I compare it to finding someone lying on the sidewalk, helping them up, brushing them off, and pushing them down again.
Those of us who work in treatment quickly sense a problem: people with addictions aren’t likely to respond to this approach.
Many of those programs treat opioid users without relying on medication, and yet manage to achieve remarkable success rates– sometimes 80% over a five year period.
“You don’t see much motivation or insight. But I guess that’s why they have to be compelled in the first place, right?”
Even the most recalcitrant drinker can appreciate the desirability of avoiding still more consequences. It’s a side door around some of the alcoholic’s denial.
The addict may have tried to control drinking or drug use many times, and failed. This experience leads him to conclude that he can’t change.
Involving the therapeutic team adds strength to the message and can speed the accomplishment of important goals.
Intervention can be quite dramatic (that’s why it makes for good TV), but it’s really the intelligent application of leverage that produces the desired result.
A big fine, for instance, isn’t necessarily a better deterrent than a lesser one that is administered quickly and effectively.
But if the client also conveys a strong desire to get a degree or a worthwhile job, or start a family or get out of debt – these also constitute motivators for success.