LOVE = INTERVENTION: A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH

Kim Koslow, LMHC, MCAP, CTT, BCPC

INTERVENTION

Love will bring up anything unlike itself for the purpose of healing. ~ Iyanla Vanzant

The statistics are staggering. State and local agencies across the US report shocking comparisons. In one year, drug overdoses killed more Americans than the entire Vietnam War. The opioid epidemic has killed the same number of people who were dying of AIDS during the 1980’s AIDS epidemic. The Center for Disease Control found an estimated 63,600 people died of drug overdoses nationwide in 2016.

More than ever before, addiction is a matter of life and death.

The difference between life and death (really death and life) can be an Intervention. Unfortunately, this life saving event carries a lot of heavy baggage with it. Oftentimes in the media, an intervention is depicted as a surprise event, where family members ambush a member of their family who needs help. Depending on the individual, a surprise intervention may or may not be necessary. If you have a family member or loved one who has expressed a desire to break free of their addiction but has not followed through on it yet, you may want to schedule a time for a family meeting. Under these circumstances, a family mediator can help keep everyone calm and on track for the purpose at hand.

By the time an intervention is needed, families are physically, mentally and emotionally drained. They find themselves at a loss, not exactly sure where to go, what to do, or whom to trust. Addiction has destroyed trust and ruined relationships between people who love each other. Alcoholism and drug addiction is
a sensitive topic for anyone, and the individual who is suffering from addiction may present as defensive and angry. Addiction is a disease of the brain that changes how people behave, therefore, having a trained professional who understands the issues without being directly affected by them, can often help keep the peace.

With the support of a trained intervention professional, families are guided every step of the way to help get their loved one into treatment and allow the healing to begin for everyone. There are many models and different ways of doing an intervention.

I was trained as an interventionist many years ago and have facilitated hundreds of interventions since then. While not one intervention has been the same, I have carried the same intention for each one. Love someone enough to tell them the truth.

It is not a sign of loving someone when you see them destroying themselves with alcohol and drugs and conducting dangerous behaviors yet still no one says anything to them. If you love someone enough to tell them the truth, you can tell them that you cherish and honor them, but you hate what the untreated disease of addiction has done to them. In an intervention, you may not know what to say or how to say it, but you will be guided and, because you have a professional on board, the way will be made clear.

You have to really love someone to tell them the truth and because you love them, you want them to have all the information available so they can be their best self. You tell them the truth because you want them to make healthy choices and decisions. You want them to have everything they need to fully weigh their options. You also want to tell them the truth as a sign of your respect for them and that you believe they can handle the truth. Whatever has to be said or written to the one needing treatment should begin and end with, “I love you.” We often feel very unlovable in the hands of our addiction.

You see, I was once the unlovable addict being intervened upon. I had given up. I couldn’t live and I couldn’t die. I felt hopeless. My family hired a trained intervention professional and, one by one, they were each guided to start and end by saying, “Kim, I love you.” In between they loved me enough to tell me the truth about how my addiction was destroying everything good in my life. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember what it felt like to hear my mother say my name. I hadn’t heard her voice in so long. I remember what it was like to lift my head up from the ground for the first time in a very long time and look deep into my father’s green eyes as he told me he loved me. I remember feeling loved and hopeful…Intervention Brings Hope.

A Note from Kim

Several months ago I was blessed with the opportunity to work for Futures of Palm Beach in the Outreach Department. I feel so fortunate to be able to help families and people suffering with addiction find lifelong recovery and sobriety. For me, this is not a career, it’s a calling. www.futuresofpalmbeach.com