Daniel Linder, MFT
Steps for rehab intervention
If you have a problem with a spouse that you suspect is addiction related, what I recommend you do is see a therapist before you talk to your partner about your concerns. Speak to an addiction specialist so you can get some education as to what addiction is all about and understand what you’re dealing with. The better you understand what you’re dealing with, the more sense and clarity and effectiveness you’re going to have in dealing with your spouse.
It’s very important that you understand what you’re dealing with before you have a communication with your spouse. So, seeking consultation with an addiction specialist is highly recommended for that purpose. The addiction specialist can help you communicate to your partner what behaviors you’re observing and how they concern you. And you would be able to tie them into the possibility of an addiction.
What happens in relationships where there’s an addiction is like the phenomena of the pink elephant in the room. There’s a big problem, and it’s getting worse and worse, and regardless of how it’s escalating or of the consequences, there is an increasing inability to discuss it for a variety of complicated reasons. It’s not addressed. It’s avoided, and attention around it builds. You would think that when there’s a pink elephant in a room and it’s a big problem, it’s addressed and confronted directly, but it’s not. It’s avoided and circumvented because there’s a lot at stake. There’s a lot of fear about it. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about it.
So what you gain from consulting with an addiction specialist about the loved one that you’re concerned about, whether it’s a spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend, or coworker, is an understanding about addiction that will help you very much, an understanding of what you’re going to try to do, how you’re going to intervene, and how you’re going to communicate which will help tremendously. And you’re going to learn how to specifically communicate your concerns to your loved one. Mostly that will involve what your observations were, what things have scared you, concerned you, saddened you, and angered you that relate directly to the addiction. You will be able to provide your loved one with a reality check that:
1. this is what you saw,
2. you believe that it’s tied up with their addiction; and
3. this is what needs to be done.
So, it’s education; it’s communication; and, most importantly, it’s an action plan. You’re going to walk away from your consultation with an addiction specialist with a clear plan that’s going to increase the chances that your loved one is going to get the help he or she needs.
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