Substance Use Disorders: Waiting for someone to hit Rock Bottom is a Myth

By Laurie Conaty, MSW, LCSW, LCAS

Not like the confrontational, dramatic interventions commonly seen on TV, but with the same outcome of the person with addiction going into treatment, Clinical Interventions are very effective. Done properly, they are respectful, factual and supportive. Trained in the Love First Model of Clinical Intervention, developed and written about by Jeff and Debra Jay, Laurie Conaty, LCSW, LCAS, describes that interventions prevent the harm in believing the old myth that someone has to “hit bottom” to get clean or sober. In fact, most people will suffer irretrievable losses or even death while tormented and fearful loved ones or colleagues wait for the addicted person to “hit bottom.” People with addiction need for those concerned significant others and/or professional colleagues to bring that ‘bottom’ up to them, in the form of a structured and powerful clinical intervention.

Interventions all include a meeting and planning (lots of it!) session of the significant others and/or professional colleagues of the person with addiction. The purpose of this meeting is to understand the process of addiction, to identify factually how addiction has impacted the person of concern and to develop a plan for the intervention-why, where, how and finally, identify the treatment program will the person go to. This is all done confidentially and with the guidance of a trained Clinical Interventionist-typically a Licensed Mental Health/Substance Abuse professional.

The second step is the Intervention, led by the Interventionist in partnership with a person who is close to the person with addiction. This is usually the person who made the initial contact with the Interventionist and coordinated other family members or colleagues.

The final, and sometimes ongoing step, is follow up with the family or colleague while the person is in treatment to be sure that everyone is still moving in the same direction of recovery. This is often a very challenging time. Frequently, the person with addiction is hoping to get everyone to ‘back off’ and the loved ones or colleagues are second guessing if they did the right thing! The Interventionist then becomes a Coach, supporting everyone in sticking with the plan.

Interventions work! For more information, read “Love First: A Families Guide to Intervention,” by Jeff and Debra Jay. It is a step by step guide to interventions.

For confidential information or inquiries about mental health or substance use disorder treatment, email or call dbaBehavioral Healthcare Associates, LLC at 919-292-1464