When discussing addiction, it’s common to use terms such as “alcoholic,” “addict” or “patient.” These terms imply that addiction is a disease that happens to one person at one specific moment in time. This terminology might make it slightly easier to discuss the issue of addiction, but the terminology is actually somewhat misleading. After all, addiction doesn’t just impact the person. The addiction impacts that person’s loved ones as well. As the addiction progresses, their relationships begin to fray and break apart, and everyone’s health can suffer as a result. The addict might steal, lie or simply withdraw. The family members might argue, nag, cajole or grow depressed. Everyone suffers in addiction.
Families have a significant role to play in breaking the cycle of addiction. According to an article published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 60 to 80 percent of substance abusers have daily contact with family members. Therefore, they can be powerful motivators for change. This is the thinking behind a formal intervention. Here, the family can air their grievances in a loving way, and they can convince the person to enter treatment and receive needed therapies. But, these interventions may not help the family heal from the trauma. In some models, when the addict enters treatment, the family is simply left out and asked to deal with their issues alone. Some do, but some do not. The ARISE Intervention Model was designed to fill that gap. Here, the entire family comes together as a group, all solving the problem of addiction as one. They encourage recovery, work on their own recovery, support the addict and heal together. Read on to find out more about how this model can help.
The process begins with a call to an ARISE intervention specialist. This is a delicate process that must be handled with care and precision, so families are not encouraged to handle interventions on their own, without the help of a professional. In this first phase, the family works with the intervention specialist to develop a narrative for the meetings. The addict knows that the meeting is being planned and can even participate in these planning meetings. No surprises are allowed. The family learns:
They then develop a series of sentences they’ll use to persuade the addict to enter treatment, and they hold a series of meetings. As soon as the addict agrees to enter treatment, the meetings stop. Some individuals enter treatment right away, while others resist until five or even six meetings have been held. When this occurs, the family holds one last formal meeting, and the tone of this meeting is slightly more confrontational. The family may even outline consequences that will befall the addict if he or she won’t get treatment. Once again, the addict is asked to enter treatment, and the family may even set up an admission to a facility on behalf of the addict.
This aspect of the ARISE Intervention Model has been widely studied, and it has been proven remarkably effective. For example, a study in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment reports that the ARISE Model of intervention is as effective in motivating people to get treatment for addiction as is the threat of incarceration. This is remarkable, considering that the ARISE Model uses very few threats at all. Another study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found that ARISE resulted in an 83 percent success rate. Once again, this is remarkable and it points to the power inherent in the ARISE Model.
Ideally, the person will have agreed to enter treatment by the time phase two begins. As the statistics show, most people have done just that. But, even if the addict refuses to enter treatment, the family still moves forward. The goal of the model is to help the entire family heal, and sometimes, the family needs to start that process in order for the addict to follow. For example, according to a study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, the majority of spouses or partners of people addicted to alcohol participated in enabling behaviors, such as taking over chores, drinking alongside the person or making excuses for the alcoholic’s behavior. In order for true healing to begin, these behaviors must stop, and the family must learn how to be supportive and helpful in the addict’s recovery. Twelve-step programs such as Al-Anon and Narc-Anon can be quite helpful, as can working with a counselor. The family takes these steps, whether or not the addict begins treatment. According to an article published in the American Journal of Psychotherapy, this work can be remarkably helpful. In particular, researchers found that the sharing aspects common to these 12-step meetings helped families learn more about themselves and re-establish their own senses of self-esteem. It’s clear that this can have a big impact on the healing process.
If the addict does enter treatment, the family continues to work with the ARISE interventionist, learning how to support the person in recovery, and provide a warm and caring presence that can help motivate and support the person as he or she heals. The interventionist may also work with the addict, in collaboration with the addict’s treatment team, to help prevent relapses.
When the formal treatment program ends, the family must learn to live in recovery and support the work that they all have done. Often, this means they must support or make changes in a wide variety of areas such as:
The ARISE interventionist helps to support the family here, adding to the network the addict and the family have built up through the rehabilitation process. This phase may never really end, as the family may need to keep continuing their work for years to keep a relapse from occurring.
The ARISE Intervention Model was co-developed by Dr. Judith Landau, a child, family and community psychiatrist. According to her biography, published on the ARISE website, her young life was full of turmoil, culminating in the death of her parents. As a result, Dr. Landau was raised by a community of extended family members, and here, she learned the value of a network all striving toward a common purpose.
Dr. Landau has worked with addicts and their families for over 30 years, and in that time, she became convinced that by engaging the entire group in therapy, greater success in healing could be had. She began to tweak the common intervention model, looking for ways to integrate the family in healing. She’s published multiple articles on the topic, and she’s been quoted in a wide variety of media venues, including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.
Dr. Landau has worked as an ARISE interventionist with many families, but she is not the only person qualified to manage this process. In fact, there are many people all around the United States who have taken courses to become certified in the process. If you think the ARISE Intervention Model is right for you, or you simply know that an intervention of some type is needed, it’s time to get in touch with us. We can connect you with a qualified interventionist who can help you design, plan and carry out an intervention.