By: Michael Plahn
Following is a flat-out myth that I have encountered with multiple clients and prospective clients in the past few weeks; it is a commonly accepted view held by many (even some in recovery, who are unaware of proven clinical methods) about the addicted or persons suffering from certain mental illness.
“I know they (addicted person) must “hit bottom” before they can get help. I know there is really nothing anyone can do until this happens and they become willing to change.”
Yes, an addicted person is likely unable to change without help. One of the main reasons is that addiction affects the mind and prevents some of the brightest and even high-functioning individuals from seeing the same reality as seen by an outsider. Addiction and/or untreated mental illness can create extreme levels of denial and self-deception. For this reason, as you may have read in my previous postings, I attempt to keep logic out of the process when helping and afflicted person. Why? Because when it comes to discussing his or her own addiction or illness, I am not dealing with a rational or logical person. So, I have found keeping logic out of the process to be very effective.
LSA’s Pre-Treatment Solution includes what is essentially an Intervention. Yet, it is actually only about 20% of the entire LSA solution. There are many other essential components to help a person embrace help willingly, as well as help the family as a whole. LSA’s Family Meeting/Intervention is not the entire process; it is a piece of the solution.
The reason I refer to intervening on an individual, as a Family Meeting is to dispel fear caused by some coercive “sneak-attack” versions that may have been seen on TV. At LSA, we use a transparent model with a compassionate loving approach for facilitating our Family Meetings / Interventions. Yes, we tell the addicted or afflicted person that we are going to have a meeting on a certain date…it actually establishes respect and eliminates secrets. And, guess what? The process is extraordinarily effective and the addicted person tends to be present at that first meeting.
Let’s get back to this question about “hitting bottom” as it is an important myth that must be dispelled (and, truthfully, its also the title of my post). If you wait for your loved-one’s bottom, there is a high likelihood that this person will encounter tragedy and possibly die waiting for this bottom. Addiction is a disease with endless bottoms. If a highly trained, objective professional coordinates a compassionate approach (without negative emotion, or logic) there is a good chance the result can be different. With this loving and compassionate approach, along with extremely detailed planning, it is absolutely possible to “Raise the afflicted person’s bottom so they can reach out and accept help.”
So, if someone you care about is in the throws of addiction and/or untreated mental illness, you can alter their path of destruction and misery. However, I caution you as I have written before, that I still have not met anyone who has successfully facilitated this process (without objective professional help) for someone they love. I strongly encourage you to hire a competent professional trained in a variety of Intervention formats (I recommend a compassionate and transparent format). Contact LSA now to learn how we can help you and someone who may be in trouble.