Can you really help someone reaching out for help with addiction?

Expert interventionist, Dr. Louise Stanger, shares her thoughts on issues that come up when someone calls you up for help. Cutting questions about the behavioral healthcare industry here.

minute read

Jolts – All in a Week

Jolt – 1. Verb: To jar, shake or cause to move by as if a sudden rough thrust, shake up roughly , to knock sharply so as to dislodge

………2. Noun- an emotional shock, movement or blow

This week I more fully realized how each day lives are jolted into stratospheres of anguish like lightening bolts in the sky. I was particularly touched by the number of calls I received from so many different folks, calling out for help. The question was, and is:
“Are people sufficiently jolted out of their sensibilities to action or was the phone call just a way of alleviating their pain in and society where instantaneous grief is coveted?”

8 separate phone calls

My phone rang with:

1. Gasping teary eyed divorced parents wailing over their 46 year old executive son who lay comatose after overdosing on fentanyl.

2. A mother-in law beset with worry about her 33 yo daughter in law who had a 10 month old and a 3 1/2 year old who was drinking excessively. My sensibilities bolted when I learned this young mom’s husband had just died suddenly and unexpectedly and everyone was reeling from this death. The caller was angry as her daughter-in-law was a “narcissistic” and with compassion, I shared: “Given the enormity of the situation it is not uncommon for someone to be emotionally non intentionally unavailable to others in times of crisis such and solutions are available. Let’s find one.”

3. Within hours I received another call from a mom wailing her 22 yearly college son was repeatedly Tweeting he was going to kill himself. Together we made a 911 call for help.

4.Then, a single dad called wondering what he might do with his 16 year old daughter who was nodding off and having an affair with a 23 year old. I marveled when he asked, “Do you think I should stop drinking in front of her?”

5. Or the sister who reported she had not slept in weeks because her mother pays for her meth ridden sister who lives in a house with guns and drugs. She wondered how she might teach mom to be part of a solution not part of the problem.

6. And the Religious Handler who calls and only sees a non medicated solution for their charge that is experiencing a substance induced psychosis.

7. Or the young man who called struggling with his gender identity drowning his isolation in alcohol and other drugs finding hookups and ending up with genital warts all because…

8. And the last phone call came from a 51 year old woman whose only communication with her 73 year old “borderline” mom was through her 14 year old daughter. Unclear in thought, she wanted to reconcile and find a solution for her mother’s multiple geographics and abusive tongue.

The tipping point: Calling for help

I wondered what synchronicity prompted each one of these souls who – theoretically – represent the hundreds of thousands of people who each day globally turn to others for help. How did they have reached that momentary tipping point that begs one to turn to others for solutions?

When one thinks about the reality that there is $200 billion dollars spent each year on behavioral health care in the United States alone the phone calls I receive are a microcosm of the numbers of folks who seek help daily.

And the question becomes:

“Do we have the infrastructure in this booming business to meet the needs and pocketbooks of these folks who are in such need? Do we have the trained and credentialed staffs to address these issues and how do we reach out to the millions who are hidden?”

Your responses are welcomed……

About the Author: Dr. Louise Stanger is a speaker, educator, clinician, and interventionist who uses an invitational approach with complicated mental health, substance abuse, chronic pain and process addiction clients. She is the recipient of the 2016 Joseph L. Galletta Spirit of Recovery Award. Her book Falling Up: A Memoir of Renewal is available on Amazon and Learn to Thrive: An Intervention Handbook on her website at
1 (619) 507-1699
About the author
Louise Stanger, Ed.D. is a clinical social worker LCSW and Certified Intervention Professional CIP with over 35 years experience in substance abuse and mental health disorders, grief and loss. She has been a university educator (SDSU & USD) and researcher. She is active in the Network of Independent Interventionist and Association of Intervention Specialists and is also a Motivational Interviewing Trainer of Trainers. More at All About Interventions .
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