Friday, June 24, 2011

God's Hand At Work--The Intervention II

Please understand that this is about 2 1/2 hours into the intervention.   At this point, Denise is in the bathroom, the intervention team is sitting in the living room with frazzled nerves and looking to me for answers. 

"What do we do now?" they asked.
 I stood there at a loss for words.  I looked out in the backyard and sent up a silent prayer.  Suddenly a peace and resolve filled my body.  I looked at the team and said, "We are going to pack for her to leave.  If she doesn't want to go, she is going to have to tell us to stop and say that she refuses to go.  Otherwise, we are going forward.  Find a suitcase, Tiffany."  I think this is called 'calling one's hand'.

The entire team got up and started gathering things to pack for Denise.  Tiffany went into one of the bedrooms to look for suitcases.  The interventionist asked, "Where is the garage?  They might be out there?"  I showed her the direction of the garage and she headed out there.  Tiffany came back without a suitcase.  I told her that Sharon had gone out to the garage.  Immediately Tiffany went to help.  Denise's mother started folding the mountain of clothes on the couch, thinking that we would find some of Denise's clothes there and basically pack from the couch.

Tiffany and Sharon came back into the living room with a suitcase just as Denise came out of the bathroom.  I took a deep breath.  Talk about being caught with your hand in the cookie jar.  Denise looked at the suitcase and said, "Oh Tiffany, don't get that old thing.  It's dirty.  I have better suitcases in here.  Come and let me show you."  Tiffany retrieved the good suitcases and we began packing.  Denise didn't like the clothes we picked and showed us which ones to pack. 

It is not unusual for addicts to fall asleep while smoking.  Every t-shirt she wanted packed had holes from cigarette burns.  Not one or two eighth inch holes.  A spattering of small holes and some as large as two inches in diameter.  Tiffany tried to get her to take good ones, but she insisted that there was no reason to burn shirts that were not already burned.  Her logic here is that she will fall asleep again while smoking, so use the shirts that are already burned.  In others words, don't solve the problem, just minimize the damage.

As Tiffany, Denise's mother, and I were packing, Denise announced she was in pain and needed to lie down.  When she got into her bedroom, we heard, "Sharon."  That was the first time she had addressed Sharon.  Immediately Sharon went into the bedroom.  Denise started talking to her.  I didn't know what about and didn't care.  She was connecting with Sharon and that was what needed to take place for this intervention to be successful.

Tiffany needed to actually book the flights that Sharon had placed on hold.  We were working on a budget and Tiffany was trying to use her frequent flier miles to pay for the flights.  She had explained to me that it is not as easy as people believe.  Sometimes frequent flier miles are not accepted for the desired flight, time, or airline.  It was possible that we would have to pay for the tickets. She had previously booked her flight back to St. Louis using some of her miles.  Tiffany wrote down all the information she would need to book the flights for Denise and Sharon.  Then she sat down at the computer and started entering our request.  In less than five minutes, the flights were booked and paid for with frequent flier miles.  Then she said, "Now let me see if I can book Sharon's flight from Los Angeles to Chicago."  In less than three minutes that was done using frequent flier miles successfully.  Tiffany looked up at me and said, "That never happens.  I have a hard time getting one flight when I want it.  I have never booked three tickets and gotten everything I wanted."  I reminded her that God was in control of this intervention.

Several times throughout the intervention, Denise tried to get us to leave so she could "think about getting help".  This is a ploy of the addict.  If left alone, he or she will take more drugs or leave before the team gets back.  We never left her alone.  About 2:00 p.m. Tiffany and Denise's mother left to pick up lunch for the team.  Sharon and I stayed with Denise, although she insisted that the team should go out for lunch at her expense.  We refused to take the bait. 

At one point Denise asked Sharon to come to the back room and see the planned remodel project.  When I saw them back there, I silently mouthed to Sharon that I was going to get better T-shirts to pack.  I closed the door so that Denise could not see me and went into her bedroom.  After a great deal of searching, I did find three no-hole T-shirts and packed them in the suitcase.  Later I needed to pack something else, but Denise was standing over me.  I knew if I opened that suitcase, she would take out the good T-shirts, so I stood there holding the object for about 10 minutes.  I would have stood there all day if necessary, but I was determined that she was not taking those old, stained, burned T-shirts.

By 4:45 p.m. we were on our way to the airport for the 7:15 flight to Los Angeles.  At 6:00 we were at the airport.  Most addicts are very good manipulators.  Denise has a master's degree in manipulation.  As was to be expected, Denise played the victim at the airport so she could get priority treatment.  The last time we saw her, she was in a wheelchair, being wheeled down the sidewalk by an attendant with Sharon walking beside her. 

As emotionally and physically drained as I was, I knew Sharon had a four hour flight with Denise.  I prayed that God's grace would sustain Sharon for the long, nonstop conversation she was about to endure.  The intervention had been successful.  Denise was entering treatment for addiction to prescription pain pills.  Right?? Well, maybe not.

More tomorrow.  If you have not already done so, please check the appropriate box if you have a loved one who struggles with addiction.




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