This is a guest post from interventionist and family counselor Ricki Townsend,. Ricki volunteers to lead Clean & Sober Recovery Services' FREE and confidential family support meetings. Call us at (916) 990-0190 to learn more.
As an interventionist and family counselor, I’ve frequently been asked how to do an intervention and whento do an intervention. Here’s the answer, in a nutshell: An intervention comes about when a family has tried everything and is at the end of their rope. They have exhausted every approach: crying, screaming, watching like a hawk, grounding teens or even leaving their spouse for a while. They may have also had their fill of visits to the Emergency Room and have perhaps even witnessed a close call from an overdose. They are exhausted, and they are becoming depleted – physically, mentally and emotionally — much like their beloved addict. Finally, they call out for help, most likely because another crisis is on the doorstep or just around the corner.
It’s back, and it’s bad. While the opioid epidemic may be front and center, more and more people are becoming hooked on another drug entirely: methamphetamine. Here’s why addiction to that powerfully-addictive stimulant is especially worrisome to drug and alcohol professionals:
1.The rate of overdose deaths involving meth more than tripled from 2011 to 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
2. As meth overdose deaths increase, that number may surpass opioid overdose deaths. For example, in 2017, more people in Texas died from meth overdose (813 deaths) than heroin overdose (519 deaths).
3. Meth users tend to abuse other substances, which makes it hard for first responders to know which overdose to treat. Heart attack, stroke or seizure…what kind of drug overdose should we be treating here??
4. Medical providers have very few pharmaceutical tools to help methamphetamine users survive an overdose and recover. There’s no Narcan to reverse a meth overdose, and there’s no medication-assisted treatment to help ease meth users into recovery.
5. Long-term meth use can alter the brain and cause psychotic symptoms that may take up to one year to subside after use stops.
6. Meth has become increasingly easy to find in the eastern region of the United States, no thanks to Mexican drug cartels.
7. The Drug Enforcement Administration is seeing the reports that the price of meth is the lowest in years that the agency has seen.
8. It’s not only cheaper, it’s more potent. Today’s meth is more than 90 percent pure.
Thoughts from John Perry, owner of Clean & Sober Recovery Services
Two to three weeks into treatment, we often spot a resident’s overconfidence rearing its ugly head. It shows up as the faulty thinking that “I’m all better now, and I’m ready to return to my real life.” That’s a really bad plan for so many reasons.
Two or three weeks into treatment, residents may sincerely believe they are better. They aren’t trying to sneak out of treatment, but they simply believe they don’t need it anymore. Yes - they look better, they feel better, and they sincerely and truly believe they are now equipped to navigate life without drugs and alcohol. Their intentions are as “pure” as they can be, given that their brains and logic are altered by substance use disorder. Their cognition and judgement are severely compromised, so the newly-sober resident should certainly not be calling the shots about treatment duration.
This is a guest post from board-registered interventionist and family counselor Ricki Townsend.
We all experience anger and resentment as we deal with our addicted or alcoholic loved ones. We may be angry because their substance use disorder is derailing our lives and sucking up our time and money. Their alcohol or drug abuse may be driving a wedge between family members, or tearing the family apart. We may be resentful when our loved ones do a disappearing act that leaves us behind to pick up all the pieces. And we may be very angry (and hard on ourselves) if we’ve been fighting the monster of addiction for so long without even recognizing this wily foe: “All this time, s/he’s been messed up by alcohol, and I didn’t even know. How stupid am I?”
This is a guest post fromRicki Townsend, a board-registered Interventionist, Drug/Alcohol Counselor, Chaplain and Grief Recovery Specialist
“My twenty-year-old daughter does very well in college, but has had two DUIs and also a short stint in jail for pot. I don’t want to take her out of college to get help, but I am worried.”
Two DUIs by the age of 20, plus some jail time for pot? Your daughter sounds like she is in the throes of addiction or alcoholism. Please remember addiction/alcohlism/Substance Use Disorder is a brain disease, a disease that is chemically-driven by mood-altering substances including drugs and alcohol. She needs serious help.
Her whole life is ahead of her, so give her a chance to heal and get back on track. Many, many young people have gone back to school later in life and found great success. Most importantly, taking a critical year off to get healthy will not derail her academics, but addiction will.