13 Jul
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Thika Rehabilitation Home

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It is extremely painful to stand by and watch someone’s life be destroyed. Yet that’s
the position Kenyan family members find themselves in when an addicted loved one denies having a problem with alcohol or other drugs. Not knowing the denial come with the disease. Until that person admits the need for help, usually after hitting the rock bottom, there is usually little that can be done.

Hitting rock bottom in a third world country like Kenya where addiction treatment is not a favorite topic with government, is characterized by loss of job, family, property, self worth and mental disorders and loss of life in extreme cases.

At Thika Rehabilitation Home, we advice family members to raise the bottom, once the problem is realized, so as to safeguard the loss of job, family, property etc. This ensures an addict is able to come to treatment while he/she still has a loving family, a job, property to return to as opposed to having to start all over again, which make even the recovery itself a total challenge.

Professionals who conduct formal interventions into the disease process believe they can help families and friends hold up a mirror to their loved ones, convincing them to confront their problem before they hit bottom — before losing job, health and family.
The power of an intervention comes from having the participants express concern and compassion for the alcoholic’s welfare, said Mureithi, an intervention specialist for Psychosocial Healthcare Services, . Pius has family members and friends write short letters to the alcoholic and then read them aloud at the intervention. The letters allow family members to express their feelings without threatening or blaming the addicted person.

“A family member might say, ‘I love you and I care about you, but I’m concerned. These are the things I see happening to you,'” Mureithi said. “Then I have each person tie their own feelings to the statements. They might give examples of times they were hurt by the alcoholic. For instance, a child may write, ‘You went to took us to the play park and everybody knew you had been drinking; I was so embarrassed.'”

Interventions should stress love and concern, Mureithi added. They should not take a negative, confrontive approach.

Afew guidelines to consider during an intervention

  • Participants need to be educated about the disease of addiction prior to the intervention. Their letters should be concise, well rehearsed, and should accentuate the positive.
  • Interventions should take place on neutral territory.
  • People invited to the intervention should include family members, close friends, and, when appropriate, employers or fellow employees.
  • Limit the intervention to about 30 minutes. At longer sessions, anger may flare up and compassion tends to decline.
  • Schedule an addiction evaluation to follow the meeting

However, being the Africans we are, brought up in difficult times, experiencing extreme poverty, harsh social economic, educational not to mention insecurity issues sometimes invent our on tailor made strategies of interventions. We must admit that theĀ  way developed economies approach their intervention might not work in certain situations, considering addiction treatment in such economies is funded by the government while they have good working policies on Alcohol and drug Abuse.

We have seen guardians , parents and siblings, skip performing the intervention and trick the addict in to the facility, then perform the debriefing later on, instead of the other way round because of hazards involved. Addicts have a tendency of misinterpreting the intervention from family and friends and delve into self pity, low self esteem, feeling that they are hated, and sometimes into depression and suicide.

Mureithi from Thika Rehabilitation home says:
Sometimes a quick decision whether to wait for him/she to hit rock bottom where he/she seeks help, or book the addict in a treatment facility before Job family and property disintegrate in the name of self will, free will and acceptance.

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