My phone rings…
When I got the call and heard the first sounds from the other end, I knew what was coming next. This is not the first call of this kind that I have received, and I am sure it won’t be the last.
It wasn’t the content of the call that gave me instant insight… I have about heard it all. No, it was the tone of the call.
The initial murmurs from a beaten down family member who was simply out of options rang clear in my head, and I waited for the details so I could try to bring some comfort to the caller. He/she will be OK now. The call has been initiated, and they got the right number.
Sometimes I am speaking to one family member, while other calls have been made while a few sit around a dining table, resulting in a last-ditch group decision to dial the phone.
Why do these calls come in so late in the game? Well, because it is family. The family protects the family. The family handles all situations eventually… that is the history. But now, well, this one isn’t working out. The family fails to deliver. Now the family has hit a bottom, sometimes lower than that of the addict or alcoholic they are trying to help.
The family isn’t quite sure exactly what they are feeling other than hopelessness. They are feeling the sickness that has been within them for a long time. See, families absorb their own “stuff” in order to be there for the one who needs the help. This is done unconsciously; there is no room for distraction due to the self… family first.
So, when is enough enough?
I think I can say that enough is enough when that phone is dialed. If this is correct, then the next question might be: Does the family have to wait until they are themselves beaten down to make that call? Does the money need to be depleted, or does a marriage have to be split? A home lost? A suicide attempt?
The answer is very simple, yet so hard to accept.
Addiction is stronger than family. Again, addiction is stronger than family.
Please consider early intervention.
And, what exactly would be early intervention?
Easy… the family realizes that a problem exists and the family does what it does… try to fix it, and at some early point after a few failures, they make that call. Just make that call. Do it before catastrophic results appear. In a nutshell, try it your way, but recognize early that you cannot fix the problem. The family attempts are made, but the phone call is made before everyone gets super sick.
Early intervention for an addict or an alcoholic is more difficult for me, as we interrupt his or her bottom early, but it is the best approach because in most instances it avoids catastrophe and even death.
Make that call. I will be waiting for you.
The Social Share buttons below are there so that you may help another family, whom you may or may not know. Thank you, Dave.
Dave Innis, CRC, is an independent certified recovery sober coach and companion. He works with recovering alcoholics and addicts globally, either in person, via Skype sessions, phone or email. Dave Innis began as a counselor in late 1994 and has worked in the field both in the southwest and eastern US. Dave operates in the US as well as globally, and lives in Chicopee, Ma. and will work with individuals, families, employers or recovery agencies upon request.