Perhaps you are one of millions living with a loved one who is abusing alcohol or drugs. While your loved one may be, to some extent, blunting his or her pain with substances, your own pain is getting worse and worse. You may find yourself sleepless, worried, unable to focus, and feeling the joy draining from your life. You may find yourself torn about family gatherings, wanting your loved one to share in important family moments yet dreading the possibility of things getting out of control.
Other family members may begin to ask why you don’t do something to address the problem. If you have kids and the troubled member is the other parent, you may notice your kids becoming increasingly anxious when he or she does not come home when expected, or fails to show up at events when promised.
You are overwhelmed with the feelings that you carry as well as the increasing responsibilities as you find yourself picking up the pieces and doing more than your share. You feel sad, worried, and often angry but don’t know where to turn make things better.
You have heard that Al-Anon may be helpful and also that an intervention can help connect the substance abuser to the care that is needed. But you may have no idea how to find a suitable Al-Anon group and you are not clear about how an intervention works.
What you may not have thought about is talking to an alcohol and drug specialist yourself who can help you understand more about the various options that are open to you. This might include helping you to learn more about treatment resources (including residential treatment, day and evening programs, outpatient groups, self help programs) that may be suitable for your loved one. Equally important, she may help you consider ways that you may be able to effectively intervene to get him or her to accept treatment. This may involve a full-blown intervention, or possibly something considerably less intensive that the alcohol specialist can help you to undertake.
A therapist experienced in this work can also help you understand more about various ways of protecting yourself and your family from some of the more painful consequences of the substance abuser’s behavior. She may also help you determine if some kind of ongoing support either in a group, individual therapy, family intervention or a self help program may be useful for you or for other family members and to connect you to specific resources and options that may be a good fit for you.
© 2018 Marsha Vannicelli