Help Through Intervention

July 18, 2009 5:29:38 AM PDT
We recently learned Michael Jackson's family, including his brothers and sisters, suspected his drug use long before his death, even staging an unsuccessful intervention. Brad Lamm, board certified interventionist and author of "How to Change Someone You Love" out in December, joined us with tips. What can families do if a loved one is in trouble?

Much much more than they imagine! I suggest we do something radical - we lead with love and invite them to a family meeting. Just like that, we have started an intervention. There is strength in numbers, so do some planning and get your ducks in a row before you have the meeting.

Here are the four steps that I suggest families take:

Take your inventory
(What's the problem? Is my motivation right? Fear and reservations?)
Set Date and Time and Assembly Team
Make an Invitation and Have the Meeting
Define a Six-Month Change Plan

What are some common traits of the everyday addict?

Secrets and lies are often traits that are part of a person's addictive lifestyle. But as many different kinds of people there are, there are that many kinds of addicts. A-type addicts, B-type addicts, Leos & Cancers, Christians & Atheists. Addiction truly respects no boundaries. No one is immune.

What are the signs of trouble? How do you judge when someone needs an intervention?

Change in sleeping patterns
Financial predicaments
Unexplained weight loss
Money issues
Doctor shopping, many prescriptions
Problems at work
Picking, open sores
Unexplained mood swings

The challenge of IF and WHEN we should step in, or step aside is something most families face. It takes most folks many years to develop consensus or agreement of what the problem really is - and then even longer for them to decide what to do. If your heart hurts for someone you love, whose life is being negatively affected because of an addiction or behavioral disorder - step in! Invite them to a solution, support and change. You can't go wrong. I believe that.

Where is the fine line between loving engagement and enabling?

I ask folks to ask this question - am I supporting my loved one's health or their addiction? The answer is always clear. We make it blurry, difficult, and unclear - but there is always a way the answer will lead you to action healthy enabling or unhealthy enabling.

Can you really change someone even if they are resistant to help?

Absolutely! What I promise is that if the family, the friends, decide that THEY have hit their "bottom" then that's the place the action comes. "NO" is a conversation starter in the work that we do at Intervention Specialists. If they were saying "YES" right away we wouldn't be talking about this. The denial comes from the addiction.

So we get them to fall into our plan just enough so that we may then help them pull the bark off that tree. It's THAT CLOSE, the addiction and the person.

Over time, lasting change is something your loved one will grab onto and embrace or not. But the steps toward change begins now with your invitation and this process encourages, embraces and inspires change in the life of your loved one struggling with dangerous behavior.

Brad has a Change Seminar Thursday July 23rd in New York city at at Subud at 230 West 29th Street.

For more information, visit