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Xpert Interventionist Q & A

Xpert Interventionist Q & A

What would an intervention be used for?

Interventions are very effective ways of putting a stop to the destructive behavior of a loved one. Most often people get the idea that their loved one "is not that bad" or " I thought he would grow out of it" and allow the negative destructive behavior to continue. Often, contributing to it by financial means in various ways. Some people feel like they can solve the problem themselves and try to "help" by use of force or harping and griping. Dealing with someone who already has some underlying problem (being dealt with by taking drugs), in this manner, usually motivates the person to continue and often makes matters worse. An intervention is an effective way for the family to gain control of an out of control situation and achieve a positive result for both the person struggling and the family.  Interventions happen in many ways. Most of which we have no control over. Legal problems, Jail, Hospitalization, Overdose and Death. in 2017, there were 70,237 overdose deaths in the United States. Over 192 per day! Standing by and watching the destructive behavior is contributing to the problem and could cause a death. Just think about all those families out there who have known their loved one drives while intoxicated only later to be involved in a traffic fatality killing themselves or someone else or both. Interventions stop this. Interventions come on many levels as described before. Those various interventions are like road hazard warning signs and if you are not paying attention you are putting your loved one's life, and someone else's life, at risk. Its never too early for an intervention of some form to help you and your loved one get on, or stay on a positive path to success.

Why would a family want to hire a certified interventionist?

A professional interventionist helps families in a number of ways. Most people that I deal with really do not know where to start in the process of getting their loved one treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. From finding the right treatment program, to handling medical situations and sometimes legal situations, a professional interventionist helps families stay focused and on task by maintaining control of the situation. A good interventionist will be able to stay one step ahead of most addicts. Families are often very emotional and on the edge of breaking at any moment. Not being emotionally connected to the addicted loved one helps the interventionist keep positive control of the situation and properly guide the family through the intervention process. I know when it came to my own son, my emotions were so volatile, ranging from grief to rage in just a few short seconds hat without help I am certain I would not have had success. No one can think rationally under those conditions. Fortunately, I had a professional interventionist and substance abuse counselors to help me.

How does your knowledge and ability ensure the intervention will be a success?

I have been dealing with addicts since I was 15 years old (38 years). I have been helping addicts get sober for the last 19 years. I have been charged with ensuring the safety of many families’ loved ones and this is a responsibility I take very seriously. Starting out many years ago I consulted other experienced professional interventionists, who were more than happy to provide guidance, about their successful actions. Each one had varied approaches and I tried various ways gradually honing in on what works for me. Knowing the dos and don'ts and being able to think one step ahead comes second nature to me at this point. There are basically five stages to an intervention. Planning, Preparation, Execution, Implementing Bottom Lines and Staying Firm with Bottom lines. If the first two phases are done correctly, the third phase goes very smoothly and the fourth and fifth stages are not needed. There are many tricks to the trade as a professional interventionist that I have picked up along the way that greatly assist me in helping those in need. Things such as timing of the intervention, when to give in just enough so that the addict can feel safe in saying yes, and when to be firm. Other tricks such as how to manipulate around legal situations, court rooms, jails, through airports and getting flights without ID (quite common among addicts) to name just a few.  There are also medical situations that may need to be addressed, along with knowledge of the various drugs of abuse and kind of reactions to look for.

When would be the best and worst times to have an intervention?

Most families I deal with find this hard to believe but addicts are quite easy to gain control of. Most addicts are good people and deep down they really want help. Each intervention is performed on a case by case basis but quite often I use the drugs of abuse in my favor. If an addict is abusing cocaine or methamphetamine, basically stimulants, catching an addict when they are coming down, or have been asleep, would be the best time. For an opiate addict and/or heroin addict catching someone just at the beginning of their withdrawal period sometimes works best as this can be used in your favor. The opiate and heroin addicts are deathly afraid of the withdrawal and will want to get somewhere quick. Legal situations can also work in a family’s favor. One of the big mistake people make is waiting for court dates to get an addict into treatment. The thing to remember is an addict is going to continue abusing drugs, regardless of the consequences, so waiting for anything is keeping an addict’s life in danger. Getting them out of the drug-using environment and in a safe place to get help is by far the most important thing to do. The courts, and most of the time, medical situations can be dealt with after a person has entered a treatment program. The treatment will work in the favor of the addict when done properly and I only work with treatment centers that have vast experience in these areas.

How do you convince an addict to give up the drugs, and make a choice to get help?

People make decisions based on pros and cons. Most addicts are good people and deep down really want help and simply need guidance and reassurance that things are going to be okay. Drugs have a terrifying grip on an addict both physically and mentally, so sometimes a firm stance is needed to help them make the right decision. Addicts start taking drugs to solve problems, mental and physical. Whether it be someone becoming addicted to painkillers after an injury or surgery or turning to drugs or alcohol to bury past traumatic incident, substances are abused to deal with problems and then become the problem. Although it is very apparent to friends and family that there is a substance abuse or addiction issue, to an addict there may be some other problem they are struggling with and would like help for. As an example, I once performed and intervention on a young man from Hilo, Hawaii who had just the day before stolen a car off of his parents’ car lot and driven into a telephone pole at 40 miles an hour, on purpose, while drunk and high on Xanax. When we did the intervention, he stated he did not have a drug problem, and I responded with " well, obviously things aren't going well, how is your life going?" and he said, " it sucks". I asked what he thought the problem was. "I hate people" he said. Once I explained how going to a rehabilitation program would help him learn how to deal with people, without using drugs or alcohol, and not using driving a car into a telephone pole as a solution, he agreed to go. There are many motivational tools a professional interventionist will know how and when to use. A professional will know just how much "environmental pressure" to apply to help the addict make the right decision. Environmental pressure are those things in the addict’s environment that will cause things to be very uncomfortable if applied. Otherwise known as the consequences. Every fire needs oxygen and every addict needs an enabler. Educating the family on these enabling behaviors prior to the intervention and getting them to see how they have contributed to the problem by doing so, is a key element in convincing them to stop if the addict refuses to go. These consequences can also include using law enforcement, eviction, child custody and things of this nature. This may sound brutal but the truth is it works and if used correctly you can break through that monster called addiction and get to the person you know and love. You can save their life!