A Family’s Painful Tug of War

You can’t help someone who doesn’t want your help. But how can we stand by and watch a loved one suffer and spiral into dangerous waters? While there isn’t an immediate or easy solution, there are resources available to navigate this painful conflict and find potential solutions.

Lana* called Amudim for guidance on how she could help her nephew, Aryeh*. 25 years old, homeless, and floundering somewhere in the midwest far from his family, Aryeh has a history with drug use and significant medical issues. Lana, Aryeh’s mother and other family members tried everything to convince Aryeh to get help, from begging and bribery to threats. Nothing worked, and some of these actions aggravated the situation.The family tried networking to get outside assistance, and Lana eventually reached a friend who suggested she call Amudim.

Our case manager arranged a conference call with Lana and her sister. He described an adult’s right to refuse care without diminishing the efforts to compel Aryeh to get help. The case manager also explained the importance of al-anon (support groups for loved ones of addicts) and the whole family beginning therapy. There was some initial resistance, since Lana and her sister did not see themselves as “the problem.” The case manager gently helped them see that addiction is a family illness; seeking support provides a model for Aryeh that his family values treatment, and that no matter how far he has distanced himself, he is not alone.

Once the family was established in Al-anon and therapy, we referred them to an interventionist, who assessed the situation and helped manage the family’s expectations. Since the family was already seeking support, they were better prepared for this process.

Soon after, the interventionist and some of the family traveled to the midwest to meet with Aryeh. They expressed their love, concern and the pressing need for Aryeh to enter treatment. After a few emotionally challenging hours, Aryeh agreed.

While there is still a long road ahead, the family now has hope for the recovery and healing to come.

If you or someone you know is struggling, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Amudim is a phone call away and here to help.

*Names and details have been changed for privacy purposes.

About the Author
Zvi Gluck is the CEO of Amudim, an organization dedicated to helping abuse victims and those suffering from addiction within the Jewish community, and has been heavily involved in crisis intervention and management for the past 20 years.
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