I think that each person’s experience is different and all experiences are valid. Maybe family is different than friends. And some families are different from others. I have dealt with addiction in many forms over the years – in my own life, in the lives of good friends and lovers, as well as addiction that co-occurs with mental illness. I always thought I was the type that would stick it out until the end, no matter what – I thought that was important.
I can say that in recovery I did that for many people, I stood by while others waded through their own misfortune, cried and cleaned up their messes. During an intervention and during the recovery process it’s important to be willing to let go. Letting go to negative emotions and feelings, negative friends and negative habbits that have fostered the cycle of addiction. Many times there were relapses some not so bad, some more than tragic. A few, the even less fortunate passed away. Sufficed to say I think I understand suffering and know how to feel compassion. I feel like I’ve seen it all in my years doing interventions, and the success stories give me home that addiction recovery is possible and that no situation is too far gone.
In writing about interventions, I think that one thing that is important for families and friends to know is that there is a healthy level of detaching with compassion and letting go. As a young adult, I had a girlfriend that had a long run in sobriety, and out of nowhere (or in my mind out of nowhere, it’s never really out of nowhere) became ill both mentally and physically through the use of drugs and alcohol.
At first I tried to deny it and control it, then I became angry and full of rage, after that I was sad and in despair for a long time, but finally, after months of grieving I felt relief and empathy. In his case, she left but his family did an intervention that I did not have a part in. I was grateful that she was taken care of and even more grateful I had the tools and friends to take care of myself. Sometimes if someone you love needs an intervention all you can do is try your best and hope that they do the same.
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Ken Seeley works as an interventionist for Intervention 911 a company offering drug intervention programs for people battling with substance abuse issues.