. He needs to work the steps in Al Anon to end his co dependent and enabling behaviors. To recover as a family all must recover not just the addict.

Sorry for the reasons you are here - and welcome to SR. Read, and post often. This is a good place to be in the situation you are dealing with.
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by WarmHands View Post
and she has no answer other than, "I'll find the power in myself. I can do this on my own."

I don't know about you, but as an adult I do not want someone telling me how I should live my life.

Your mother may be acting in defiance to your requests. It is said that an addict is stunted emotionally when they start using. They do not mature emotionally from the time they start using in an addictive manner. So that means your mother may have the rebellious attitude of a young adult striking out on their own.

You are trying to take control of her recovery, her addiction and her consequences.

I learned about the 3 C's of my loved ones addiction:

I did not Cause it
I can not Control it
I will not Cure it

It took some time for me to accept that concept, and when I finally did I was able to give the responsibility of controlling the addiction back to the adult with the issue.

By giving your mother the opportunity to find her own path of recovery, or not, you are giving her the dignity to own her own choices. That includes consequences when she fails.

If you stay involved in this situation by monitoring her progress (or lack thereof), she will likely blame you for interfering with her recovery if she fails.
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:35 AM
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Dear WarmHand, I am in agreement with the comments that you have recieved thius far.

It does seem, to me, that with the VERY BEST HUMAN INTENTIONS, you all have been unwittingly enabling your mother. Active addiction tosses the normal "rulebook" of what is useful in healthy relationships on it's head. Many of those rules have the opposite effect when addiction is involved.

A couple of things that I would underline: (1) If you decide to go forward with the intervention--make sure it is supervised by very experienced and competent professionals. (2) Since your dad is already involved in alanon (yea), it would be a good move to support this. Maybe you all could join him. He may be as addicted to enabling as you mother is to the substances.

Another move that I have always endorced, it to find some longtimers in AA. Those who have been in recovery for many years; who have worked the steps. These are good people to talk to because they have seen it all---and nobody understands an alcoholic like other alcoholics.

I know your pain an d my heart goes out to you and your family.

I hope these thoughts are of some help to you.

very sincerely, dandylion
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Pelican View Post
You are trying to take control of her recovery, her addiction and her consequences.

By giving your mother the opportunity to find her own path of recovery, or not, you are giving her the dignity to own her own choices. That includes consequences when she fails.
I agree with this above, and have taken the same stance with my own Mother. We haven't spoken in many months, because I refuse to participate in her mental illness-fueled behavior, or agree with her spins on reality. I made it clear that I couldn't have a relationship with someone who is not emotionally present.

My family has talked at great length about things to do to trick her into treatment. I am always the one pointing out her rights.

Adults have the right to do as they please until they run afoul of the laws of this country. Until then, if they want to be crazy, run around drunker than a skunk until they keel over, marry con-artists more than half their age, run naked through the woods...it is their choice and their right to self-determination.

I don't have anything against interventions - it can be a good way for the family to clearly identify their boundaries and uphold them as a united front. But don't do it thinking you are going to force her to change anything.

And get a professional to do it - someone who can speak the language of addictions.
Good luck!
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:42 PM
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I have dealt with a professional interventionist. Here's the tricky part about setting up an intervention. Those who are involved have to ALL be on the same page. If your Dad isn't ready to follow through on boundaries, the intervention will not be successful. And they're not cheap. Those involved get a chance to tell the A what effect this situation has had on them. The interventionist typically has rehab set up and waiting. Each person lets the A know what the consequences will be if they don't seek treatment. Here's the hard part: you MUST follow through on those consequences! So if you tell the A that you can't be part of their life anymore if they don't go to treatment today, and they don't go, you MUST walk away. If they decide to go to treatment, it happens then....not 2 weeks from now. And she can still decide after 2 days to come home again...that's where you all have to stick to boundaries and not let her back in. I don't sense your Dad is ready for that.

Sounds like you have all set a lot of rules for your Mom, and stuck by none of them. You have even gone so far as to take time away from your job to step in and take care of things. Respectfully, that is not your role and it does not help the A. Your Mom is an adult, and entitled to her choices no matter how much they suck. You can't do anything about that. But you CAN decide to learn about co-dependency and make better choices for yourself. I would suggest you and other family members seek AlAnon. Work on yourselves first before you try an intervention.
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