08 Sep Matt Brown with Freedom Interventions
Freedom Interventions owner, Matt Brown, shares his style of intervention, how families can support successful interventions and the college aged addict.
I am interested in the name of your business, “Freedom Interventions.” Tell me how you came up with that and why.
One of the things that I’ve felt as the result of my own recovery from addiction is freedom. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous talks about what we can expect to experience as the result of working the twelve-step program. It says, “We will know a new freedom and a new happiness.” I wanted the name of my company to inspire hope and confidence. This is what I think most families looking for help need to feel more than anything. Addiction has taken almost everything positive from them by the time they pick up the phone and start looking for help. They need to know that there is a way to get those positive things back.
What style of intervention do you practice?
I am trained and certified in both invitational and surprise models of intervention. I usually prefer to practice something that would closely resemble a “Johnson Model” intervention. After doing this for over eight years I’ve learned that there has to be a certain amount of flexibility to be able to achieve the best results for the families I’m working with. Whatever model is going to get the client separated from their addiction and into treatment in the shortest amount of time possible is what I start with. Sometimes that will change as I get more information. I have to consider that the client may have a mental health issue, previous trauma or a history of abuse or violence. These considerations will often impact how I approach the way we plan the intervention.
How can the family best support a successful intervention?
Addiction is a family disease. We say that all the time. Families who struggle with an addicted loved one have to adapt as the result of the addiction. Most of the time those adaptations can be unhealthy. They begin to normalize behavior and the longer they live with addiction, the more “normal” it becomes. To support a successful intervention, families first have to come to the realization that what they have been doing to try to solve the problem hasn’t fully worked. Not that their intentions aren’t honorable or good, they just lack the tools to solve it completely. That’s not a criticism. In our culture most families just don’t understand the nature of addiction. We are taught to see addiction as a condition of weak character or a lack of moral fortitude. Families must first see addiction for what it is, a medical disease. Once that happens, the way we approach the intervention changes. We stop looking at the individual as “bad.” We can start looking at them as “sick.” We can approach them with a higher degree of compassion and remove a large part of the shame from the experience.
I am also going to ask the family to follow my direction. During the intervention I’m going to ask them not to do or say anything that I don’t ask them to. This allows me to control the communication and the toxic behaviors that might sabotage our objective of getting them the help they need. I will spend time with them before the intervention preparing them for what they will need to say (and not say) so that when the intervention starts we can focus on the client completely.
Do you use your own recovery to help get addicts/alcoholics into treatment?
Yes I do. I think that it’s important that my clients understand that I’m not asking them to do anything that I haven’t been willing to do myself. My family had to intervene on me and I understand personally what I’m asking them to experience.
What would you say to the family of the college attending addict/alcoholic who is primarily concerned with them going to treatment and falling behind their coursework?
This comes up regularly, particularly at this time of year. Families have to remember that addiction is a life threatening condition. If the problem has escalated to the point that they need an intervention, education is no longer the most important consideration. It’s now about stabilizing them and giving them the tools to recover. The most important factor for college-aged addicts is time. They need time to let their brains heal. Drugs and alcohol negatively affect the brain in ways we are still discovering. Parts of the brain are still developing at this age. Executive function and decision-making skills are still maturing. If they return to school before they are ready, it can be a set up for relapse.
What makes Freedom Interventions stand out amongst the others?
I wake up every day and feel gratitude that I get to do what I do. There are a lot of great interventionists out there. I’m not going to pretend to be the best interventionist for every family. Sometimes a family needs a female interventionist or an interventionist with a different personality than mine. I want the family to get the right help even if it’s not from me. If the family needs something different that what I can provide, I’ll help them find it. I want families to have hope that recovery is possible.
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Matt Brown has been performing successful interventions since 2006. He employs a knowledgeable and devoted staff ready to provide help and support in breaking free of the chains of addiction. Matt utilizes his own recovery as a valuable source to help other addicts and alcoholics and their find the freedom he has found in sobriety. Freedom Interventions are based out of Austin, Portland, Seattle, Sale Lake City, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Oakland.
To discover more about Freedom Interventions and how Matt Brown can aid your family get help for a loved one struggling with addiction, see his website http://www.freedominterventions.com