Interventions: What Clinicians Should Know

In this one-hour webinar, participants learn to help clients who need intervention for substance abuse. We discuss family dynamics, approaching intervention, and where clinical modalities and intervention intersect. We look forward to connecting with you and feel free to share your own experience with intervention.

Learning Objectives Include:

  • Overview of interventions
  • Understanding family dynamics throughout the process
  • Gain insight on intervention from the client’s perspective
  • Learn how an interventionist and a clinician work together for their clients

Featured Panelists
Tim Ryan, interventionist, author, speaker, Executive Recruiter and Consultant
Jennifer Gimenez, interventionist, speaker, activist
David Marion, interventionist, author, recovery advocate
Noelle Carmen, host and moderator

Interventions: What Every Clinician Should Know Podcast, Video and Transcript

CARMEN: 00:03[music] Welcome to Recovery Out Loud, a Niznik Behavioral Health podcast where we discuss addiction, mental health, and recovery. We’ll explore the true nature of addiction with behavioral health experts and hear first-hand personal testimony about what the path to recovery really looks like. From Niznik Behavioral Health, I’m your host, Noelle Carmen. Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the conversation. I’m your host, Noelle Carmen. And, today, we are talking about interventions. Get ready and hold on to your hats ’cause this is gonna be a good one. So we’ve all seen the show, but we’re here to dive a little more deeply into the process and what we need to know as clinicians with regards to clients and, and family through the entire process. So we have an incredible, incredible panel of intervention experts with us today. I wanna welcome– and, uh, this is a long list so I’m reading this. Uh, I want to welcome Tim Ryan. He is a speaker and an author. And he wrote Dope to Hope. Do you have the book to hold up for us?
RYAN: 01:17I sure do, somewhere.
CARMEN: 01:18If you do, that’s great. Um, he is– okay, there it is. Dope to Hope. Uh, he is A&E’s Dope Man. Um, hopefully, we will find a little bit more out about that. Uh, we also have Jen-Jennifer Gimenez. Am I saying–?
GIMENEZ: 01:34Gimenez.
CARMEN: 01:35Say this again, what?
GIMENEZ: 01:37Gimenez.
CARMEN: 01:38Gimenez. Oh, my apologies. I’m so sorry. Um, she is a supermodel, actress, and TV personality. Uh, and then we also have David Marion. He is a life recovery coach and a recovery advocate and the author – I told you this was so long – uh, of Addiction Rescue: The No-BS Guide to Recovery. Will you hold your book too, so everybody can kinda see?
GIMENEZ: 02:00I don’t have it. But also.
CARMEN: 02:01Oh, you don’t have the book. Okay. Uh, he is also a spokesman for a CDC Rx awareness campaign. Welcome, everyone, to the conversation.
RYAN: 02:12Thanks for having us.
MARION: 02:13Thank you.
CARMEN: 02:14Yeah. Thank you for being here. Okay. So let’s just jump in and get all on the sam-same page and just give us an overview from your perspective about intervention, so we can kinda just all start at, at the start line. Um, David, do you wanna start the conversation?
GIMENEZ: 02:33Yeah. You know, it’s funny. We were talking prior, too, and as an interventionist on the front line fighting addiction, mental health, um, we’re usually the last people called in. Usually, the families have tried everything possible to intervene themselves, uh, having that conversation. And until, really, you have somebody who is understanding the process of where they’re at, meeting them where they’re at, trying to get them off the elevator before the ground floor, um, the process could be daunting at times to most people. Um, an intervention is a process where the family comes together because their loved one is struggling with self-destructive, uh, harms and ways that are really affecting not only them but affecting the family as well. And, you know, when you’re dealing with such things, people really don’t know who to reach out to or how to reach out. Um, they don’t know what the situation is. A lot of times, they wanna call the police. They wanna call, um, social workers who really haven’t had, um, the same type of training that we have to be involved in something like this. And, yeah, so it’s, uh, quite the process that we’re involved in.
CARMEN: 03:43Tim, Jennifer.
RYAN: 03:45Why don’t you throw the exact question back at me again?
CARMEN: 03:48Okay. So, basically, I wanna get us all on the same page, just an overview of intervention, just to kinda add to what David, um, David said; so that when, when I start all my, my very deep and intriguing questions, that we’re all starting kind of at the same place.
RYAN: 04:05Go ahead, Boss.
MARION: 04:06We, we are such a married couple. I’m so sorry for everyone–
CARMEN: 04:08No.
MARION: 04:09–that’s going, “What are they doing?” We’re like monkeys on each other. So I really– uh, and please chime in with– when I’m saying this. I really believe that it’s important for the addict or alcoholic who is suffering out there, uh, and we come– and we come in to do an intervention, to feel humanized because they have been totally isolated. They have been, you know, all that, you know, shame, guilt, remorse around them. And to give them a no BS conversation, you know? I remember once, uh, somebody said you can’t, you know, BS a, a BSer. Uh, and so, uh, I was really– it really hit me when they said that to me because, at that moment, I realized, “Oh my God. They get me.” You know, um, I– uh, please chime in.
RYAN: 04:48You know, it’s, it’s just what Dave and Jen– you are walking into, uh– we’re the last line of defense. So you are immediately walking into complete and utter chaos. Most of the times, if it’s, uh, you know, a married family, a mom and dad, one’s good cop, one’s bad cop. So you’re having to disseminate all that and get this into place. But the key factor with the intervention, yes, it’s getting a loved one on the road to recovery, getting, getting them safe in a medical detox or whatever. But that is just the beginning. It’s, it’s working with the family and getting the family well while Johnny or Susie are getting help in treatment. But there are so much complexities and you have to take the time to do it right. And, “All right, we need to bring in a mental health clinician expert on this one.” And a lot of people half-ass things and I don’t like to use that word. Um, and it’s– we’re dealing with somebody’s life here. And, what Jen said, all these people want is connection and purpose and to be loved and that’s it.
CARMEN: 05:49So one of the things I wanna do throughout this entire conversation is tie the necessity for clinical to understand what is happening on the intervention pro– in– during the intervention process. You said there’s a lot of complexity. Is it important for clinical to understand your side of that complexity?
RYAN: 06:11Absolutely.
MARION: 06:12Yeah.
RYAN: 06:12I mean, th-that-that’s a no-brainer bec–
MARION: 06:14To the best of their ability. I mean, I f– I feel that if, you know, one is not in, uh– doesn’t suffer from the disease of addiction or alcoholism, you’ll never be able to get into an addict’s mind. So, uh, I think the best of your ability to, to at least understand this disease.
RYAN: 06:28Well, and th-there’s a number of clinicians that are in recovery, but there’s a lot that aren’t. And I’ve done interventions, a-as I said earlier, with a, a clinician that helped write the DSM-5. And that clinician would say to families, “Look, you need to understand. I have the educational background. I know it better than anyone that that person right there has lived it, and he can get through to him there. I can’t.” But you have to work together. And I think what a lot of clinicians fear is, you got to understand, we do things w– to help people. But people need to make a living too. And I seen a lot of clinicians then try to do the intervention and– no, if you have clients that are struggling, get interventionists. Get us involved. That way, we can get them into treatment, get you as their therapist working with them while they’re in treatment with their therapist. And then when they get out– because here’s the biggest mistake I see. People go to a 90-day treatment program. Jennifer’s my therapist. She’s done a phenomenal job. Now I have to leave that treatment center. I can never talk to that therapist again. That’s a huge hole in our system right now.
MARION: 07:33Well, I mean, I’ll say– uh, really quick, I’ll say, uh, my– I’m almost 16 years sober. In a month, I’ll have 16 years sober. And, uh–
CARMEN: 07:40Congratulations.
MARION: 07:41Thank you. And my– till this day, my two safe havens, my sponsor and my therapist. Thank God for them. Thank God for my therapist, you know. And, and it’s important exactly what you’re saying, and I’m gonna try mention what Tim said really quick. I did, um, sober rehab and sober house shows with Dr Drew. And Dr Drew always said, you know, “I have, you know, Bob Forrest and Shelly and Jennifer on these shows because I’m the doctor, but I don’t understand the brain. And I just– I ask questions. I need to know.” And I think it’s really important to ask questions, too, if you don’t know.
GIMENEZ: 08:13You know, and I also– and we don’t wanna negate that clinicians don’t have the ability, okay?
RYAN: 08:19Absolutely.
MARION: 08:20Mm-hmm.
GIMENEZ: 08:20They understand the isolation, the loneliness, being withdrawn, being in that state. But the lived experience of having to go through this and being intervened on 30 years ago and knowing the pain that I was in, um, we get to relate with others that are going through this. And I think when you bring it back into the– you know, not you talking to the person but I have worked and I have gone through stuff like this. And let me tell you, I understand where you’re at. You know–
RYAN: 08:48A-a-and, Dave, you hit on such a key point. And I’ll end because I know there’s a lot more questions, but one of the things the three of us are very good at doing is when we’re working with– I’ll use Johnny the client or the guest that we’re helping. I know Johnny is a 36-year-old heroin addict, alcoholic but he’s a successful business entrepreneur. I can give him two or three therapists that are gonna work real well with him. It’s also connecting people ’cause some people don’t work well with–
MARION: 09:15Mm-hmm.
RYAN: 09:16–this therapist but they wanna keep them and it’s not– you know, it’s all what’s in the best interest of the, the client is, is ultimately what it’s all about.
CARMEN: 09:25So now I wanna take the conversation and move it to a more granular level. Take us through– uh, Tim, you mentioned, um, ch-chaos, at the beginning. Take us through your experience of the initial contact with whomever is reaching out. What does that look like from an interventionist’s standpoint?
RYAN: 09:44Well, I get right to the point because a lot of families, they’re in crisis but they wanna give me a 20-year history. I wanna get right to the point. What is the situation now? They’ve been up doing meth for four days. Whatever the variable. So we can give them comfort and put together the team to come in and do what we need to do. But there’s also so many other variables. Does the individual have insurance? What kind of insurance? Is it an HMO or PPO? Can they cash pay? What are the options available for treatment? What’s the best fit? So you’re dancing all these things with your team and everything. It’s an orchestrated dance. It’s organized chaos. That’s exactly what it is. But you have to have the right team of people in place.
MARION: 10:29Well, I think that’s also important for us to know. Like, you know, I always a-ask, like, the parents or the loved one, what are three things that were, like, life-changing for this person? You know, uh, did they, you know, get molested? Something happened. And so when– another thing that I’m really adamant about is that I say– now we say together, uh, you know, are you willing to go, uh, to the family? It’s like, are you willing to be on our side? We need everyone on the same page. Like, we’re not here to, like– there’s– ’cause there’s gonna be pushing and pulling. You never know where it’s gonna go. So we walk in. We have a h– a house of cards, like, a hand of cards in our hands of what we know. We walk in with love and grace. And then, you know, here we are, people throw those cards down.
CARMEN: 11:09So it sounds like what you’re saying is there’s really two main aspects. Correct me if I’m wrong. You’ve got the financial piece in terms of what that planning– you have to use that as the foundation for planning what is about to happen. But then you’ve also got this emotional piece, it sounds like, Jennifer, you’re talking about. Okay. We do need to know some of what’s going on in terms of what kind of trauma are we looking at? Um, so both those pieces fit together. David, do you also look at both of those pieces?
GIMENEZ: 11:35Oh, absolutely. I think part of the assessment process on the initial consultation is acquiring as much information as possible, right? Um, we wanna know about what type of trauma, if there is any trauma. Obviously, um, you know, it’s often said that people with addiction usually always have trauma. But people with trauma aren’t always addicted, right?
RYAN: 11:55Mm-hmm.
GIMENEZ: 11:55Somewhere along the line, something happened. Uh, trauma being not what’s wrong with you but what happened to you.
CARMEN: 12:02Right.
GIMENEZ: 12:03And we begin to understand that. We wanna know the dynamics initially, in the initial consult. What are they using? How often are they using? You know, what behaviors? Are there consequences yet? Are there legal consequences? DWIs, loss of jobs, uh, what is it? And we get as much information possible to assess that situation prior to the next steps. The next steps obviously being who’s gonna be involved in the intervention. And that’s another piece.
RYAN: 12:27The, the– so, yeah, that, that– Yeah.
GIMENEZ: 12:29That’s another p– and they– we also wanna make sure– I’ve done interventions where there’s been people in there saying, “Well, this is a little hypocrisy. We used together back in college. And, you know, all of a sudden, you’re intervening. You should be in treatment.” So you have to really be careful —
MARION: 12:44Yeah.
GIMENEZ: 12:45–pick in this situation.
RYAN: 12:47Yeah. I was gonna jump in on Dave because it’s crucial, once you’re– they’re agreeing to move forward and, and we’re doing the things on the phone and talking and, and we’re– we got three brothers and two sisters and Johnny and Aunt Susie, once I’ve talked to all them, I might realize, no, those three aren’t coming to the intervention–
MARION: 13:03Yeah.
RYAN: 13:04–’cause they’re gonna throw it sideways. Because when we also come in, if, if Dave’s running lead, Dave’s the director. He runs first chair and Jennifer, if we’re doing the intervention with him, or we follow his lead and he runs the entire show. And there’s no voice raised and then this and–
MARION: 13:22Yeah.
RYAN: 13:23It’s a dance. That’s what it is. And it’s a– it’s a dance that a majority of the times is very successful. Rarely do we have people not going. If they don’t, they’re usually going in a week or two or a month.
MARION: 13:33Yeah.
RYAN: 13:35You know, you, you rarely don’t have people that ultimately don’t go. The only reason they don’t go is, is they waited too long and they die.
CARMEN: 13:42So all of these decisions and this information gathering process actually create the foundation of the success of the intervention itself. So it sounds like, also, you’re, you’re deciding who’s gonna be there. But you need buy-in as well. Jennifer, you mentioned that, where it’s like, “Okay, are you in? Are you gonna give us trouble?” And you’re actually trying to weed out people and select who’s gonna make this a success at the end of the day.
MARION: 14:11Yeah. And also, say, for example, mom and dad, dad’s not down, mom is. We are already working with dad before we even go into the intervention. He’s a little complacent, right? If he’s not down at all, then we do not want him. But if he’s a little complacent, we try to work with dad ’cause, ultimately, we know dad’s scared and he loves his son, daughter. You know–
CARMEN: 14:30Yeah.
MARION: 14:30And they’re gonna want to do the best, so just– so they’ve been dancing– I, I always say, you know, addicts and alcoholics out there using, not only are they slowly killing themselves. They’re slowly killing everybody that they love around them slowly.
CARMEN: 14:41Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
MARION: 14:44So we are dying with them, you know?
RYAN: 14:46Uh, it’s getting the families– one of the key aspects– and, and I know Dave’s a huge proponent of this is, “All right. We’ve got me. I’m Tim. Dave and Jen did my intervention. I’m going to treatment.” But we have got to get the family on, on the same page and they need to be doing the work because there’s also times, too, we do the intervention, get them into treatment– we realize it’s not a good environment for them to go back home. Now, we have to shift.
MARION: 15:08Mm.
RYAN: 15:09You know what? Now they’re going with a sober companion for 90 days, or into a structured sober living and– it depends, are they college? Are they a business professional? Where do they fit into the spectrum of life to make sure every– it’s– there’s so many pieces. People really don’t understand the complexity that goes into doing interventions.
MARION: 15:28But, but having a clinician on board with us– and that doesn’t happen all the time– you know, w-when we do have people like clinicians on, we are so happy because it’s like, it aligns everything so much easier for the actual person that needs help.
RYAN: 15:42I want to reiterate that–
MARION: 15:42–transition. Exactly.
RYAN: 15:44We always have a clinician involved. They might not actually–
MARION: 15:46Yeah. But–
RYAN: 15:47–be on site doing the intervention. I want to reiterate that.
MARION: 15:49Yeah. Thank you.
GIMENEZ: 15:51Right. The coordination between us and them is so important. Obviously you look at facilities and there might be a, uh, a bed wait, right? So we’re going to plan the intervention the day we know that bed is available because right after the intervention, that’s where they’re going. It’s not going to be a two-day week and, “Okay, grab your stuff and two days”– you know, the next day never happens. And we’ve gone through many of those and overcoming that with, “There won’t be a bed tomorrow,” or something like that.
RYAN: 16:15Because those are the things where– you brought up a scenario. We had to go, peak of COVID, fly to Ann Arbor, Michigan to do an intervention. We had to meet with the board of directors and ready to take this guy off the company chairman board if he doesn’t get help. Well, then the flights. We had to coordinate it with flights – and there wasn’t many – to do the intervention to get it, to get him on the plane. They don’t serve alcohol on the plane. To get him there safely.
RYAN: 16:41Yeah. I mean, there’s a ton of stuff involved.
CARMEN: 16:44It has to be challenging relying on an emotional family who’s coming to you, like you said, with a whole family history. Are there red flags where you will not take a case, where people have come to you and the mother’s like, “My son is doing this and this is happening,” and you’re like, “Okay. No. I’m– we’re out. We’re out.”
MARION: 17:06I’ll be the first to say, I don’t know if it’s correct or not, but I do not do interventions alone. I will not. I am a female, at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter– and they are– I, I cannot do it alone. I’ve said no many times. Go ahead Tim.
RYAN: 17:19But there, there, there’s cases that are– it’s just different variables. Now yeah, I turn, I turn a lot of things down for different reasons or it needs to be refer-referred out. It’s, it’s more complex than we first thought. Or here, here’s one thing that happens, unfortunately, is– not a lot but I, I had a mother– I did an intervention four, five years ago. Got her child into treatment. And then the mom was calling the treatment center 25, 30 times a day. And I finally called her and I said, “Look, your kid’s in treatment. He’s on a five-day black–” “I need to talk to him.” Well, I found out the mom was the issue. Then we had to flip everything and get him to not go home, to go to sober living, and now he’s doing great. But he still doesn’t have a relationship with his mom because she was keeping him high the whole time, and we never knew that. So yeah, there’s– Dave can talk on it, too.
GIMENEZ: 18:11Yeah. I’m probably certifiably nuts. There’s not a lot of cases I don’t turn down. I– you know, you asked us what we do for a living. We’re hope salespeople, right? We’re selling hope to people that are feeling hopeless. And if I can’t dispense a message on them or bring something to them– like you know, I– two weeks ago I was in, uh, uh, Naples, Florida, doing an intervention that was one of the toughest ones I’ve ever done. Uh, we woke the son up at 10:00 am and usually, I like to start a little earlier than that. Completely defiant. In a manic state. Crazed. Threatening the mom, um, and the dad, who are divorced for years. Uh, there was two ex-Chicago cops as their friends there. And this thing could have really gone nuts.
RYAN: 18:57Mm.
GIMENEZ: 18:58I pulled him aside and I had the talk with him and I said, “Listen. All we’re looking to do is just talk to you for an hour. Your family and friends have writ some letters to you. And that’s all we want to do. We’re not asking you to do anything except to listen to some of these letters.” “Can I go smoke first?” “Yeah. Go have a few cigarettes and come back.” Went outside with him, he came back, and he listened. He still wouldn’t go to treatment until, you know, it took eight hours before he finally submitted. But we have to understand, usually what we see is fear; the resentment, the anger, the frustration. Anxiety. And I sit there and after two, three hours, they looked at me and said, “He’s not going.” I said, “Go grab a Milky Way. We’re going to be here a little bit.” After four hours they said, “He’s not going.” And I said, “He’s getting a lot closer.” Because we have to clear out of that– all that out of the way because what lies below that is submission and surrender. And if you’re willing to wait long enough to get there, you will get there at times.
RYAN: 19:51I-it’s f–
CARMEN: 19:51So–
RYAN: 19:52That, that’s a great point because we’ve had interventions literally walk in and we’re leaving with the person in a half an hour; I’ve had them take up to 18 hours. But you’ve got to work and you have to explain this. I mean, we–
MARION: 20:04So I, I normally will pull the person aside – especially if it’s a female – be like, “Can I have time alone?” And then I just shoot. i always say, shoot from the hip, right? And then we have like– we’re on the same dialog and it’s like, “Listen, if you don’t want to do it, just tell me. I’m not here to like, force it down you because I’m–” I would rather have that opportunity the next day, um, to work on that person. But we’ve always been able to–
GIMENEZ: 20:23No, it’s, it’s– I’m going in– I go in, I’m getting them.
MARION: 20:27I, I– and just to reiterate about who I no– I said no to in the past, I think Ti– we’ve gotten calls for a, a meth addict, a male meth addict. Not kind of my place to be in. Um, and so–
RYAN: 20:38No, there was two brothers at the same time. Yeah. No. No.
MARION: 20:39Oh, there was two brothers. Yeah. That’s what it was. Two guys. Yeah. So uh, yeah, that kind of thing I wouldn’t jump into.
GIMENEZ: 20:45I think you have to know, also, when you– using different drugs. Like you can’t reach a meth addict when they’re high. You have to reach them when, when they come down.
RYAN: 20:53Come down.
GIMENEZ: 20:53And you have that short window. It might be three days. Right? That’s when you have to reach them.
RYAN: 20:59And sometimes–
MARION: 20:59You said something very key there because it’s different drugs, different slots– time slots. And it’s so important for us to keep that in mind as a, as a team.
RYAN: 21:08Well, we’ve got– y-you have, you have to time an alcoholic. I mean, I can’t go and do an intervention if the guy’s blacked out. He’s not going to know a thing. I need to hit him in the morning when he’s had one or two beers by 7:00 am and then we’re gold, you know? But–
MARION: 21:21And make sure he’s not going into withdrawal.
GIMENEZ: 21:22Right. Right. Got a call from a family. We were going to do it with their loved one who was a meth addict, and they said “He got arrested last night.” It was the middle of winter. I said, “For what?” They said, “He was, uh– at 4:00 in the morning he was out mowing his lawn.” “What’s wrong with that?” “Well, at 4:00 in the morning there was six inches of snow on the grass.” So that was a tough time to reach him, you know?
MARION: 21:45Okay.
RYAN: 21:46Sure.
CARMEN: 21:46So let’s talk about location. You’ve prepped the family. You’ve decided a few things. So you go– do you, do you choose to go into a home? Do you go into a public space? Are you going into that home and taking doors off of hinges? Um, how do you make–
RYAN: 22:02You’ve watched too many movies. Watched too many movies.
CARMEN: 22:06Te– so talk us through that. We’ve all seen the movies. We’re trying to get the truth from you.
RYAN: 22:11F-from one– actually walking in to do interventions?
CARMEN: 22:14Yeah. Like, “Okay, we’re going to do it in your living room.” But–
RYAN: 22:16Yeah. Uh, I mean, I normally– I don’t– I go to the person’s home, where they’re at.
CARMEN: 22:21Okay.
RYAN: 22:21Uh, apartment, condo, whatever. I don’t– it, it depends but, uh, I usually go them instead of– there’s different types of interventions. I mean, there’s people that invite people to the intervention. I don’t do that. That’s not my style, especially with fentanyl. There’s no time to wait. People are frigging dying. I mean, this is– believe me, today is, um, my– yeah.
MARION: 22:45I think we’re very cautious. So like the last intervention that we did, um, you did a lot of– you know, you don’t know whose house you’re really walking into. I mean, you’re literally walking in, you know, blindsided. But you’re hoping that it goes– you could sound– tell by the conversations you’ve had with the family of the loved ones. And it’s always kind of best not to have it, I feel like, in the addict’s house, um, per se, if they’re actively using. I mean, you want to try to get– like, we got, recently, a family– we had the girl go– in Boston, we had the girl go–
RYAN: 23:14Yeah, go to the parents’ house.
MARION: 23:15–go to the parents’ house.
RYAN: 23:17We had to put a ruse that they were watching the kids. But i-it– so here’s, here’s unfortunately the thing of– the issue with doing interventions with the supermodel, or being on TV. We’re doing this intervention in New Hampshire and– 35-year-old female. So the parents have got her kids and she’s coming to pick up the kids. And it was her birthday and she’s loaded. She walks into the house and sees Jennifer. Then she goes– her favorite movie is Blow and her favorite TV show is Beverley Hills Housewives. My wife’s been in both. And she looks at her and she said, “Oh, my God. I know you.” But then it was about five seconds, she goes, “What are you doing in my house?” And I said, “I’m Tim Ryan. This is my wife Jennifer. We’re here to talk to you about your drinking issues.” And she ran out and sat in her car for an hour and a half, and mother-effing us. But I had her blocked in. And she just looked at Jen and she turned off the car. She said, “You’re really good.” And Jen said, “What are you talking about?” And she said, “Because I should have drove through the fence an hour and a half ago but I’m willing to listen. Let’s go in the house and talk.” And she went to treatment and is sober, and has a great life today. So– but it’s not all that way. You know, there’s so much–
GIMENEZ: 24:23Yeah, I appreciate– I’m sorry.
RYAN: 24:24Go ahead, David.
GIMENEZ: 24:25I think really, what Jen touched on is something important. The importance of doing it– and pre-intervention– I mean, pre-intervention– pre, uh, COVID I was doing them in a hotel conference room, third-party location. If you walk into somebody’s house, an active user, there’s certain things you want to find out first. Number one, are there weapons in the home? Are there guns? Are there loaded guns? Do they have availability to knives, to the bows, things like that? Because they could go awry. And I want to know all that prior to. And prior to if there are weapons there, I’m going to have the family remove them. So um, yeah. That’s a really important point, Noelle.
RYAN: 25:04I mean, there– it– you know, the, the crazy thing with the system– three months ago, I had to– Jen and I were in Florida and I had to fly to California to do an intervention, um, for a individual in a mental health crisis. But the sad fact was, I was working with the police for three days. They didn’t know what to do. I had to fly in, go meet with the police first, and get everything put into place and, and everything worked out and had to get the individual 5150’d. But the sad fact is, our system, a l-lot of people don’t know what to do. So when you’re coming in and God forbid, law enforcement might be needed or called, go like– w-we have to meet with them first. And you never want people getting caught off guard on any scenario that can happen. So I had to lay it all out, and this is what we’re doing, and everything worked. But you learn this through trials and error and, and through learning and mentors, and, and not– you can’t do this half-assed. I mean, it’s life and death.
CARMEN: 26:00Tell us a little bit about the family dynamic, um, as you’re getting ready– it’s imminent. The, the intervention is imminent. A-are you seating people in a certain way? If– is everyone sitting in the room? I would imagine for at least some of the interventions, “Okay, I’m, I’m putting mom here, I’m putting dad here, I’m putting the person they don’t like over here.” How– what does that look like and what are your rules around that?
MARION: 26:26I like that you asked about mom and dad part because you know, I was going to sa– at first I was going to say, “No, it doesn’t matter. We want them to be normal and, and as present as possible.” But no, you do want the loved one right next to them. I was thinking about the placement that we did. You do want, um, the loved one– the ones that they’re closest to, um, that they could feel safest with.
RYAN: 26:43If, if they have a good– it, it’s again– it’s all the, uh, assessment up front. Dad sits here. Mom sits here. Brother? No, you’re– and it just depends. Are you doing a sneak or– some of the people are just cool. They walk in high as a kite, “Hey, you trying to pull this shit again? Okay, let’s talk.”
MARION: 26:58Yeah.
RYAN: 26:59So–
MARION: 26:59But we– I, I, I like to emphasize to the family that as that moment is happening, the 30 seconds before moment is about to happen, is that they stay as present as possible. Don’t go back into the pain of what happened, you know, two years ago or yesterday or– that fear because then they’re not present. They’re yelling. It gets out– we have to kick them out. You know. That whole thing.
RYAN: 27:19And, and, and take control that either Jennifer is running the intervention and running the room, or Dave, or I am. Whoever. And it’s letting the family know that because the family has been trying to do something they have no concept or ability and should have never been taught to do this. Families aren’t interventionists. You know?
GIMENEZ: 27:38So I believe that– well, when I do an intervention, I think it’s really important if the mom is so, um, codependent with their loved one, I’m going to separate them. I’m going to have a blocker in between. I’m going to have them sitting on the other side of the blocker; someone who is not that really close with them. Because what I’ve found is that when I have someone that’s that close, they look at their mom and say, “Come on, Mom. I’m just going to– I’m not going to keep using. Get me out of this.” You know? And trying to work the mom or the dad or whoever it might be. So I always separate them. And then I position them around the table the way we’re suppo– you know, the way I believe, after reading the impact letters prior to, who’s going to have the most impact on a situation like this? Who’s going to be, um, available, that I want them to really have the strongest, um, words for them?
RYAN: 28:25Right. And I, I think one of the key things, too, is– I, I’m jumping to this but, once we do that and get that dance, it’s putting the contracts in place, too. And actually when, when Johnny comes back home, you know, you’re going to have a sponsor, you’re going to do this. I don’t care if people are 35 years old living at mom and dad’s house. They need to have a-a contract put in place for the first year or six months coming back home. “Our house, our rules.” If not, go to a sober living. You know?
CARMEN: 28:52Tell us about those impact letters a little bit.
GIMENEZ: 28:55So it’s just– you know, usually, um, to give you a brief on what the letter looks like that I have them write, the first m– paragraph might talk about what their loved one was like before they used drugs and alcohol. Give specific examples. “You remember the time we were up north at– you know, chasing frogs or going to Grandma’s house, and playing ball or going to dance.” How much fun they had. Bringing them back into that moment. The second paragraph talks about how they’ve changed since they started using drugs and alcohol, and since– how that has changed them as a person. Again, specific examples. Loss of jobs, DWI, uh, being withdrawn, not coming to family events anymore, or coming and leaving right away. Things– third paragraph might talk about, “Please accept this help of”– and give the desperation and, “Go to treatment today with David, with Tim, with Jen.” You know? And talk about the love that you have for them. In short, that’s a quick synopsis of what the– my letters look like. Theirs might be a little different.
MARION: 29:54All I have to say is, I’d use too if I had to chase frogs. I’m just saying. I’m sorry. That’s so helpful.
RYAN: 30:01No, no, you know, it’s– basically, what you’re doing, too, with the impact letter is you’re getting the family to, to take the time to put the, the pain on paper. And sometimes as they’re reading it, they’re breaking down or we’re having to help them. But what else we’re able to do with that impact letter is then pull out more, to redirect to the person we’re doing the intervention with. And you just– you’re just breaking them, breaking them, breaking them, until they realize they are up against a wall. There’s nowhere for them to go. And they’re out of options. So their best option is probably to walk out the door with us and start feeling better.
MARION: 30:37But it’s so beautiful what you said, though, Dave, about the connection. You know, that con– the little details of chasing down and chasing the fr– like, it’s so important to remember those good times because when you’re out there–
RYAN: 30:48You don’t have any.
MARION: 30:49You don’t have any. And you’ve kind of lost it. Or you’re feeling that guilt and shame. So when you’re hearing it from a loved one, it, it makes–
RYAN: 30:55It reinforces–
MARION: 30:56It reinforces everything. And you know, I think it’s also really important because they see someone reading with– you know, to them. And that journey of writing and reading starts, you know, and the addicts when they get better, like they start writing things, you know? Their clinicians or, you know, their therapists have them write things or do exercises, or their sponsors. And that whole, beautiful cycle starts by that one letter that you have the family reading.
GIMENEZ: 31:22And you know what’s interesting in those letters, they really are impact letters. They are meant to pull on the heartstrings of that person. And we have to be really, really versed in non-verbal communication. So when a person is reading that letter, I am focusing on the, the person that we’re intervening on, also. I’m watching what’s happening with them, the emotion coming out; the swallowing, the holding back. In the pre-intervention process, which is just a role-playing of everything that’s going to go on the next day during the intervention, there’s still tears like you wouldn’t believe. And I’ve done interventions on many professional athletes that– you know, I’m a big guy and they’re calling me Tiny. “Take it easy, Tiny.” You know? Because that’s how powerful this is. And people are going to tell us something that we always hear: “I’ve never shared this with anybody before.” You know? “But I feel comfortable in this situation talking to you about this.”
RYAN: 32:13So Dave– the point Dave brings up there too, then, is now they’re ready to go. But Dave’s built this relationship and pulled more information out of them that we didn’t know. And once he’s at XYZ treatment center, Dave is able to work with the clinicians and the clinical director to share that information and it’s able to help the client immensely. Because you’ve got to understand, I’m an alcoholic or drug addict, some big schmo and this lady just walked in; now I’m sitting in detox somewhere. And you think I’m going to be honest? “I swear I only drink four beers a day and snort a quarter-gram of cocaine. That’s it.” You know? So it’s, it’s– then you’ve got the factors to lay it out, then you can get down to the causes and conditions.
GIMENEZ: 32:55And talking about–
CARMEN: 32:56Oh, go ahead.
GIMENEZ: 32:57Just wanted to add one thing. Some of the insurance companies we work with, interestingly enough, need a pre-authorization prior to, which really makes doing an intervention, then doing a pre-auth afterwards. So now, you did the intervention, they accept going, and they have to call in for the pre-authorization for the insurance company, which might take 24 to 72 hours. Okay, what do we do with them now? What I usually do is, I bring them to a detox. And I’ll take them to a detox facility; right from there, as soon as the authorization is complete, uh, from the insurance company accepting their insurance, then I will take them straight to the facility. Which has really put a lot of– you know, it’s a curveball, basically, doing an intervention and then trying to have the pre-auth for them.
RYAN: 33:39Yeah.
GIMENEZ: 33:40You know, they can put a deposit down or– but usually, they want to– uh, if that’s all they have, these are the only means they have, it’s just insurance, um, makes it a little tougher.
RYAN: 33:50I-it does when you’ve got– you know, there’s a fee for our services. And, and we should be paid for what we do. But unfortunately a lot of the families, too, they’re– they, they’re running a thin line on money and then they’re– can get our services. Then they’re finding out they’ve got a $10,000 deductible and it, it’s, it’s frustrating, too, because then you get the people that have really good insurance and they’re paying, then find out, “I’ve got an HMO. I’m only going to cert for 14 to 21 days of treatment.” That’s where the therapists come in. Big time. We really need the therapist involved, you know?
MARION: 34:23Yeah.
CARMEN: 34:27So it sounds like – just to back up just a little bit – there’s a lot of intuition that happens in this intervention process. David, you mentioned watching their faces; getting the feel, the temperature of what’s happening. Because what you’re hoping for is this transition to happen. If you’re not paying attention to the transition, do you lose your moment?
RYAN: 34:52Well, y-you’ve hit– go ahead, Jen.
MARION: 34:54Really quick. I feel that, um, with that– I think they’re as– what you’re saying about Dave watching and this and that, we’re looking for a crack. We’re looking for a place to come in. We’re looking for, like– and even if there’s multiple. But if we’ve only got one like thing, that, that breath when their family member was reading to them and we saw them hold their breath there? Okay, that’s all we have to work with and we’ve got to go with that. I mean, I think you’ve got to go with what you have. But you’re– you are intuitive and you’re very conscious, very present, and watching everything. And again, we’ve lived it. Um, so we know those sighs and what that might, possibly, represent.
GIMENEZ: 35:32Mm.
CARMEN: 35:33You’re in the middle of an intervention. It’s going well except the mom, your client, who’s paying you, says, “You know, I think this was a bad idea. I think that we need to just shut all this down. I don’t think that– I, I don’t, I don’t think we need to do this.” How do you manage something like that?
RYAN: 35:53I can tell a mom, “Well, my fee is 7,500 plus expenses for my wife and I,” and, uh, whether they choose to do it or not. “But I will tell you it cost me $25,000 to bury my kid.” So you know, I’ve buried my own son due to this disease. It’s actually is– would have been his 28th birthday today. Happy birthday Nick, in heaven. But I, I tell it the way it is. I don’t go telling people to mortgage their homes and all that.
RYAN: 36:17And, and I’ll always go to any length, whether they have the resources or not, to get them the help. But you need to step–
MARION: 36:25When the parent– oh, sorry.
RYAN: 36:25Go ahead. No, go.
MARION: 36:27When the parent is complacent and there’s a– “I don’t know,” then we say that Ti– I’ll say, “Babe, please tell them what it cost you.” You know, and, uh, and then we say, “You’re just in fear right now. You want him to stay sick, her to stay sick. Like, why would you want to stop this golden opportunity at this right moment for them to–“
RYAN: 36:46Because they’re in the disease with them.
MARION: 36:48Yeah. Because they’re in the disease– but the thing is, to have them pull away is to, like, let you know how sick the family really is.
RYAN: 36:57They know.
MARION: 36:58I always s-say, “Our priority is to get the addict or alcoholic out of there, you know, and in a safe place.” The people that are most sick are the family members, the loved ones of the addict or alcoholic. And–
GIMENEZ: 37:11Right. Because the addict has been afflicted, and the family has been affected by this disease. And the effects play out in so many different ways, no matter what they will be. But as an interventionist, we have to be in total control in that room. If someone is really making this thing go mess, it’s our responsibility A, to deal with them and B, I have thrown people out of an intervention. I’ve asked them to leave: moms, dads. You know, um, did an intervention in New Haven, Connecticut right before the pandemic, 31-year-old heroin addict. Big Italian, East Coast family, right? What does an East Coast family bring to an intervention? Food.
RYAN: 37:47Food.
GIMENEZ: 37:49They brought pasta and ravioli. I said, “What?” Halfway through the intervention, their son gets up and he’s just incensed. Can’t talk. He is fuming. His little 4’10” Italian mom looks at him and says, “Sit down.” I said, “Mom, take it easy.” He runs out. We were in a hotel conference room in New Haven, Connecticut. Runs out to his vehicle. I follow him. I said I’ll go with him. Opens up the car door. Grabs a cigarette. Lights it up. Now, he goes into his trunk. Opens his trunk up. And my first thought is, “Baseball bat. Three iron.” Right? “What’s it going to be today?” He grabs a pad and paper. Still can’t talk. And he begins to write. I’ll call him Bobby. I said, “Bobby, write. Bobby, write.” Bobby begins to write. He rips this letter out. And it was about the physical and sexual abuse he endured as a child, that not one family member knew in that room. I gave him a hug. I let him finish his cigarette. And he ended up coming back down, finishing the intervention. Took him to treatment. There’s a blockage in the passage of people’s recovery and it’s our responsibility to go deep in there and cleanse this stuff from the roots; not pull little leaves off the trees, you know? Sometimes we’ve got to bring a back hoe. We’re going really deep in there.
RYAN: 38:59You know, it– and, and, and–
MARION: 39:00Yeah, it’s true.
RYAN: 39:01–there’s been times, many times, I get vulnerable in an intervention. Jen does. I’ll tell people, “Look, you know, I was molested. This happened. But I also got sober in a prison cell with a big book of Alcoholics Anonymous and another man willing to, to go through the steps and do this work with me. Um, so if I can do that, I know you can do this.” And that will just give them a little bit of spark. “Hey, you know, here, y-you’ve got a chap,” or whatever the variable. It’s just getting them to go– all they want to do is put their hand up and say, “I need help.” They just don’t know how to ask for it. But one thing I wanted to bring up, too. When I walked away, I forgot– one thing you need to take into consideration, too– I’m from– originally from the Chicagoland area. In Illinois, if I go to do an intervention with a 26-year-old that lives at home with his mom and dad and he gets mail at that house, I cannot come in and do an intervention and say, “You’ve got two choices: you go to treatment or pack your stuff and get out,” because he has to get a formal, 30-day eviction notice from his mom and dad through the court systems. So in those situations, if we’re using that as a bargaining tool, the parents are going to the court, getting this. Because the kids think they’re smart. We do the intervention and I slap that down and say, “No, I’m going to go help you pack your stuff, and I’ll take you to the homeless shelter. You can go with me right now. That’s your option.” They always go with you.
CARMEN: 40:22Wow.
RYAN: 40:22They’re the things that people don’t know about. So you learn through trial and error too, unfortunately, in those things.
CARMEN: 40:28Mm-hmm. Tell us about how you track your client– okay, you, you’ve dropped your client off at rehab. Now, what does your job look like in terms of tracking them? In terms of clinical communication? In terms of family communication? All those pieces. What does that look like for you?
RYAN: 40:51Dave–
GIMENEZ: 40:52You’ve just got to– you know, we’re usually on– I’m usually on the release of information. Right? So i want, I want to track the progress. I want to get a report once a week, what’s going on? I want to know the status, um, once they come in there, the detoxification, how’s that going, right? Are there any, uh, bad withdrawal symptoms that they’re going through, the stuff that we need to be alerted to? Um, and it’s also the coordination with some of the therapists in the treatment because we have a different assessment that we’ve received, doing our work with the family and friends. And we want to talk to each one individually, knowing the relationship that you have with the person that we intervened on. Therefore, we can help assess– you know, I’ve often got calls from treatment centers that say, “Well, this is what the treatment plan looks like and this is what we’re trying to do. What do you think?” I said, “Well, I– my– you know. Add this, this, and this.” Based off of, you know, previous history and things like that.
RYAN: 41:47You, you know, and it’s, it’s what is the family willing to do, too? There’s all the variables but if you have the scenario– we like to get the families connected with a life coach immediately, and a therapist for husband and wife if there’s both of them. So we, we get that. Our case managers are basically coordinating everything. If we happen to be in Florida and they’re in a program there, I’ll go visit them. But it’s keeping in touch with them and–
MARION: 42:15And most people that we’ve all worked with, by the time we’re done with that intervention, there’s a bond–
RYAN: 42:21Oh, yeah.
MARION: 42:21–that they, they and u-us have, we have together, that is so thick; that they want to check in with us. And say they don’t have us on the, the release–
GIMENEZ: 42:31Release of information.
MARION: 42:32–they’ll check in with us. They always want to say, like, “Look, I’m doing good!” And we’re like, you know– it’s such a beautiful thing to watch the journey unfold.
RYAN: 42:40But it, it’s also dependent on the clientele.
MARION: 42:42Yeah.
RYAN: 42:43I mean, is it, uh, is it Dave? Is it a businessman that’s a high-functioning– he might need a sober companion with him for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days. He– we might then do– be doing sober coaching and working with some of these people with 6 to 12 months. It’s just what are they willing to submit to a-and willing to put in towards their recovery, you know? We can give them all the scenarios and options, but it’s what are they willing to do?
CARMEN: 43:12We have a question that just came in, um, asking about the documentation. Um, I’m assuming that through this entire process, you’re having people sign things.
RYAN: 43:22Oh, yeah.
CARMEN: 43:23Making sure that everything– even per state, right? Do you have different things that you need to make sure e– that everything is in order in terms of documentation? What does that look like for you?
MARION: 43:36Dave?
GIMENEZ: 43:36So documentation, I have a contract that I sign– send out to my clients prior to an intervention, right? You’re talking about documentations as far as, um, coordinating with the facility to–
CARMEN: 43:52They did, they didn’t specify. Um, Tammy, um, asked this. But I’m, I’m assuming you have– you’ve got documentation and then, you know, you’re on the ROI. And then is there documentation that you’re needing to sign with the facilities, as well? Like what is, what does the full spectrum look like for you?
GIMENEZ: 44:10Well, it’s not– if– it is an ROI. If the ROI’s in place–
RYAN: 44:12–the client– yeah.
GIMENEZ: 44:13The client does all the signing of the information, who they’re going to release, who they’re going to– uh, they might have somebody on a financial release of information. They might have someone on a treatment release of information. Someone on the medical release. Um, that’s a documentation that’s signed by the client, not by us.
CARMEN: 44:31Do you find the facilities easy to work with? And have you ever had a situation where they’re like, “Okay, okay. We’ve got it from here. We’re good. Thanks. Thanks for the hand-off.” Um–
RYAN: 44:43Mm-hmm.
CARMEN: 44:44What does that look like?
RYAN: 44:46Uh, well–
MARION: 44:47Just to say no-one’s ever have that, have we?
RYAN: 44:49No. So between my wife and I, we’ve probably stepped foot in 2,500 treatment centers nationwide; speaking, doing interventions, whatever. Um, I only with a, a select and few programs. I mean, there’s 35,000 treatment centers in the United States, through non-profit, for-profit, faith-based, Christian-based. There’s probably 15 I work with, and that’s it. And, and we have solid relationships. And a lot are heavy trauma-focused, female-focused. And then you’ve got your, your 18 to 26-year-olds; where do they fit in best? And do they have mental health? And it’s– but that’s it. And we have excellent relationships with this programs, um, because they’re our go-to places. And they’re the ones that we’re seeing the people get well.
GIMENEZ: 45:35Yeah. I-I don’t think that’s ever happened, that they’ve said, “Okay, thank you. Um, you know, we’ll take it from here.” Because I would never have that relationship with a treatment center like that.
MARION: 45:48Yeah.
GIMENEZ: 45:48Not– i-it’s, um– if they were willing to take it and not talk to us about what’s going on in there, then I wouldn’t be interested in dealing with a facility like that. Like Tim said, there’s so many facilities out there and you know, it’s our job to pick out a couple that we really believe, based on the assessment, is going to treat, um, the diagnosis for the client themselves. Right? They’re dealing with mental health issues? What are the mental health issues? Have they been diagnosed with bipolar, personality disorder, OCD, and addiction? Okay. Many places say that they could treat them. You go on the website? Boy, they can write up a spiel that is–
RYAN: 46:24Poems.
GIMENEZ: 46:24But for me– and like Tim and Jen, I have been to many facilities, gone to many professional weekends, dropped people off. And what I usually do when I’m at a facility, the way I get a temperature check, a barometer check, I see the spirit of the client in there.
MARION: 46:40Mm.
GIMENEZ: 46:41I want to see the client. If they’ve been there three weeks and I can see this illuminated spirit, and they feel so good that they want to go help somebody else, and they feel so good about their recovery, that’s really enticing to me.
RYAN: 46:54That’s, that’s, that’s what it’s all about. And you know, it’s trial and tribulations. And Jen and I– when I moved out to Los Angeles with Jen three years ago, all these programs, I’ll go visit them. And we’re visiting this place and on their website, trauma-specific, blah, blah, blah. So I talked to the clinical director and I said, “So, tell me about your trauma work here. Are you doing EMDR? Are your people trained? Are they certified?” I said, “There’s a huge difference, and blah, blah, blah.” And he said, “Ooh, yeah. Trauma? You, you know, we really don’t address that here. We’re just detox and– right? So they’re only 30 to 45 days, but we’ll refer them out.” I said, “But on your website it says you do trauma.” “Well, you know, we just kind of want to get them in the door.” That’s 90–
MARION: 47:39“We don’t want to open those wounds.” Yeah.
RYAN: 47:40Yeah, we don’t– that’s 90% of the treatment centers in the United States.
MARION: 47:42We were like, “What? You don’t want to open the wounds? They’re walking in with wounds!”
RYAN: 47:46But stop– Jen, there was a question. And I want you to answer this because this is right in your wheelhouse with what you say.
MARION: 47:53Yeah.
RYAN: 47:53Sorry I’m jumping in here, but I saw that–
CARMEN: 47:55That’s okay. I was about to, I was about to–
RYAN: 47:56Yeah, go for it. Read it out.
CARMEN: 47:57–to bring it up. Okay. So, so the question is, you have someone who has been to treatment facilities multiple times but continues to struggle with addiction. How does intervention play into someone who’s in that kind of a situation?
GIMENEZ: 48:15Well, like you–
RYAN: 48:16One thing you say is, “Everybody doesn’t need to go to treatment.”
MARION: 48:19So– I love that you’re like, “Answer!” And then you answer.
RYAN: 48:22I didn’t know if you were going to say that.
MARION: 48:22Such a married couple. Um, what do you do? So um, can you repeat that again? The last part of it?
RYAN: 48:29Person that’s been to treatment multiple times without getting sober.
MARION: 48:31How does intervention–
RYAN: 48:31How do we get involved with it?
MARION: 48:32Okay. So I really do believe that, um, some of us are, uh– some of us have the gene and we, you know, we have– some people have a problem drinking. You deal with the drink– the problem, and they no longer have a drinking problem. Um, and then you have people like me, who have it all. Right? Um, and I, um, I’m very open about it. You know? I have mental health and I have addiction. And, um, I could not stay sober. Started getting sober 21. Could not stay sober. I’m 44, and I don’t like talking about, but I’m almost 16 years sober. So in my late 20s, you know, there I was at the bottom of the, the barrel. And yet again, I couldn’t stay sober. And I went to treatment; I relapsed; went back; and that was it. You know? That treatment, it was the only thing that I thought– that I was like, “I might as well just try it. I might as well just do it their way.” And you know, I still had the intent that it wasn’t going to work, but it ended up working. You know? And I just think that treatment– you do that intervention. You keep working with that client that’s out there and cannot get– they will come to you. When they’re ready–
RYAN: 49:34If they make it. If they don’t die.
MARION: 49:35If they make it. The crazy thing about me 16 years ago, opposed to today – and I constantly talk to Tim about it – is it’s mind-blowing to me that we are– today, in this day and age, addicts and alcoholics are shooting– are not– they’re not playing Russian roulette with just one bullet. A loaded gun.
CARMEN: 49:52Yeah.
MARION: 49:52That’s using today.
RYAN: 49:53So to answer the question from my perspective is A, the client’s probably been going to the wrong treatment centers; um, if they go again, minimum 90-day but y-you need a 6 to 12-month program. Hold on. I don’t mean to cut you off because I’m, I’m– my ADHD throws– but in a situation like that on the client– say it was Jen. I just pick on her. Dave and I could come in and maybe, they need an in-home detox. But it’s getting them connected with the life coach, the p– therapist and the recovery team. And they have an option. But it’s getting them to buy in and do it and not co-signing their bullshit. Some people just aren’t ready. I know people that have been to treatment 30 times and now they’re sober; people have went once; some have– so it’s–
MARION: 50:39So by the time I left treatment– my whole treatment stint was almost nine months. By the time I left treatment, um, I– what I believe– I do not believe everybody needs treatment. I do not. Um, I think that some people, um– I-I think that at that point, some people also need to go to a boot camp. Like a, a six-month, nine-month bootcamp.
RYAN: 50:5812-step boot camp–
MARION: 50:5912-step, 12-step boot camp. At that point, those things are what’s going to thoroughly help them stay at– sober. And get sober, and stay sober. Because staying stopped is the hard part for someone who’s constantly coming back in.
RYAN: 51:11I’ll, I’ll answer with this, and I know Dave wants to chime in. My son had been to treatment six times. He knew what to do. He had been to sober living. He chose to get high again and died. And the reason is, he never had a foundation for recovery. If I would have known what I know– knew sev– eight years ago when he died, I would have got him out of state. I would have got him into a year-long program. I always had great insurance. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know.
GIMENEZ: 51:37So Noelle, do you want to–?
CARMEN: 51:40Yeah. I might– I, I’m on it. I’m on it. Um, so this happens all the time; we see this in the industry where the family– a family goes, “Um, here’s our problem. This is the person in our family that is struggling with addiction. Could you kindly please fix them and get back with us when that’s all wrapped up, would you?” So the, the families don’t understand they’re actually part of the dynamic, right? Um, so can you talk about that just a little bit? Like, “Hey, we need a quick fix on this. Could you, could you–? We’ve tried. We’re throwing this problem your way. Get on that. Let us know when it’s– when the problem’s taken care of. How do you deal with that. David?
GIMENEZ: 52:23You know, it’s interesting because I look at the families, also, and I say, um, you know, “Your son didn’t have a bad weekend of drinking.” Right? “He had a bad couple of decades. So if you think this is going to happen in a couple of weeks, getting this thing”– and families look at me and say, “I don’t see any changes in them.”
MARION: 52:41Oh, gosh.
GIMENEZ: 52:41Say, “Stop looking for the changes in them rather than the changes in you. What are you doing at the same time?” Because addiction is a family disease, and the recovery is a journey. So independently and collectively, we all have a responsibility to look at our part in this. And I say– once they start pointing the finger I say, “Obviously, you’re not looking at yourself anymore.” So how do they begin to work on themselves? You know, we have an opportunity to dispense a message to their loved ones on, “How do we dismember and dismantle the power of this obsession?” But at the same time they think that once their loved one gets fixed or healed, or cleanses, or rinses off, or taps into the spirit of recovery, right, their life is going to be fine. But then again, the family loses that title. The mom was the enabler. She was codependent. She was this. She was going this. And now all of a sudden, the loved one doesn’t need their help anymore. And they’re kicking and screaming like a stuck pig in a pen.
RYAN: 53:39And i-i-it depends, too– you run in Jennifer’s circles and some of the interventions she’s pulled me into with, you know, high end– very wealthy, celebrity families, a lot of times they’ve got to– they don’t care. They just throw money at it. But that’s where, in those situations, we put the right team in place. I mean we, we get them plugged into the recovery community and feeling that they can be well. But sometimes, families just say, “I’ve had it. I’m done. Here, I’ll write you a check.”
MARION: 54:06Listen, yeah, I’m just going to let you guys answer then say, there are many times that I have had family members, in the past, uh, before Tim and I got together– that they would say, like, “I can’t do this. I want nothing to do with my, uh– I am not going to do any thera– nothing. I’m out.”
RYAN: 54:22I’m done with them.
MARION: 54:22And I– my primary purpose at this moment is to help the addict or alcoholic, or the person in recover– early recovery. And that means– and that’s what they did to me, too. You focus on you. And my family and I– I was loved. I was loved. I’m grateful to say that. But we had an interwin– intertwined, dysfunctional relationship and I had to work extremely hard to make it work healthy. Um, and so it takes a while. So if–
RYAN: 54:50Yeah.
MARION: 54:50–the addict or– if that family member doesn’t want to do it then all right, get away from the person in treatment, because–
RYAN: 54:54Move on.
MARION: 54:55–we’re going to help them.
CARMEN: 54:58I’m aware of the time and I don’t want to end without addressing this, which is: what, from your perspective as interventionists, do you want the clinical world to know? What do you want clinicians to take away from your experience and the possible relationship you can build with the– with clinicians?
RYAN: 55:23I’ll say from my perspective, a more– majority of the knowledge I’ve learned in this industry is from clinicians that I ask questions. I’m constantly talking and reading but we’re all in this together, here. And I see people in different islands. They might have been in private practice or treatment, or they’re doing this. And we’re just working together here to fulfil the need of our, our guest or our client. To get people well. And that’s what we do. And all it takes is a phone call. But also, be cautious of who you’re working with. What I’ve noticed in the past eight years is everyone’s an interventionist, a sober coach, a life coach, a speaker, a sober companion. Do your due diligence. Make sure they carry insurance. If they’ve got the– you, you know, the proper, uh, time out there and, and can help. I mean, I, I look at Dave. There’s only a few select people I would call to help and, and Dave’s one of them. You know, Jen’s one of them. That’s it.
CARMEN: 56:23How does a clinician know? Seriously. Give us some tips on selecting a good interventionist. What are the hallmarks?
RYAN: 56:34There isn’t. Because everyone’s different. And a lot of it is personality. But I look at– if I’m going to hire an interventionist or refer one, I want the person that’s going to get my client well; that’s going to go in and get them into treatment. So me, as a therapist, I can start working with them and getting clarity. I don’t want these song– there’s too much song and dance out there, I think. And you know, I, I just keep my circle small and hey, if you want to use someone else, more power to you. But a lot of times, they call us back because we come into clean up the messes.
GIMENEZ: 57:03And I think the question also that you asked before, with the clinicians: for me, it’s easy. I– you know, we stay in our lane. I know what I am good at. I’m not trying to be a clinician, not trying to be a therapist. I’m not trying to do something I can’t. And at the same time, I know as an interventionist what my job is: on the front line, fighting, right, addiction. We’re the guys and gals that want the ball, with 10 seconds left, in our hand, okay? Because we might be the lifeline between them dying and recovery. And once I bring them to a safe place, I want the clinicians to do exactly what they can do: treat them and love them until they can love themselves. And teach them this.
MARION: 57:43To, to kind of chime into what you’re saying, Dave, on that, is that I think it’s important– it’s kind of where I started from earlier, is that for me, my sponsor and my therapist 16 years later is like, everything. I mean like, every word a clinician says, when we’re ready for that, you know, we have that moment– you have like– you know, sometimes you just have that millisecond, right? The words that you say matter to me. The word, the guidance you give me matters to me. So I know people really need you. You know? We all need you. So thank you for existing and doing this.
RYAN: 58:16She’s saying that because we had therapy appointments yesterday. All kidding aside, two and a half years ago Jen says, “Tim, have you ever talked to a therapist?” I said, “Yeah, I did when my son died,” and all this. She said, “I think you should talk to one.” So anyhow, I got one. And I’m telling you what, it’s the best– it took my recovery and my life to a whole different level because my therapist– I think I’m coming to talk about this, and we’re going this way. But it works. And, and I suggest everyone, especially therapists and clinicians, get a therapist.
MARION: 58:46Yeah.
RYAN: 58:47See one. Because the most important thing for all of us is our own self-care so we can work cohesively together to keep people on the road to recovery.
MARION: 58:56I have gotten burnt out in this industry and I needed that. Self-care for our clinicians, for all members in this, in this field, is so important.
CARMEN: 59:09I– what a wonderful conversation. I want to thank you David, Tim, Jennifer, for being here and just being so real and authentic. It just is a– was a lovely conversation. Please know, everyone who’s joined in the conversation, you will have all of their contact information; you will be able to reach out, follow up with questions, um, and get the help you need. We have excellent interventionists right here in front of you. If you’re waiting for your CE email, that will arrive on Monday. And otherwise, it is almost Friday. I hope you all have an amazing weekend. Thank you, everyone, for joining the conversation.
RYAN: 59:48Thank you.
MARION: 59:48Thanks Noelle.
RYAN: 59:50Bye-bye.
GIMENEZ: 59:50Thank you all so much.
CARMEN: 59:52Bye.
RYAN: 59:52Bye.
CARMEN: 59:57[music] This has been Recovery Out Loud. Don’t forget to subscribe and stay up to date with notifications for new episodes. But most importantly, if you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out. Help and a new beginning are only a phone call away.

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