In the wake of Tiger Woods' admittance and apology for his extramarital affairs, interventionist Brad Lamm offers this advice to families who may be waiting for a loved one to hit rock bottom before they step in to help.
People who change rarely do so in a vacuum. They change with the support of others. Add to the mix a compulsive behavior that has a real physiological jolt to it—a rush, a high or a numbing out—and it's even that much harder again to begin change.
In my life and practice as a board-registered interventionist and recovered addict, I meet a lot of Tigers. And, just as frequently, I meet Frogs.
Tiger is the identified loved one stuck in the behavior that is costing more, more and still more.
Frogs are the family members who recognize their loved one needs help but don't know how to begin to take action and change the life of someone they love. It's as if they've hopped into a pot of water on a stove and, although the temperature is rising, have convinced themselves, "It's really not that hot in here."
Both need a nudge to get moving.
When it comes to facing a family member's addiction, like frogs, we come to accept greater and greater compromises until it becomes the easy way to live. We lull ourselves into thinking: "Tiger's okay. It's better lately." That thinking must stop and be replaced by this truth: "We will wait no longer nor try to beat the heat. We will act now in love, with purpose and a plan."
When I wrote How to Change Someone You Love, I set out to turn the very paradigm of change on its head and help Frogs jump and Tigers talk. Whether I'm teaching or intervening, I challenge families to begin change by jumping out of the increasingly costly situations they find themselves in.
The next thing I ask is that they throw out the myths that keep them stuck in indecision in the first place.
3 myths about addiction