Confirmation Bias – Understanding Addicted Thinking – or – Why They Don’t Stop

Why can’t they see what their drinking or drugging is doing to them, and to us?

For family, few things frustrate like the seeming inability of the addict or alcoholic to recognize the extent of their self destructive behaviors. What seems so obvious to us seems not to register with them, and if losing a job, career, family or health won’t convince a using addict to change their ways – what possibly can?

Addiction changes the mind, it is complex and pervasive, and no single phenomenon fully explains the influence it exerts over thoughts and behaviors; but understanding confirmation bias takes us a step closer to understanding the realities of addicted thinking.

Confirmation Bias and the Addictd Mind

Confirmation bias refers to a cognitive process in which we selectively and unconsciously assign more weight to stimuli, information or events that seem to confirm our preconceptions or world-view. We all unconsciously use confirmation bias; it is simply a psychological streamlining for informational processing.

When we read a political editorial that matches our world-view, it resonates more profoundly and influentially than when we read an editorial that opposes our notion of the world – even if both are factually accurate. We are the choir – and we like to be preached to!

Addicts unconsciously use conformational bias as a way to preserve activities (drinking or drugging) that are important to them. It is conformational bias that allows addicts to disregard or minimize negative information that might force them to question their behaviors, and over-emphasize positive information that convinces them to continue their use behaviors.

An addict or alcoholic might process information on a night’s events such as this:

  • Pros: HAD A GREAT TIME LAUGHING WITH BUDDIES GOT A PHONE NUMBER FROM THAT CUTE/HANDSOME BARTENDER
  • Cons: Vomited in the bar bathroom Was asked to leave Performed badly at work the next day, and was noticed for being hung-over

Alcoholic thinking=A good night’s fun.

Most of us would call such an evening a lesson against excessive drinking, but an alcoholic will assign much more weight to the positive parts of the evening, and gloss over any negative aspects that don’t align with alcoholic thinking.

Alcoholics maintain denial through unconscious conformation bias internalization; thinking that keeps them sure that although drinking may cause a few minor headaches…on the whole it brings more happiness than pain. Addicts are not purposefully obtuse when they fail to recognize how much their use hurts them, it’s a psychological process, and one an addiction hijacked brain makes full use of in defense of its consumptions.

Eventually, if it gets bad enough, most alcoholics and addicts will concede that they have a problem – but it can take a long while and some pretty overwhelming (and often tragic) evidence. Understanding why addicts and alcoholics continue to drink or drug even as things get bad helps family and friends to enact better and more successful interventions – Helps them to realize that just letting an addict see the problems abuse causes won’t necessarily be enough to induce change.

Rock bottom can motivate, but rock bottom is sad; and there is no need for it. Although an addict may not come to an internal conclusion of a need for change, family and friends can help them along, and can help to change their thinking. Interventions work, and they can get some pretty reluctant addicts into treatment. You can wait for an addict to see it on their own, but with conformational bias…it may take a long, long time.

Why can’t they see what their drinking or drugging is doing to them, and to us?

For family, few things frustrate like the seeming inability of the addict or alcoholic to recognize the extent of their self destructive behaviors. What seems so obvious to us seems not to register with them, and if losing a job, career, family or health won’t convince a using addict to change their ways – what possibly can?

Addiction changes the mind, it is complex and pervasive, and no single phenomenon fully explains the influence it exerts over thoughts and behaviors; but understanding confirmation bias takes us a step closer to understanding the realities of addicted thinking.

Confirmation Bias and the Addictd Mind

Confirmation bias refers to a cognitive process in which we selectively and unconsciously assign more weight to stimuli, information or events that seem to confirm our preconceptions or world-view. We all unconsciously use confirmation bias; it is simply a psychological streamlining for informational processing.

When we read a political editorial that matches our world-view, it resonates more profoundly and influentially than when we read an editorial that opposes our notion of the world – even if both are factually accurate. We are the choir – and we like to be preached to!

Addicts unconsciously use conformational bias as a way to preserve activities (drinking or drugging) that are important to them. It is conformational bias that allows addicts to disregard or minimize negative information that might force them to question their behaviors, and over-emphasize positive information that convinces them to continue their use behaviors.

An addict or alcoholic might process information on a night’s events such as this:

  • Pros: HAD A GREAT TIME LAUGHING WITH BUDDIES GOT A PHONE NUMBER FROM THAT CUTE/HANDSOME BARTENDER
  • Cons: Vomited in the bar bathroom Was asked to leave Performed badly at work the next day, and was noticed for being hung-over

Alcoholic thinking=A good night’s fun.

Most of us would call such an evening a lesson against excessive drinking, but an alcoholic will assign much more weight to the positive parts of the evening, and gloss over any negative aspects that don’t align with alcoholic thinking.

Alcoholics maintain denial through unconscious conformation bias internalization; thinking that keeps them sure that although drinking may cause a few minor headaches…on the whole it brings more happiness than pain. Addicts are not purposefully obtuse when they fail to recognize how much their use hurts them, it’s a psychological process, and one an addiction hijacked brain makes full use of in defense of its consumptions.

Eventually, if it gets bad enough, most alcoholics and addicts will concede that they have a problem – but it can take a long while and some pretty overwhelming (and often tragic) evidence. Understanding why addicts and alcoholics continue to drink or drug even as things get bad helps family and friends to enact better and more successful interventions – Helps them to realize that just letting an addict see the problems abuse causes won’t necessarily be enough to induce change.

Rock bottom can motivate, but rock bottom is sad; and there is no need for it. Although an addict may not come to an internal conclusion of a need for change, family and friends can help them along, and can help to change their thinking. Interventions work, and they can get some pretty reluctant addicts into treatment. You can wait for an addict to see it on their own, but with conformational bias…it may take a long, long time.

No More Rock Bottom!

A survey done by Hazeldean (One of the nation’s most respected drug and alcohol rehabs and source of addictions research) reveals that 70% of all alcoholics in recovery got help initially at the urging or intervention of a friend, family member or employer.

So much for the theory of rock bottom…

No one ever needs to hit rock bottom, and really, where’s the bottom anyways? Alcoholism and addiction are progressive and ultimately fatal diseases, and for too many the only bottom is death.

There’s no need for it and it’s a tragedy that this myth of rock bottom continues to pervade our pop culture consciousness.

There are few easy answers, and fewer guarantees. Addiction is powerful, cunning and baffling (to borrow an old AA phrase) and what works for one may not work for another. Yet amongst all this uncertainty, one facet of treatment has been shown over and over again to have incredible efficacy, at getting people into treatment at the very least.

The Intervention

Interventions work; they work wonders, and a well run, non confrontational and caring intervention almost always breaks down the walls of denial, and gets a loved one into treatment.

Addiction is rarely intuitive or logical, and as such it makes perverse sense then that research shows that a person’s motivation at the outset for seeking help has no bearing whatsoever on eventual success and sobriety rates. Walking through that treatment center front door, or pushed in kicking and screaming…the only thing that matters is that you get into treatment, and start learning how to do better.

Never wait for rock bottom, by then it may be too late. Why waste years of precious life, why let the disease entrench ever further?

The sooner an addict or alcoholic gets help, the better the treatment prognosis. Family can make a difference, family can save a life. Learn about what works, learn about interventions, and take a stand against addiction and pain.

A survey done by Hazeldean (One of the nation’s most respected drug and alcohol rehabs and source of addictions research) reveals that 70% of all alcoholics in recovery got help initially at the urging or intervention of a friend, family member or employer.

So much for the theory of rock bottom…

No one ever needs to hit rock bottom, and really, where’s the bottom anyways? Alcoholism and addiction are progressive and ultimately fatal diseases, and for too many the only bottom is death.

There’s no need for it and it’s a tragedy that this myth of rock bottom continues to pervade our pop culture consciousness.

There are few easy answers, and fewer guarantees. Addiction is powerful, cunning and baffling (to borrow an old AA phrase) and what works for one may not work for another. Yet amongst all this uncertainty, one facet of treatment has been shown over and over again to have incredible efficacy, at getting people into treatment at the very least.

The Intervention

Interventions work; they work wonders, and a well run, non confrontational and caring intervention almost always breaks down the walls of denial, and gets a loved one into treatment.

Addiction is rarely intuitive or logical, and as such it makes perverse sense then that research shows that a person’s motivation at the outset for seeking help has no bearing whatsoever on eventual success and sobriety rates. Walking through that treatment center front door, or pushed in kicking and screaming…the only thing that matters is that you get into treatment, and start learning how to do better.

Never wait for rock bottom, by then it may be too late. Why waste years of precious life, why let the disease entrench ever further?

The sooner an addict or alcoholic gets help, the better the treatment prognosis. Family can make a difference, family can save a life. Learn about what works, learn about interventions, and take a stand against addiction and pain.

The Family Intervention. Run One that’s Going to Work!

What is an Intervention?

During an intervention, all family and close friends (and any other people of influence in the addict’s life) will joint together to confront the addict in a unified and structured manner. Denial is a hallmark of addiction, and to overwhelm this harmful defense mechanism there needs to be a concerted, united and intense front of opposition. Basically, when everyone the person cares about tells them in one session how much damage the drinking or drugging is doing, it can be hard for them to maintain this wall of denial.

During an intervention, every person will participate with a prepared statement concerning how the drinking or drug use is harming the addict and by extension how it harms them. They will have prepared specific examples of when the addict’s intoxication did them personal harm. The addict needs to realize and accept that their drinking or drug taking does not exist in a vacuum, and that when they abuse themselves they also do harm to others that they care about. The goal of every intervention is to have the addict admit to the real extent of the problem, admit that they do need some help and to proceed immediately to treatment that has been prearranged for them.

How to Run a Successful Intervention

The behaviors of addiction often create negative emotions that ripple deep throughout the family, and although all still love and worry about the health and wellbeing of the using addict, intermingled with concern there are often contradictory emotions of anger, of guilt and of shame; and as such an intervention can be a very complex emotional event. You have to do it, but you have to ensure that you do it well. A poorly run, chaotic and emotionally confrontational intervention can do more harm than good, and derail an excellent opportunity for change. Here are some tips to make sure that you get it right the first time, and that you get that person into the treatment help that they so desperately need.

1) Practice Practice Practice

You don’t want to go into an intervention blind. It’s not something that many people will have participated in before, most won’t understand completely how it should run or what they are supposed to do and some may be feeling apprehensive about confronting the addict. For the best chance of success, you need to get everyone together and have at least one real serious rehearsal. Before the rehearsal, contact all participants, explain what is expected of them and ask them to prepare a written statement that includes how the drinking or drug taking has harmed them personally, how it has harmed their relationship with the addict, and how they’ve seen the addict change over time.

Make sure that they include specific examples if possible, as examples lessen the ability of the addict to deny the truth of what is said. You should also ask them whether they are comfortable including an ultimatum. The best interventions combine both the carrot and the stick. Through your loving and concerned meeting of intervention, and through the obvious trouble you have gone through to arrange the event and arrange for treatment, you show your love and concern. The stick part comes in the form of consequences. "Accept our offered treatment, or suffer this consequence from me…"

2) Don’t Get Angry

The addict may have done some terrible things, and a lot of the people participating in the intervention may legitimately feel owed an apology and may feel justifiable anger over past behaviors of intoxication. Remember though, the intervention is not about you and the day of the intervention is a day during which the focus needs to remain firmly on the addict, and not on your personal grievances. If the tone of the intervention becomes negative, angry or overly confrontational, the message can get lost within a defensive and equally emotional response. You sit the addict down and you force him or her to listen to what you want to say. Make sure that your message gets through.

When you maintain a tone of concern and of love, the addict cannot react defensively and they must listen and receive what is offered in the spirit in which it is given. For the best chance at success, everyone needs to keep their cool, say what needs to be said, but say it with love.

3) Everyone Needs to Participate

Since denial is such a hallmark of addiction, for the best chance at success, all meaningful people in the addict’s life need to participate. If there are many significant absences, the addict might continue to rationalize their behaviors. They may say, well, Uncle Bob and Aunt Jean obviously don’t feel the same way that you do, or they’d be sitting here too. The more people get involved, the more powerful the event. Don’t disclude the very young or the very old either. Sometimes the most powerful testimony comes from children, and since they are affected by the behaviors of addiction, they have a right to contribute as well. Those people who cannot be physically present can contribute through phone calls, internet conferencing or through written messages read to the addict during the intervention.

4) Get Professional Help

Hiring a professional interventionist is about the surest step towards running an effective intervention. They will organize fragmented family into a coherent tool towards recovery, they know how to diagnose the extent of the problem and they will ensure that the intervention proceeds as it should and that nothing derails the ultimate goal of getting an addict into treatment. But they are expensive. If you can’t afford the fee, which can be several thousands of dollars for a top interventionist, you can do it on your own and you can, with a little planning and consideration, run an effective intervention without outside assistance.

If you do have the money though, hiring a professional is about the best thing you can do to increase the odds of success.

5) Don’t Delay…Get Them into Treatment Right Away

At best, the bags are packed, responsibilities arranged for and the car full of gas. You don’t want to allow for any barriers to an immediate transition into recovery. There is a real and sometimes brief window of opportunity after the addict agrees to accept help and you want to make sure that you get them into treatment before they change their mind. If they agree to treatment, even if they don’t agree that they need it, they should go. They may well change their tune with a few days of sobriety and therapy. Get them into prearranged treatment as soon as is humanly possible.

A Well Run Intervention is Always Worthwhile

Even if you fail to get the addict to accept of a need for treatment right away, they may in time contemplate the weight of the offered testimonies and decide that they do need help after all. However, even if the addict never gets the help they need, interventions empower the family. Nothing will ever be the same again after it’s all laid out on the table…and this is a very positive step towards family healing. Getting things out into the open reduces harmful internalizing and misdirection of blame and guilt. It leads the family back towards cohesive health, and it never again allows for a minimization of the extent of the problem. At worst, you may need to decide how you can live in peace with a still using addict, and draw your own personal and familial boundaries to ensure lasting harmony.

You can’t do it for them, and if they refuse to go even after a well run, concerned and loving intervention; then at least you know that you’ve done all that you can…thankfully, most of the time it does work.

What is an Intervention?

During an intervention, all family and close friends (and any other people of influence in the addict’s life) will joint together to confront the addict in a unified and structured manner. Denial is a hallmark of addiction, and to overwhelm this harmful defense mechanism there needs to be a concerted, united and intense front of opposition. Basically, when everyone the person cares about tells them in one session how much damage the drinking or drugging is doing, it can be hard for them to maintain this wall of denial.

During an intervention, every person will participate with a prepared statement concerning how the drinking or drug use is harming the addict and by extension how it harms them. They will have prepared specific examples of when the addict’s intoxication did them personal harm. The addict needs to realize and accept that their drinking or drug taking does not exist in a vacuum, and that when they abuse themselves they also do harm to others that they care about. The goal of every intervention is to have the addict admit to the real extent of the problem, admit that they do need some help and to proceed immediately to treatment that has been prearranged for them.

How to Run a Successful Intervention

The behaviors of addiction often create negative emotions that ripple deep throughout the family, and although all still love and worry about the health and wellbeing of the using addict, intermingled with concern there are often contradictory emotions of anger, of guilt and of shame; and as such an intervention can be a very complex emotional event. You have to do it, but you have to ensure that you do it well. A poorly run, chaotic and emotionally confrontational intervention can do more harm than good, and derail an excellent opportunity for change. Here are some tips to make sure that you get it right the first time, and that you get that person into the treatment help that they so desperately need.

1) Practice Practice Practice

You don’t want to go into an intervention blind. It’s not something that many people will have participated in before, most won’t understand completely how it should run or what they are supposed to do and some may be feeling apprehensive about confronting the addict. For the best chance of success, you need to get everyone together and have at least one real serious rehearsal. Before the rehearsal, contact all participants, explain what is expected of them and ask them to prepare a written statement that includes how the drinking or drug taking has harmed them personally, how it has harmed their relationship with the addict, and how they’ve seen the addict change over time.

Make sure that they include specific examples if possible, as examples lessen the ability of the addict to deny the truth of what is said. You should also ask them whether they are comfortable including an ultimatum. The best interventions combine both the carrot and the stick. Through your loving and concerned meeting of intervention, and through the obvious trouble you have gone through to arrange the event and arrange for treatment, you show your love and concern. The stick part comes in the form of consequences. "Accept our offered treatment, or suffer this consequence from me…"

2) Don’t Get Angry

The addict may have done some terrible things, and a lot of the people participating in the intervention may legitimately feel owed an apology and may feel justifiable anger over past behaviors of intoxication. Remember though, the intervention is not about you and the day of the intervention is a day during which the focus needs to remain firmly on the addict, and not on your personal grievances. If the tone of the intervention becomes negative, angry or overly confrontational, the message can get lost within a defensive and equally emotional response. You sit the addict down and you force him or her to listen to what you want to say. Make sure that your message gets through.

When you maintain a tone of concern and of love, the addict cannot react defensively and they must listen and receive what is offered in the spirit in which it is given. For the best chance at success, everyone needs to keep their cool, say what needs to be said, but say it with love.

3) Everyone Needs to Participate

Since denial is such a hallmark of addiction, for the best chance at success, all meaningful people in the addict’s life need to participate. If there are many significant absences, the addict might continue to rationalize their behaviors. They may say, well, Uncle Bob and Aunt Jean obviously don’t feel the same way that you do, or they’d be sitting here too. The more people get involved, the more powerful the event. Don’t disclude the very young or the very old either. Sometimes the most powerful testimony comes from children, and since they are affected by the behaviors of addiction, they have a right to contribute as well. Those people who cannot be physically present can contribute through phone calls, internet conferencing or through written messages read to the addict during the intervention.

4) Get Professional Help

Hiring a professional interventionist is about the surest step towards running an effective intervention. They will organize fragmented family into a coherent tool towards recovery, they know how to diagnose the extent of the problem and they will ensure that the intervention proceeds as it should and that nothing derails the ultimate goal of getting an addict into treatment. But they are expensive. If you can’t afford the fee, which can be several thousands of dollars for a top interventionist, you can do it on your own and you can, with a little planning and consideration, run an effective intervention without outside assistance.

If you do have the money though, hiring a professional is about the best thing you can do to increase the odds of success.

5) Don’t Delay…Get Them into Treatment Right Away

At best, the bags are packed, responsibilities arranged for and the car full of gas. You don’t want to allow for any barriers to an immediate transition into recovery. There is a real and sometimes brief window of opportunity after the addict agrees to accept help and you want to make sure that you get them into treatment before they change their mind. If they agree to treatment, even if they don’t agree that they need it, they should go. They may well change their tune with a few days of sobriety and therapy. Get them into prearranged treatment as soon as is humanly possible.

A Well Run Intervention is Always Worthwhile

Even if you fail to get the addict to accept of a need for treatment right away, they may in time contemplate the weight of the offered testimonies and decide that they do need help after all. However, even if the addict never gets the help they need, interventions empower the family. Nothing will ever be the same again after it’s all laid out on the table…and this is a very positive step towards family healing. Getting things out into the open reduces harmful internalizing and misdirection of blame and guilt. It leads the family back towards cohesive health, and it never again allows for a minimization of the extent of the problem. At worst, you may need to decide how you can live in peace with a still using addict, and draw your own personal and familial boundaries to ensure lasting harmony.

You can’t do it for them, and if they refuse to go even after a well run, concerned and loving intervention; then at least you know that you’ve done all that you can…thankfully, most of the time it does work.

Early interventions save lives – before use becomes abuse!?!

A lot of people can use alcohol and even illicit drugs recreationally and never develop dependency issues. What makes those people difference from the rest of us who are susceptible to abuse remains obscured, and it’s believed that genetics, personality and environmental factors all interact to complete the picture. We’ll never get people to stop indulging, but if we can minimize the danger to those of us at risk to develop substance abuse issues, we could prevent a lot of heartache.

Get Involved?

None of us like to get involved into the business of others, and although we may have concerns about associates or coworkers and their level of substance use, we rarely initiate any action until that abuse has become so obvious and so severe that a response becomes required. Unfortunately, by the time any action is taken the level of abuse and dependency has grown enormously, and the difficulty of enacting positive change greatly increased.

Research has shown that a brief intervention with a professional in people demonstrating substance abuse behaviors, but that do not yet display dependency, can have a great impact on drug and alcohol consumption. For many, all that is needed are one or two 20 minute professional consultations with an addictions professional or doctor to influence change, and this surely better than an intensive and expensive rehabilitation treatment months or years down the road.

The problem isn’t that we don’t know what works; the problem is finding a way to implement policies that would allow for these interventions to occur. The intervention seems to work best when done by a professional, although family and friends can also influence change. A quick intervention will never save all proceeding down the road to addiction, but if even a fraction can be helped, the benefits of such as small and easily accomplished intervention become pronounced.

At the Doctor’s Office

Medical professionals need to be on the lookout for signs of substance abuse, and ready to intervene when this abuse seems probable. Schools need better early intervention systems, and intervention may need to go to the at risk user, instead of waiting for that person to request assistance; and employers should be aware of the signs of substance abuse behaviors, and offer non confrontational interventions to the benefit of both the company and the individual.

Recognizing the benefit of early interventions in substance abuse, medical schools have started offering prospective doctors training on how best to diagnosis substance use before it progresses to dependency, and training medical personal how to enact behavioral change through brief interventions at an early stage of abuse. Although none of us want to be nosy or intrude on the personal and private life of another, maybe we need to do more to encourage early interventions within our institutions and workplaces, and to make sure that those with the power to intervene are aware of those who might be at risk for substance abuse and addiction.

When treating an addiction, earlier is always better than later, and best of all is engaging in treatment as a preventative measure to those displaying at risk behaviors.

A lot of people can use alcohol and even illicit drugs recreationally and never develop dependency issues. What makes those people difference from the rest of us who are susceptible to abuse remains obscured, and it’s believed that genetics, personality and environmental factors all interact to complete the picture. We’ll never get people to stop indulging, but if we can minimize the danger to those of us at risk to develop substance abuse issues, we could prevent a lot of heartache.

Get Involved?

None of us like to get involved into the business of others, and although we may have concerns about associates or coworkers and their level of substance use, we rarely initiate any action until that abuse has become so obvious and so severe that a response becomes required. Unfortunately, by the time any action is taken the level of abuse and dependency has grown enormously, and the difficulty of enacting positive change greatly increased.

Research has shown that a brief intervention with a professional in people demonstrating substance abuse behaviors, but that do not yet display dependency, can have a great impact on drug and alcohol consumption. For many, all that is needed are one or two 20 minute professional consultations with an addictions professional or doctor to influence change, and this surely better than an intensive and expensive rehabilitation treatment months or years down the road.

The problem isn’t that we don’t know what works; the problem is finding a way to implement policies that would allow for these interventions to occur. The intervention seems to work best when done by a professional, although family and friends can also influence change. A quick intervention will never save all proceeding down the road to addiction, but if even a fraction can be helped, the benefits of such as small and easily accomplished intervention become pronounced.

At the Doctor’s Office

Medical professionals need to be on the lookout for signs of substance abuse, and ready to intervene when this abuse seems probable. Schools need better early intervention systems, and intervention may need to go to the at risk user, instead of waiting for that person to request assistance; and employers should be aware of the signs of substance abuse behaviors, and offer non confrontational interventions to the benefit of both the company and the individual.

Recognizing the benefit of early interventions in substance abuse, medical schools have started offering prospective doctors training on how best to diagnosis substance use before it progresses to dependency, and training medical personal how to enact behavioral change through brief interventions at an early stage of abuse. Although none of us want to be nosy or intrude on the personal and private life of another, maybe we need to do more to encourage early interventions within our institutions and workplaces, and to make sure that those with the power to intervene are aware of those who might be at risk for substance abuse and addiction.

When treating an addiction, earlier is always better than later, and best of all is engaging in treatment as a preventative measure to those displaying at risk behaviors.

Only the Addict Can Choose to Get Sober… a Myth?

Everyone knows that only the addict can make the choice to get sober, and to stay sober…but what does this mean?

Clinical statistics show that your motivation to enter a rehab or treatment program is not nearly as important as your successful completion of this program, and your continuing involvement in aftercare programming. If you can convince anyone that needs help to get it, they should go…no matter what they say at the time!

The statement, "I don’t have a problem and I’ll go just to prove it!" may change to "Thank you very much for caring enough about me to get me the help I needed." by the end of treatment. A common refrain of therapy and treatment is that ultimately only the addict can make the choice, and change their behaviors to get and stay sober…and this is true, but the key word in this last phrase is ULTIMATELY!

If you have a sister, son, father…whoever, that you know has a dependency issue, that you are concerned about, and that you care enough about to encourage that person to get the treatment that they need, then no matter what the terms, if they agree to get help, they should go! It doesn’t matter if they maintain that they don’t have a problem, or that they’re just going to treatment to appease you, to show you that they really don’t have a problem; if they agree to go, it’s a great first step towards recovery.

During the haze of abuse, too many of us were not, or are not, thinking clearly; and dependency can cause subconscious changes in thought processing. A period of sobriety, reflection and therapy can be a very powerful thing and many people that enter rehab swearing that they don’t need to be there, exit singing a different tune; and change their behaviors and lifestyle as a result.

Many addicts enter rehab having spent a long period away from real sobriety, and have even forgotten what sobriety feels like. Sometimes just getting the metabolites out of the system, and getting enough time to get the head together is enough to change a way of thinking, and to get an addict to see the forest for the trees. If it doesn’t work, no one is worse off then they were before, but if it does, it’s a great thing. Getting someone the help they need can be very difficult and emotionally draining, but it shows how much you care for that person.

Everyone knows that only the addict can make the choice to get sober, and to stay sober…but what does this mean?

Clinical statistics show that your motivation to enter a rehab or treatment program is not nearly as important as your successful completion of this program, and your continuing involvement in aftercare programming. If you can convince anyone that needs help to get it, they should go…no matter what they say at the time!

The statement, "I don’t have a problem and I’ll go just to prove it!" may change to "Thank you very much for caring enough about me to get me the help I needed." by the end of treatment. A common refrain of therapy and treatment is that ultimately only the addict can make the choice, and change their behaviors to get and stay sober…and this is true, but the key word in this last phrase is ULTIMATELY!

If you have a sister, son, father…whoever, that you know has a dependency issue, that you are concerned about, and that you care enough about to encourage that person to get the treatment that they need, then no matter what the terms, if they agree to get help, they should go! It doesn’t matter if they maintain that they don’t have a problem, or that they’re just going to treatment to appease you, to show you that they really don’t have a problem; if they agree to go, it’s a great first step towards recovery.

During the haze of abuse, too many of us were not, or are not, thinking clearly; and dependency can cause subconscious changes in thought processing. A period of sobriety, reflection and therapy can be a very powerful thing and many people that enter rehab swearing that they don’t need to be there, exit singing a different tune; and change their behaviors and lifestyle as a result.

Many addicts enter rehab having spent a long period away from real sobriety, and have even forgotten what sobriety feels like. Sometimes just getting the metabolites out of the system, and getting enough time to get the head together is enough to change a way of thinking, and to get an addict to see the forest for the trees. If it doesn’t work, no one is worse off then they were before, but if it does, it’s a great thing. Getting someone the help they need can be very difficult and emotionally draining, but it shows how much you care for that person.

My intervention experience

I’ve never met another recovering drug addict or alcoholic that doesn’t count themselves lucky for having a family that cared enough, in the face of a lot of terrible behavior, to get them the help they needed through an intervention. I’ve been involved in two interventions, one was for me, and I was a participant in a friend’s…and although this sounds funny to say, I don’t know which was tougher on me.

I think that in some ways the apprehension of the event is worse than it ever is, and everyone feels better after getting an opportunity to speak the truth, and speak from the heart. An intervention is what finally got me into treatment after years of destructive drinking, and too many failed attempts to quit or cut back. The intervention was planned by my family and friends and run with the help of a professional intervention service, and really left me with no alternative but to accept the treatment they had arranged for me.

They say that admitting the truth is the first step to recovery, and I think that’s true, but what I believe that really means is admitting it out loud to those close to you. This may not be true for everyone, but I knew I had a problem, and I knew I couldn’t beat it on my own; but I could just never seem to ask for the help I needed, and I just couldn’t seem to stop drinking.

Although a lot of the things I heard at my intervention were painful, it was almost a relief for me to know that I couldn’t keep on as I had been, and that faced with the love and concern of my family and friends, I would have to get help. Obviously everyone is different, and what I felt and how I reacted won’t necessarily occur in another intervention; but after speaking to a lot of recovering addicts about their experiences, I’ve never met a single one who regrets what their family did, or blames them in any way for the confrontation.

An intervention is an expression of love, and is generally only considered once things have gotten pretty bad. If you’re wondering if an intervention may be necessary for a family member or close friend…then it probably is! It’s normal to feel apprehensive about doing an intervention; you just need to remember that you are doing it because you care and because you really want to help. It won’t be easy, but in the long run it’s the best thing to do.

You may want to run your own intervention, but getting the advice of a professional is always a good idea. My sisters did when they planned my intervention, and said that without the help and guidance offered by the service they may never have gotten past the family quarrelling in the planning stages. An intervention is tricky, and can be an emotional mine field, and an impartial expert can help to keep things on track, and always keep things moving in a positive direction.

You need to remember that an intervention is only the first step to healing, and while it is an empowering experience for the family, all the pain and suffering caused by any addiction won’t be erased overnight. Very rarely do interventions fail, and even when the addict won’t accept help right away, they’ll usually come around with time. Have some planning sessions with the participating members, include a professional, and remember that you’re only doing this because you care.

Stay strong, say what you need to, and the rest is ultimately up to the addict. Alcoholism and drug addiction never gets better on its own. If someone you love is suffering with addiction, think about whether they might benefit from an intervention leading to treatment. I know it saved my life!

I’ve never met another recovering drug addict or alcoholic that doesn’t count themselves lucky for having a family that cared enough, in the face of a lot of terrible behavior, to get them the help they needed through an intervention. I’ve been involved in two interventions, one was for me, and I was a participant in a friend’s…and although this sounds funny to say, I don’t know which was tougher on me.

I think that in some ways the apprehension of the event is worse than it ever is, and everyone feels better after getting an opportunity to speak the truth, and speak from the heart. An intervention is what finally got me into treatment after years of destructive drinking, and too many failed attempts to quit or cut back. The intervention was planned by my family and friends and run with the help of a professional intervention service, and really left me with no alternative but to accept the treatment they had arranged for me.

They say that admitting the truth is the first step to recovery, and I think that’s true, but what I believe that really means is admitting it out loud to those close to you. This may not be true for everyone, but I knew I had a problem, and I knew I couldn’t beat it on my own; but I could just never seem to ask for the help I needed, and I just couldn’t seem to stop drinking.

Although a lot of the things I heard at my intervention were painful, it was almost a relief for me to know that I couldn’t keep on as I had been, and that faced with the love and concern of my family and friends, I would have to get help. Obviously everyone is different, and what I felt and how I reacted won’t necessarily occur in another intervention; but after speaking to a lot of recovering addicts about their experiences, I’ve never met a single one who regrets what their family did, or blames them in any way for the confrontation.

An intervention is an expression of love, and is generally only considered once things have gotten pretty bad. If you’re wondering if an intervention may be necessary for a family member or close friend…then it probably is! It’s normal to feel apprehensive about doing an intervention; you just need to remember that you are doing it because you care and because you really want to help. It won’t be easy, but in the long run it’s the best thing to do.

You may want to run your own intervention, but getting the advice of a professional is always a good idea. My sisters did when they planned my intervention, and said that without the help and guidance offered by the service they may never have gotten past the family quarrelling in the planning stages. An intervention is tricky, and can be an emotional mine field, and an impartial expert can help to keep things on track, and always keep things moving in a positive direction.

You need to remember that an intervention is only the first step to healing, and while it is an empowering experience for the family, all the pain and suffering caused by any addiction won’t be erased overnight. Very rarely do interventions fail, and even when the addict won’t accept help right away, they’ll usually come around with time. Have some planning sessions with the participating members, include a professional, and remember that you’re only doing this because you care.

Stay strong, say what you need to, and the rest is ultimately up to the addict. Alcoholism and drug addiction never gets better on its own. If someone you love is suffering with addiction, think about whether they might benefit from an intervention leading to treatment. I know it saved my life!