A man was caught this month at a local casino trying to cash forged checks worth more than $4,000. According to his arrest report, he told police officers that he moved to Las Vegas in the last year and that he is struggling with a heroin addiction, which motivated his choices. He also said that his heroin dealers gave him the checks and that, in return, he gave them a cut of the cash he received. With the money from the checks, casino security reported that the man played some slot machines and won a $1,600 jackpot.
His 19 felony charges include multiple counts of forgery, burglary, theft, attempted theft, and possession of a fraudulent document. Court reports note that he was slated for admission into a drug rehab program to address his underlying heroin addiction.
The Momentum of Crisis
Life-changing events – like an arrest for 19 felony charges – that are caused by drug and alcohol use or occur due to choices made while under the influence can be devastating. Mentally and emotionally, that moment in handcuffs in the back of a police car or waking up in a hospital can be earthshattering.
But when one’s reality is ruled by addiction, an earthshattering moment is often what is necessary to gain momentum to follow through and create positive change. The stupor of addiction and a banal perception of behaviors and circumstances that one would find unacceptable in sobriety will continue as long as there is nothing to disrupt the continued flow of drugs and/or alcohol. Consequences of addiction can be extreme, but extreme is what is needed for many people to wake up and realize that the time is now to make changes before they lose their freedom or their life.
A Gentle Suggestion
Concerned family members and close friends may have watched a loved one’s downward spiral into addiction for years, often feeling as if the consequences of chronic drug and alcohol use have long been at a crisis point. But for those who are living in addiction, it can take something huge to really demonstrate that their use of substances has progressed beyond their control and that it is no longer an option to simply attempt to quit alone.
Those who are close to the individual struggling with addiction can take the opportunity provided by the crisis event to confront their loved one about the addiction disorder. There is no more convincing forum than a jail cell or a hospital room to make it clear to someone that they are living with a substance use disorder and that it is time to seek treatment.
Staging an Intervention
An impromptu intervention is not recommended in most cases, but should your loved one face a crisis like the one described above, a serious accident caused by drug use, or an overdose, putting together a formal intervention as quickly as possible is recommended. Here are a few tips:
- Enroll your loved one in treatment. Before you stage the intervention, make sure they can walk directly out of the police station or hospital and right into a waiting treatment program. This can take a bit of maneuvering, especially if insurance or travel is involved, so make this your first step.
- Keep it simple. One or two people, with or without a professional interventionist, can have a phenomenal impact. Keep the total number of participants under three or four.
- Be clear and concise. Long-term addiction can bring up a lot of emotions for friends and family members, but during an intervention, the focus should be on nothing but helping the individual to recognize that the time for treatment is now. Tabling underlying issues is an essential first step, and it is important that those who participate in the intervention are able to maintain calm and focus throughout the event.
- Emphasize immediacy. There is no time to delay when it comes to entering treatment. Interventions offer people the option of treatment right now – no waiting a few days to handle “just one thing” or a week until a certain event has passed. Getting into treatment immediately is a priority, and family members must hold firm to their assertion that changes will take place now in terms of any support provided that enables addiction.