Someone you love is showing signs of addiction. You’ve devoured books with titles like “Walking on Eggshells”. You’ve nudged, you’ve argued, and you’ve threatened. You’ve seen counselors and sought the advice of trusted friends. Still, the crazy-making behavior is accelerating like a runaway train and, by now, you’re feeling desperate.
Where do you turn?
Your next step is to seek the guidance of a certified addiction professional, ideally someone with experience in substance abuse intervention. But how do you find a reputable one? Who can you trust? As an addiction interventionist for 30 years, here’s my best advice:
Step One: Call a respected treatment center and ask them to refer you to an independent addiction professional in your area. Ask who they’d recommend for interventions. Who are their best referring case managers, addiction specialists, or interventionists in your city? Three programs I’d suggest calling include Milestones at Onsite in Tennessee, Cirque Lodge in Utah, or Saint Christopher’s in Louisiana. Jot down the names they offer, then call a second treatment center and ask the same questions. After a few phone calls, you’ll start hearing the same names. (In the Richmond, Virginia area, in addition to my intervention services, I recommend Gail Santarelli, LPC at Richmond IOP or Maryann Cox, LCSW. In Charlottesville, VA. I’d suggest Dr. Kevin Doyle).
Step Two: Now, start calling your list of recommended professionals and pay attention to their initial response. My approach is to ask family members to take some time before hiring me to watch my video talks about addiction and alcoholism, and read the client testimonials and client stories on my website. I also ask them to call two of my client references. My former clients will often say something like, “When Bill told us to do this, we thought he was crazy. But in the end, he was right.” This background research helps new clients establish trust in me before we begin the arduous process of intervention, recovery treatment, and aftercare. The road to recovery from drug addiction and/or alcoholism is often bumpy. When I work with families, there are often rough patches, such as when parents balk when I tell them to stop paying an adult child’s rent or confiscate a teenager’s cell phone. But they’ll remember my former clients’ words: “We thought he was crazy but his advice worked”.
Trust is everything in this process, and trust in who you are working with for the intervention is essential. In the end, you know your loved one better than I do. But I know the disease of addication better than you do. Together, we’ll work as a team to help your loved one get onto the road to recovery.
Bill Maher, Interventionist, is a Board Registered Interventionist II and Member of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors and member of The Association of Intervention Specialists.