23 Dec Family Intervention and Codependency Support in British Columbia
It’s often hard for a family member to watch a loved one suffer from an addiction, whether it be to drugs or alcohol. Family members frequently think that they can fix an addict with a little personal help, but end up enabling them even more. With the help of Andy Bhatti Interventions & Addiction Services in British Columbia, families will learn how to write letters to the addict or alcoholic to allow their feelings and emotions to be heard.
Before performing an intervention, our Interventions will sit down with the family to have a pre-intervention. During this time, he talks to the family about codependency and enabling. After the family intervention, the treatment options will be discussed.
It’s common to find out that the addict is addicted to more than one drug that their family doesn’t know about. If so, a different treatment centre may work better for the addict. Our interventionists will help find the right private detox and treatment centre in British Columbia for the family’s financial situation and that will work best for the addict’s needs.
How an Addict or Alcoholic Affects the BC Family
When you really look at the situation, many family members are doing things that are keeping bottom from being felt and preventing help from being an option. The reality is this; the family is addicted to their loved one and has grown accustomed to the way things have become. Families are not prepared when they call us to hear that they need to change because they are part of the problem. In fact, many of them become upset with us. They have been told that it is not their fault and that their loved one has to ask for help or hit rock bottom. What does this translate to? The addiction may not be the family’s fault they are not addicted to drugs or alcohol but the family allows it to continue.
It is far easier to get someone addicted to drugs or alcohol to accept help than it is to convince family members (with no professional background or experience and who are emotionally attached) to let go of their own opinions, get on the same page, and do things the right way. The addict and the alcoholic have a job to do, and that job is making sure nobody in the family is in agreement with one another. If everyone were on the same page, then the loved one could not get drunk or high. Addiction is the only fatal medical condition an individual can have that families try to fix themselves or think they know more than professionals do about how to handle it. It takes no credentials to be critics with an opinion who think they know how to treat addiction.
Recognizing the Family’s Addiction
When family members call to hear about an intervention, they think they are calling about a loved one addicted to drugs or alcohol. Although true, most don’t realize they are calling just as much about themselves or other family members and their addiction to their loved one through enabling behaviors and codependency. Chemical dependency can’t exist without codependency, and until the enabling and codependency stop, neither will the addiction. Andy Bhatti Interventions and Addiction Services in British Columbia helps families that need to set healthy boundaries for their loved ones.
How Addiction Affects Relationships and Family Dynamics in British Columbia
Like addiction, codependency is not a moral failing or personality flaw, but simply a result of a set of circumstances that have led down a particular path. As with addiction, the key is to recognize the problem and commit to a new course.
To help begin that process, you must first understand some basic effects of relationships. It can be said that when two or more people become connected in a relationship of any form (work, romance, friendship or family), those in the relationship will do one or more of three things.
- A person will assume some of the qualities of the other.
- A person will assume a role that complements the qualities of the other.
- A person will assume a role that acts counter to the qualities of the other.
The most important thing to understand about the previous three statements is this
When two people connect or enter into a relationship of any type, then both parties are changed as a result of that connection.
In other words, all parties have been changed to some degree as a result of being connected and/or in a relationship with someone who has become dependent upon drugs or alcohol.
To make this a bit easier to understand, let’s replace a few words in the above scenarios to better fit the situation of addiction.
- A family member will assume some of the unhealthy behaviors of the substance abuser.
- A family member will assume a role that complements the unhealthy behaviors of the substance abuser.
- A family member will assume a role that acts counter to the unhealthy behaviors of the substance abuser.
If you take this a step further and replace the words family member with yourself, and then replace substance abuser with the name of your addicted loved one, things will become even clearer.
Remember, you have been changed as a result of your relationship with someone addicted to drugs or alcohol. The degree to which you have been changed is dependent upon the strength and length of time of the connection.
What is an Enabling Family System
Why do so many well-meaning British Columbian family members unintentionally enable the behavior of their addicted loved one? And what can be done to break the cycle and initiate meaningful change? The way relationships work is that when people connect, they change each other. They can’t help but affect one another. They both want and need things from the relationship.
Families enable for the same reason their loved ones get drunk or high because it is a comfortable alternative to confronting the situation. Most families we consult are shocked when they finally realize that enabling a family is an addiction very similar to the addiction of an addict or alcoholic. Enabling is a learned behavior taught to families over time by their loved ones to keep their addictions comfortable.
The Four Building Blocks of an Enabling Family System
Families are taught to keep their loved ones from wanting help or hitting bottom while society (doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, and so forth) back up these ridiculous notions by telling families they have to wait. The only one who gets ahead with this concept is the addict or alcoholic. Below are four examples of enabling behaviors taught to families by their loved ones to help keep the addiction comfortable for the abuser at the expense of the family.
- Guilt – Addicts and alcoholics teach families that it is their fault and that everything bad that happens is because of some other person, place, or thing. Because families feel guilty, they become enablers.
- Fear – Families are taught that if they try to intervene, set rules and boundaries, or make their loved ones go to rehab, they will hate the family forever, never talk to them again, commit suicide, or die if they stop the addictive behavior.
- Hope – Your loved ones teaches you that they will stop on their own, that they have a plan. Families believe them despite all the failed attempts. The family then starts to believe if the loved one is arrested just once, lands the right job, or meets that special someone, this will all go away. Your loved one teaches you to wait and do nothing.
- Victim – All addicts and alcoholics become professional victims. They constantly think to themselves and teach others that if you had their terrible life, you too would drink or take drugs. They say You don’t know what it’s like to be me, and If you were married to him (or her), you’d drink too.
At Andy Bhatti Interventions and Addiction Services in British Columbia, we teach BC families how to change enabling behaviors to make their loved ones become accountable. Families think that if their loved ones are left to their own devices, they will die as a result of their addiction. An enabled addict or alcoholic is far more likely to get worse, but conversely far more likely to get better if the enabling stops and the situation becomes uncomfortable.
What is Codependency?
Codependent behavior is when two people rely on each other to give them something they can’t provide for themselves. In the case of addiction, the addict or alcoholic usually depends on the family member to provide financial and lifestyle support, because their addiction makes them unable to care for their own basic needs (job, food, shelter, etc.). They also are often dependent on family members to give them the love that they don’t feel for themselves, to continually prove to them that they are worthy of love, attention and resources.
Family members usually need to feel that they are being a good parent, spouse, sibling or friend to the addicted loved one. Addicts and alcoholics know this, and they use it to manipulate and take advantage of their family members, knowing they can get away with it.
Breaking this cycle requires three steps.
- Recognize that you’re in a codependent relationship, and what your role has been thus far (accept the facts, and forgive yourself).
- Commit to changing your role, and decide to hand responsibility for managing the addiction back to the addicted loved one.
- Summon the courage to undergo the discomfort of change that is necessary to break this destructive cycle.
How to Recognize Addiction Codependency in your Family
There are ways to recognize addiction and codependency before it’s too late. Here are some ways to recognize if you’ve become caught up in a codependent relationship.
- You feel personally responsible for others.
- You think and feel responsible for other people – for others’ feelings, thoughts, actions, choices, wants, needs, well-being, lack of well-being, and ultimate destiny.
- You feel anxiety, pity and guilt when other people have a problem.
- You feel compelled – almost forced – to help that person solve the problem, such as offering unwanted advice, giving a rapid-fire series of suggestions, or trying to fix
- You feel angry when your help isn’t effective.
- You’re always anticipating other people’s needs.
- Your own needs are not being met.
- You try to please others instead of yourself.
- You wonder why others don’t help you the way you help them.
- You find yourself saying yes when you mean no, doing things you don’t really want to be doing, doing more than your fair share of the work, and doing things other people are capable of doing for themselves.
- You don’t know what you want and need or, if you do, tell yourself that what you want and need is not important.
- You find it easier to feel and express anger about injustices done to others, rather than injustices done to you.
- Your feelings of worth and contribution are dependent on others.
- You feel safest when giving.
- You feel insecure and guilty when somebody gives to you.
- You feel sad because you spend your whole life giving to other people and nobody gives to you.
- You find yourself attracted to needy people.
- You find needy people attracted to you.
- You’re always at the mercy of someone else’s drama or neediness.
- You abandon your routine to respond to or do something for somebody else.
- You overcommit yourself.
- You feel hurried and pressured.
- You feel bored, empty and worthless if you don’t have a crisis in your life, a problem to solve, or someone to help.
- You feel powerless – even when you seem to be in control.
- You believe deep inside that other people are somehow responsible for you.
- You blame others for the situation you’re in.
- You say other people make you feel the way you do.
- You believe other people are making you crazy.
- You feel angry, victimized, unappreciated and used.
- You find other people become impatient or angry with you for all the preceding characteristics.
How to Break the Cycle of Addiction Codependency with Your Loved One
Alcoholics and addicts in British Columbia aren’t the only ones who avoid intervention and treatment. Families tend to avoid intervention also because it’s hard on them too. It’s uncomfortable, emotionally taxing and fraught with uncertainty.
In order for change to happen, families and their addicted loved ones must face the discomfort of change. This can be scary, but thankfully it is just a period of transition; the discomfort isn’t permanent.
Addicted individuals will almost never choose to take on the discomfort of change. If they could do it on their own, they would have already done so. The family members are the only ones with the perspective and courage to step up, stop the cycle of codependency, and make change happen. It isn’t easy at first, but the short-term discomfort is worth it for the long-term benefits of saving your loved one’s life, and your own sanity.
Understanding Codependency and the Role of the Family
Working with British Columbian families who are addicted to their loved one through codependency and enabling is far more difficult for an interventionist than working with an addict or alcoholic. Families are looking for a solution that is comfortable for them and not necessarily what is best for their loved one. A family sees an intervention as a final solution in the same way that an addict or alcoholic views going to treatment as a final solution, and it scares them. This means an addict or an alcoholic has a difficult time accepting sobriety because there is the element of the unknown and the fear of change and what living life sober will be like.
Many are more comfortable continuing to get drunk or high because they are comfortable in that routine, even if that makes no sense to those looking in on the situation. Families have the same reaction; they are fearful of what a new routine will be like. Although they don’t like the way things are, they have become comfortable in knowing what to expect. It’s not unlike a person in prison who says he hates it, and perhaps he does, but who has become accustomed to the new normal. He is more comfortable in prison, knowing the routine and what to expect, than facing the uncertainties of the unknown were he to be released.
Remember that while families are waiting for their loved ones to want help and hit bottom, family members have been taught everything they know about addiction by the addict or alcoholic, about how to keep them comfortable so that bottom is never felt and help is never sought. Although somewhat instinctive, enabling is mostly a learned behavior taught to the family by the addict or the alcoholic. People say that someone had to teach them how to get high and the same applies to you in the family about enabling and addiction.
Until the family has had enough, hits their own bottom, and actually wants to live in peace, the addict or alcoholic will do nothing to change and get well—there is no reason to. Stop focusing on how to change or fix the addict and start looking at what you have allowed and why things are getting worse rather than better. The next time you speak to someone who tells you the addicted person has to want help and hit bottom before getting well, understand that the same applies to you and that you are addicted to your loved one.
A British Columbia Based Intervention can be the First Step Toward Healing your Family
If you’ve avoided confronting your loved one about the seriousness of his or her addiction and the need for treatment, it’s probably because you sense what may happen when you open that can of worms; the drama that will ensue. Your concerns aren’t unreasonable, especially given how irrational addiction can make people. But that doesn’t need to keep you paralyzed. Our professional interventionists in British Columbia know how to handle these situations so you can act powerfully, yet compassionately, to make changes that actually get your loved one the help he or she needs. When you do this, you will also be giving yourself what you need, and deserve, and have been missing out on for so long. If you are ready to take the next step towards healing or have questions don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 1-888-960-3209. We are right here in BC and can help.
Why Seek a Whole Family Addiction Intervention in British Columbia?
How many times has a family called us and asked, Why do I need you? Can’t we just talk to them ourselves? Sure you can. However, you already tried that 1,000 times and have been unsuccessful, so what’s going to be different now?
What becomes even more difficult is when a family calls us and says they spoke to their loved one and that the loved one has agreed to go to rehab. Sure, that’s great they are going to treatment, but still nothing has changed within the family system. Soon after treatment, the loved one will return home to the exact unwell, manipulated family system they left and that kept them comfortable in the first place.
Now you know why the success rate of treatment is so low, and it’s because families try and do the intervention themselves or they never do an intervention nor seek codependency counseling to help repair the family system that was broken by the addict or the alcoholic.
The Need for a Professional Intervention in British Columbia
You can’t be both the loved one and the professional. The drug addict or the alcoholic in your family has trained your family system how to keep him or her comfortable at your expense; that’s what is broken and that’s what needs to be fixed.
Here are some things to consider on why you need a professional and how to do an intervention
- Talking your loved one into treatment is NOT an intervention.
- You have to be the family or the interventionist; you can’t be both.
- The family is almost always viewed by the addict or alcoholic as the problem.
- You can never let them get to choose the treatment center or the level of care.
- If your codependency and enabling do not change, neither does their addiction.
- What are you going to do when they call you from treatment wanting to come home?
- You do not have to wait for them to want help, and you don’t have to wait until they hit rock bottom.
- Dad can’t fix this with rules and words.
- Mom can’t fix this with hugs and kisses.
Until a family system is united, gets on the same page and holds its loved one accountable, chances are high that the addict or alcoholic will either not accept help or will return to active substance use after treatment. Addiction is about self-medicating emotions and blaming loved ones for the addict’s problems. The addict or alcoholic goes to great lengths to manipulate a family into doing things that comfort him or her and make the addiction easier.
The only way to do a truly effective intervention is to hire a professional in British Columbia, because what needs to change first is the family. Until the behaviors that allowed the addiction to get out of control change, the addict or the alcoholic won’t.
Time and time again, we hear BC families tell us their loved one does not want help, and that is simply not true. They don’t have to get help because the family has provided them with enough comfort that they don’t have to stop and seek treatment.
What Andy Bhatti Addiction and Intervention Services Provides for Successful Family Interventions in British Columbia
Our family intervention services includes teaching them how to deal with the addict or alcoholic when they’re back from treatment, we will guide them in the direction of finding Al-Anon meetings while the patient is in treatment, and help the family find a marriage counselor, or child trauma counselor if needed.
Our interventionists have the ability to connect family members with private outpatient doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists or any trauma therapy, if they require help. The family will stay connected with the interventionist while the loved one is in treatment to make sure they’re doing well.
One of the most important things when it comes to a family intervention in British Columbia is knowing that it’s never too early for an intervention. Years ago people used to say addicts and alcoholics needed to hit rock bottom. Nowadays, that isn’t true. Rock bottom means death. With fentanyl being in Xanax, cough syrup, Molly, cocaine, crystal meth and heroin it means someone can take this deadly drug without knowing and end up dead from an overdose. It’s never too early to call for an intervention to save someone’s life.
Professional services we connect you with in British Columbia can include:
- Addiction Interventions
- Alcohol Interventions
- Crime Prevention
- Recovery Coaching
- 24 hour Stabilization
- Treatment Planning
- Family Therapy Programs
- One on one individual Counselling
- Gaming Interventions
- Drug and Alcohol Testing
- Treatment Transportation
- Court Transportation
- Sexual Abuse Counselling
Questions about Family Interventions and Treatment Options in British Columbia?
If you are committed to keeping your family together, then contact Andy Bhatti Addiction Services and Interventions at our toll-free number 1-888-960-3209. We offer family therapy, as well as other addiction treatment therapies for all types of conditions. Call us to find out more about our family therapy programs in British Columbia (BC).