Category Archives: Counseling

6 Essentials to Include in Every Intervention

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Drug and alcohol addicts rarely make the choice to get clean on their own. They usually need support and guidance from their loved ones, which is why it’s important for families to come together and stage an intervention. Holding an intervention may not be easy, but it can be an extremely rewarding experience that moves you closer to your loved one.

Interventions require proper planning with a professional interventionist, mediator, counselor or addiction specialist. The first step to a successful intervention is to create a script that you and others in your intervention will follow. The purpose of having a script is to reduce stress, maintain direction and keep the conversation flowing a bit more easily.

Below are six important things that should be included in your script.

1. Begin With an Affectionate Introduction

You need your loved one to be open right now. If you start the intervention with negativity, it can cause the addict to shut down completely. Even though your intentions for holding an intervention are good, your loved one is going to be caught off guard.

Emotions will be running high on both ends as well. Your loved one might feel threatened, and you likely have a lot of angry feelings. Living with an addict isn’t easy, and there are probably things your loved one has said and done that hurt you. However, now is not the time to release them.

Some of the best ways to start the intervention are by saying things like, “You are one of the most special people in my life.” Or, “I’ve always believed in you.” Show your loved one that you are concerned about their welfare and truly love and respect them.

2. Describe Specific Behaviors That Have Taken Place

It’s possible that your loved one might be in a place of denial, even when confronted by a room full of concerned family. In fact, denial is one of the main reasons why people delay getting treatment.

With this in mind, you must realize that generalizations are not enough to be convincing. Be prepared to describe specific instances that you have experienced firsthand. The reason for doing this is to present the addict with evidence that can’t be disputed. This might be enough to make your loved one see that they do have a problem that needs to be addressed.

Another reason for describing specific behaviors is that it encourages your loved one to think more critically about their actions. Addiction makes people selfish because all they can care about is getting their next high. If your loved one sees that their choices are hurting others they care about, they can be persuaded to take a new perspective.

Here are some incidents that you may want to bring up in the intervention:

  • Times where your loved one drove under the influence.
  • Problems with the law.
  • Missing out on important family functions.
  • Not helping out at home.
  • Losing a job or dropping out of school.

It’s a good idea to be detailed about what occurred. Write down the dates of the incidents as well as the way it made you feel. Be careful not to blame, though. Talk about how you felt in the situation and use “I” statements.

For example, “When I got your text that you weren’t going to make it to another one of Johnny’s baseball games, it made me feel sad. Sad for myself because I often feel like a single mother, and sad for Johnny because he didn’t have his dad rooting for him in the stands.”

3. Point Out the Physical Changes That Can Happen

Some addicts are motivated to change based on the emotional damage they’ve caused others, but some need more than that. It might be that your loved one will be more affected by the physical changes that can occur with regular drug or alcohol abuse.

If you choose to bring up the physical complications of addiction, there are plenty of studies to back this up. Work with your interventionist to create a list of the specific consequences that can occur with your loved one’s abuse.

If your husband is abusing alcohol, for instance, some of the long term health effects include liver damage, pancreatitis and cancer. If he is using heroin, the effects will be different and include collapsed veins and infections in the blood vessels and valves.

4. Present the Addict With Their Treatment Options

Once everyone has had their turn to speak, it’s time to present your loved one with their options for treatment. In a successful intervention, your loved one will be taken to a treatment center right away and begin the recovery process. There is no time to pack bags, think the decision through or use one last time.

To be effective with this part of the intervention, you need to have a couple of things in place. First is the treatment center. Prior to staging the intervention, you should have looked into various treatment options for your loved one and spoken with the admissions department.

A treatment facility like The River Source wants to make sure that we can help your loved one and that our program is the right fit. We also want to ensure that a bed is available, and we can generally make these accommodations at the last minute. Our treatment center even provides transportation from the airport if needed.

Not only should you have a rehabilitation center picked out, but also have a general idea of what the recovery process will look like. This will ease some fears in your loved one and show them that you’ve done your homework. This way, they can’t argue with you. (Though they may still try!)

Some of the things to learn about the treatment center include:

  • Where it’s located.
  • What the treatment rooms look like.
  • The types of therapies that are offered.
  • The philosophy that is followed.
  • How long treatment will last.
  • The average success rates.

5. Show Unconditional Love and Support

You want to come to the intervention prepared with the necessary facts and statistics, but nothing is quite as persuasive as simply showing your unconditional love. Let the addict know that you remember the person they were and are confident that they can fully recover.

Be careful not to place blame or guilt on anyone – the addict, yourself or someone else in the family. Rather, stick to affection, love and admiration for the person. Be strong about supporting their recovery and not their addiction.

Now is also a good time to explain how you plan to be there for your loved one. Will you be attending family counseling sessions? Participating in family education courses? Attending Al-Anon meetings? When your loved one returns home, how will you help them move forward in their recovery?

6. Establish Boundaries and Consequences

One last thing you should be prepared to do is establish boundaries. If your loved one refuses help, there needs to be consequences that follow. They can’t simply say no to treatment and return to doing what they always do. Addiction may not have been their choice, but refusing treatment is.

It might sound harsh to cut your loved one off from contact with the kids or money to pay their rent, but continuing to give them what they want while they abuse drugs and alcohol is enablement. Speak with your interventionist to identify behaviors that you will no longer accept in the home. If the rules are broken, have firm consequences in place that you plan on following through with.

The purpose for doing this is to show your loved one that their addiction is affecting their life in a negative way. Your hope is that your loved one will accept help at a later date. Different things work for different people, but here are a few suggestions from other families.

  • Deny time with children in the family.
  • Refuse to cover drug expenses.
  • Ask the addict to leave the home.
  • Refuse to call the addict into work.
  • Refuse to bail the addict out of jail.
  • Refuse to pay legal fees/fines that the addict incurs.

It’s risky to give ultimatums, so be prepared to follow through with them. Choose things that you know you can stick to. If your loved one does choose treatment, these boundaries still remain important. You will need to be strong and resilient as your loved one returns home.


Many recovery success stories start with an intervention. These small, intimate gatherings can be highly effective at persuading an addict to get the help they need, but it’s important that they are planned for correctly. Start by reaching out to a professional who will guide the process for you. By the time the intervention takes place, you will be more prepared to deliver a message that comes from a place of concern, love and commitment. And hopefully, your loved one will be ready to receive it.

Have You Fallen Into the Empathy Trap?

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Addicts do need our empathy, but only to a point. You can empathize with your loved one about what it’s like to struggle with a progressive disease like addiction or go through the stages of recovery. But you do not need to make excuses for why they use drugs or alcohol. By doing this, you’re only contributing to the problem and allowing the addiction to continue.

You may be wondering how you even got to this point. When your child was younger or you first met your spouse, you would have never imagined enabling this type of behavior. So what happened?

Couples Sharing EmotionPhoto Credit:

For many people, it’s the empathy trap.

What is the Empathy Trap?

According to research, addiction decreases the brain’s ability to feel empathy. This means that as your loved one progresses through the stages of addiction, they stop empathizing with others. Instead, many addicts become manipulative and realize that these behaviors are what get them what they want: a free place to live, more cash to score drugs, somewhere to get high, etc.

The stronger the addiction becomes, the more control it has of the person. Your loved one is going to do what they need to do to continue their habit, and so they are more likely to leach onto people who are empathetic. This, in short, is the empathy trap.

Climbing Out of the Trap

If you have fallen into this trap, it’s important to get yourself out. Otherwise, you are feeding the addiction and allowing the manipulation to continue.

Of course you are not doing this for the wrong reasons. You are an empathetic person and don’t want to feel bad. (This is part of the trap.) But you must realize the consequences to your actions. Talking to a therapist can help.

In the meantime, here are some tips.

  • Admit the Addiction. By denying the addiction, both you and your loved one are living inside the trap. You will continue to offer financial and emotional help without ever confronting the true problem. See the addiction for what it is. It’s the first step.
  • Avoid Enabling. Do not confuse empathy with enablement. You can continue to care about your loved one without enabling their addiction. You must know when to say “no.”
  • Practice Tough Love. It’s not easy to practice tough love, but it is necessary when dealing with addicts. For many addicts, it’s not until they are given this tough love that they have some desire to quit using.

Family members of addicts need counseling, too. Speak with a professional about how you can better handle this situation and climb out from the empathy trap.

Why Do People Think That Snorting Heroin is Safer?

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Heroin is a drug that is synonymous with “shooting up.” But what you might now know is that heroin can also be snorted or smoked. In its purest form, heroin is a white powder. Many additives can be used that end up changing the color of the heroin to gray, brown or black. Some of the agents that heroin is cut with include flour, chalk, caffeine, powdered milk or starch. Of course, it can also be cut with anything else under the sun, including poison, so users never know what they’re really getting.

Users Snort HeroinPhoto Credit:

Why Do Users Snort Heroin?

There are a number of reasons why users choose to snort heroin rather than inject it.

·  They think it’s safer. Because it takes a little longer for the heroin to hit your bloodstream using this method, some think it’s safer to snort the drug. But it’s not. It’s just as dangerous. In fact, because users don’t feel the effects right away, they may snort too much and end up overdosing.

·  They think it has a better image. Some users think that snorting heroin has a better image than using needles. While there is a lower risk for HIV/AIDS by not sharing needles, users are still engaging in a high-risk lifestyle.

·  They think it’s cleaner. Heroin users who snort may not be sharing needles, but they still may be sharing straws. By doing this, they run the risk of hepatitis and other infections.

·  They think it’s less addicting. Many users don’t like to admit that they are addicted, so they assume the way they consume heroin puts them in control. Snorting heroin is just as addictive as injecting it. Tolerance can happen quickly regardless of how the drug is used.

·  They think it has fewer side effects. Snorting heroin comes with its fair share of side effects. Those who snort the drug are more at risk for nosebleeds, asthma attacks, breathing problems and damage to the cartilage and sinuses in the nose.

What are the Effects of Snorting Heroin?

Heroin affects each person differently. How it affects the person you love is based on their physical condition, how much of the drug they use and how often they use it. The most common side effects include itchiness, wakefulness, nausea, vomiting, sleep problems and breathing problems. Those who use the drug regularly often go on binges and won’t eat for days, so they may be malnourished. Withdrawal symptoms can surface as quickly as 8 hours from the last use.

If someone you love is using heroin, call The River Source. Heroin is highly addicting no matter how it is used. With help from our holistic treatment center, it is possible to move past a heroin addiction.

Family Education And Therapy Sessions – How Do They Help?

Family Education And Therapy Sessions For RecoveryWhen someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it affects the entire family. Just as the addict needs counseling and support to combat their disease, the family needs a place to turn as well. That’s where family education and therapy can be highly beneficial.

These programs help families address addiction and begin a process of healing and recovery. The idea behind family education is that by teaching individuals about addiction, they can form the type of support network that their loved one needs to succeed at recovery.

How Addiction Affects Families

There are many ways that addiction impacts the family unit. Some of the most common are:

  • Financial troubles
  • Relationship troubles
  • Lying or stealing
  • Physical violence
  • Neglect or abandonment
  • Legal troubles

Why Family Education Makes A Difference

Addiction strips away a person, which is why family members may no longer recognize their loved one. A mother may never think that her son would steal from her. A husband may never believe that his wife could neglect their children. But when someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it’s the addiction that takes over the mind.

Addiction is a disease, but it’s a treatable one. Through family education, individuals can learn how their behaviors and attitudes may have inadvertently influenced the addiction and how they can stop the cycle of abuse. Unfortunately, many families allow the addiction to progress because they think they are protecting their loved one.

Additionally, family therapy sessions give the family a chance to talk about things in a safe, neutral setting. A counselor can guide the family toward meaningful discussions that help them constructively work through different issues.

Topics Discussed In Family Therapy

Some of the topics discussed in family education and therapy are:

  • Progression of addiction
  • How families are impacted by the disease
  • Introduction to the 12 steps
  • How to build strong support systems
  • Practicing healthy coping skills
  • Enabling addiction vs supporting recovery
  • Signs of relapse
  • Healthy communication
  • Setting and establishing boundaries
  • Transitioning from treatment to early recovery

When choosing a treatment center for your loved one, make sure that they offer some type of family enrichment or family therapy program. While family participation is not mandated in most treatment programs, it is strongly encouraged to successfully deal with the stress and trauma caused by the addiction.

The River Source is a holistic treatment center that heals the mind, body and spirit. We offer a safe, supportive environment for those with substance abuse problems. Included in our treatment is family education and therapy that is designed to help families start over.

Learn More About Our Family Therapy Program

Benefits Of Individual Therapy In Recovery

Benefits Of Individual Therapy In Recovery-RiverSourceGroup therapy and self-help programs are highly impactful for those recovering from substance abuse problems. These strategies are even more beneficial when they are combined with individual therapy. Individual therapy involves working one-on-one with a counselor who understands the unique issues that people face when dealing with a drug or alcohol problem. Counselors can reinforce what’s learned in group therapy, but they can also tackle issues that can’t be dealt with in a group setting.

Why Individual Therapy Is Important

Individual therapy has a lot of rewards that are a natural result of a trusted, one-on-one relationship. It’s important for you to trust the counselor so that you can open up and feel comfortable exploring your feelings.

Let’s point out a few benefits to taking part in individual counseling at a drug rehab Arizona.

  • Individualized guidance with psychological issues that may have motivated you to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Greater attention addressing the various stages of recovery.
  • Secure setting to discuss sensitive topics like relationships, sex and self esteem.
  • A focus on developing new life skills and perspectives to free yourself from anxiety, depression and more.
  • Ability to reclaim your sense of power so that you move forward in your life.
  • A strengthening of your relationships.

How Individual Therapy Helps

Patients who take part in individual therapy during treatment find that they feel better about themselves and their recoveries. There’s something liberating about talking out your problems, letting your feelings come to the surface and freeing yourself from your past burdens. But individual counseling is not just for talking. Counselors also teach a variety of important life skills and coping mechanisms that will help you manage stress in your life.

Factoring In Group Therapy

Individual therapy builds on group therapy, and vice versa. They should not be looked at as separate treatments. When you meet individually with a counselor, you can work through your internal struggles, while group therapy helps you identify with others and feel less isolated in your problems.

Benefits of group therapy for addiction include:

  • Helps you realize that you are not alone.
  • Encourages the giving and receiving of support.
  • Teaches you how to relate to others in social situations.
  • Place to practice certain skills such as sticking up for yourself, being confident and acting brave.
  • Connect with others who are going through similar life experiences.

Many times, what people learn in group therapy will be talked about in individual therapy. This creates well-rounded discussions that involve many perspectives, which is important for long-term recovery.

Safe And Effective Recovery Programs

The River Source provides holistic recovery for drug and alcohol abusers. We offer a safe, supportive environment that includes individual and group therapy. We believe that when our patients participate in both, they’re able to learn about themselves and practice being in healthy relationships again.

Learn More About Our Effective Programs

What’s The Difference Between Individual And Group Therapy In Teen Rehab?

When your teen starts a youth treatment program, their recovery plan will be customized to meet their needs. Included in each recovery plan is drug and alcohol counseling, which will play a significant role in your teen’s recovery. In fact, counseling is so important to a successful recovery, it’s often recommended after treatment ends. Counseling comes in many forms, and your teen will receive both forms of addiction counseling in Mesa, AZ during their stay at The River Source.

Difference Between Individual & Group Therapy-Teen Rehab-TheRiverSource

Difference Between Individual And Group Therapy In Teen Rehab

You and your teen may be wondering what the difference between individual and group therapy is and what can be expected of them. Talk therapy in general is highly beneficial, but there are unique aspects to each form of counseling. Understanding the differences between individual and group therapy will help you and your teen reap the most benefits from the experience.

Individual Therapy For Teens

In individual therapy, your teen will talk about their issues with a therapist in a one-on-one setting. The therapist will listen to your teen’s concerns and perhaps provide feedback depending on the issues and the therapist’s training. The relationship between the therapist and your teen is crucial. Your teen has to trust the therapist so they can confide in them without holding back. This relationship can take time to develop.

The main goals of individual therapy are to:

  • Identify problems
  • Explore feelings
  • Work through challenges
  • Set goals
  • Promote personal strengths
  • Learn healthy coping mechanisms

Group Therapy For Teens

Group therapy is a collaborative approach. Usually, the groups are homogeneous, meaning that the people in them are facing similar issues. In this instance, your teen will be joined by other peers their age who are struggling with substance abuse. When they see that others share similar feelings and challenges, they will realize that they are not alone in their fight.

Group therapy has proven to be very effective at treating conditions like substance abuse, mental illness and eating disorders. Your teen will likely heal faster and find a sense of freedom by sharing their experience with others. The group therapy setting is non-judgmental and supportive, and most teens find that this interaction becomes a safe haven for sharing their experiences and learning from others’ perspectives.

See Our Tips For Making The Most Out Of Group Therapy

Customized Youth Rehab Program

If your teen is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, please call The River Source. Our youth rehab program is designed for male teens, ages 13-17. Your teen will receive a customized treatment plan that includes individual and group counseling. Sobriety for your teen is within reach.

If Your Teen Is Struggling, The Time To Get Help Is Now – We Are Available 24/7 – Call Now!