Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Art of Intervention Part II

The Drama Triangle, as Karpman described it, is an ongoing, series of rigidly patterned behaviors, driven by unfulfilled needs. See for more information on the Drama Triangle, including an excellent piece relating the triangle to classic alcoholic and addicted family roles.

At any rate, if we use the Drama Triangle as a starting point, we see the roles to which we are relegated in the disease of addiction. We become reactive; our actions dictated by the behaviors of the sick addict. We can scold, extravagantly rescue, feel abandoned and guilty. We can experience mood swings based on someone else's drug use or drinking.

We get sick. Literally.

In The Medical Aspects of Codependency Dr. Max Schneider identifies a variety of medical issues that develop as someone becomes enmeshed in a codependent relationship with an addict.

Most importantly, we lose the ability to act. We can only react. We cannot act in the best interests of the addict. We cannot even act in our own best interests. We either continue in the downward spiral of emotional addiction or we run away, filled with anger and shame and traumatized by the experience.

Is it any wonder why a family member or other loved one of an addict gets butterflies and sweaty palms at the thought of confronting the addiction? Not at all. Because when we do, we are not only intervening in the person whom we love's addiction, we are also intervening in our own codependency. We are reclaiming our ability to act, with all of the risk and responsibility that implies, in our own self-interest, and the interest of the addict.

Enough to make anyone nervous!

Next--why you need a professional interventionist.

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