The Most Difficult intervention – Marijuana- Really?

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People often ask me “What is the most difficult type of intervention.”  They are often caught completely by surprise when I tell them that a person abusing marijuana  can be the most difficult person to get help for.
First of all,marijuana is not a harmless drug, and there are certainly many people who almost everyone (except perhaps themselves) would describe as addicts.
These people smoke marijuana all day long.  They have little or no energy for working or taking care of themselves.  They are sometimes not able to do more than take care of the basics in their lives – if that.
When confronted about their marijuana use they will argue that it is being legalized and that it doesn’t hurt anyone.
Further, treatment centers report that some of these people can be resistant to treatment for many of the same reasons.  Marijuana takes months, even up to a year to get out of their sytsem.  And if you are an older person the strength of marijuana today is up to ten times as powerful as what you might of used in your younger days.
All of this makes Marijuana a difficult problem to honestly confront.  Sometimes a person with a so called “hard drug” addiction like heroin or cocaine can be easier to convince to get help as they are not holding onto the illusion that their drug of choice is harmless.

Family Healing – Family Reconstruction – Family Therapy

left-column-pic-3 Do you wish you had that conversation with your father before he passed away?  Are people in your family not getting along? Are there family secrets that nobody is talking about?  Do you have a good family but sense that there is an inner deepness that the family is  not getting to?    Or do you just want help talking about certain family issues?  There are literally thousands of reasons why almost every family could benefit from working with a trained professional to help deal with the underlying family issues.  At Successful Interventions we are pleased to announce that we have started a program of working with families to deal with all of these things and to work towards developing a stronger, healthier family – even when addiction is not the main problem.   We start with an intensive weekend workshop and support you over a one year period to develop into the family you were truly meant to be.  From working with families for the past 15 years we have seen that working with the family can be much more powerful and transformational than simply working with the individual. We can accomplish  in one weekend of family work what might take months, or even years,  of individual therapy.

Jade Seabrook Joins Successful Interventions

jade-175We are  pleased to announce that Jade Seabrook has joined Successful Interventions.  Jade brings a wealth of experience to her work with us.  She also brings new ideas and energy to our profession.. Jade is a fully qualified board certified interventionist and is member of the Association of Intervention Specialists and Network of Independent Interventionists.   She has helped us craft a new web site and video describing the work that we do at Successful Interventions.  Jade is passionate about her work.  Clients apprecaite that when she is hired she brings a sense of commitment that results in her clients getting what they need.  Put simply she gets the job done.

Chasing a Goal With Seconds to Spare

James Dunn - Chasing a GoalThe following story describes how James Dunn, having found recovery over 19 years ago, was able to deal with his alcoholism and develop strength and confidence. He has been able to transfer these new-found qualities to other areas of his life; running marathons is just one example.

Coming around the last corner the pain was excruciating. A tight band was across my hips — my legs were leaden. With each stride the pain shot through my legs.

But I had to keep going. The clock read three hours and 29 minutes and to realize my dream I had to finish the Victoria International Marathon in 3:30. Not knowing if I could keep going, or where to turn for help, I thought of my wife’s father, Marland, who had passed away just one month earlier. I was running this race in his honor to see if I could finally qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Marland’s advice came to me quickly: “Keep running and run harder.” So I did. On the final stretch I looked like a human crab — arms and legs flailing away — as I tried to run faster. Others described me more like a human windmill that was experiencing mechanical difficulties. Suffice to say the previous 25 miles were not contributing to a free-flowing running style.

I just wanted to give up. Every part of my body hurt and I thought, “If I give up who would know?” I couldn’t live with that answer. Calling on everything I had left, this crab like, windmill challenged figure careened down the last yards to finish in a time of 3 hours 29 minutes and 54 seconds. I fell into the waiting arms of my family, unable to take another step. After eight years of trying I had qualified for the Boston marathon by six seconds.

It was not easy for me to qualify for Boston. I had to put in years of training and deal with numerous “failed” attempts. It helped to remember what Winston Churchill said when he was asked what his most helpful ability was in dealing with the darkest days of the war, when all looked like it was lost. What Winston Churchill pointed to was not the successes of his life. Rather he remembered the two years in primary school when he was required to repeat the same grade. Others could see that as a “failure” but Churchill saw it as his greatest asset as it provided him with the perseverance to keep on going. The people of England, he knew, needed someone who would not quit when things got tough.

So I learned, too, that not getting what I want, when I want it, is often a good thing. It was my repeated attempts, what some people refer to as “failures” that gave me the strength and courage to keep on going. For that one day, at that one marathon, I was tough enough to achieve what seemed impossible.

Intervention Models

Intervention Models

Johnson (Surprise) Model

Dr. Vernon Johnson saw the value in family and loved ones being used in an intervention. During the 1970s, this was something new and very unconventional compared to other Intervention methods. Instead of family members “ganging up” on the addict and blaming them for hurtful feelings as well as memories, Dr. Johnson encouraged caring as the priority.

He asked the family members to confront the addict with letters that focused on how much they care for the addict. He had the family members write letters to the addict giving them a list of consequences if sobriety or rehab was not sought out.

The main purpose behind the Johnson Method is to confront the addict by motivating and encouraging them to change their lifestyle for the good of not only themselves, but of the family around them.

To continue to throw blame and insult only causes the addict to break down and ultimately stop listening; the idea of sobriety is no longer an option because their defenses are so high that nothing will convince them to change their mind. Dr. Johnson wants the addict to be confronted but in a way that their defenses are low, recognizing that an addict’s defenses are already raised when they are confronted in a surprise way.


An invitational and multiple stage process of intervention, that supports and leads the individual and family towards healing, treatment and recovery, including continuing care before during and after the initial process to support all aspects of recovery and help for the entire network of people involved.
Originated by Linking Family Systems, LLC

Systemic Family Model

Most people who hear the word “intervention” think of conspiratorial meetings and secret discussions that lead up to an emotional, and often hostile, confrontation that humiliates and shames both the chemically dependent individual and the family members.

Unlike traditional confrontational intervention models, the Systemic Family Intervention is invitational. In this model, the entire family is invited to work together to address multiple issues in a respectful, safe, and collaborative environment. The family is then able to utilize new skills to help themselves and the dependent family member accept treatment.

The focus of Systemic Family Intervention is systemic health. As the people in the system get healthy the addicted person must change as well. As part of the process, everyone involved learns about addiction. Everything changes and the addicted person gets help through treatment – later rejoining a healthy family system.

The process usually takes place over 2 days (often on a weekend). Many families say that it is the most important thing they have ever done as a family.
Originated by Wayne Raiter, Executive Care Inc.