How To Help Someone Enter Addiction Treatment with Joseph Devlin on The Healers Café with Dr. Manon Bolliger, ND

In this episode of The Healers Café, Dr. Manon Bolliger, ND, chats with Joseph Devlin a respected behavioral health expert and Family Addictions Specialist.

Highlights from today’s episode include:

Joseph Devlin  09:40

I have and I still do attend Alcoholics Anonymous. I’d say it saved my life. It’s just going through the the 12 step process, which is a continual process, and it allowed me to take that snapshot of saying, okay, here’s a blueprint for your life. How do you want to go about it? What do you want to do? How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go? That was something that I am absolutely so grateful for. Because it was something that I needed and the great thing about Alcoholics Anonymous, or any of the 12 step programs, because like Al-Anon, or Nar-Anon is another program that I really encourage families to go to. Because the very same 12 steps that the individuals and like AA or NA are going through, are the same exact ones that they are asking those who will go to Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. Because, it’s giving you that idea, that ability to take that introspective look at yourself, and it gives you the community around you. Really that’s what strengthens us, it’s the people that we’re around

Joseph Devlin  11:39

But even when I work with an individual, is when I always say it’s like looking at breaking through that pain, shame, and embarrassment caused by addiction. We call it  a substance abuse disorder, that’s kind of changed within the DSM Five, the diagnosis to kind of help get away even just some of that stigmatism that that comes behind that. And honestly, that I think is one of the big pieces that happens when when you get involved in a community and I often say, “Hey, listen. Get involved with 12 step as I would highly suggest that. But, if it’s your karate group, or your book group, or somebody else, get people around you who you’re going to be able to open up to and break those things.

Joseph Devlin  33:51

The families that I work with, they’ve tried everything. They feel like they’ve tried everything. They feel like there’s no hope, like there’s nothing else that they can do that’s going to make things change. That they’re tired of the arguments in the house, they’re tired of walking around on eggshells. They’re tired of wondering, being fearful every night when they don’t know when their loved one doesn’t come home. And then when they are home, they’re fearful that they wish just all this anxiety and craziness would stop. And I look at that, and I say, so there’s two things that I say, is like that’s really like that family. That’s like that family addiction spiral right because so much is wrapped in there. And that’s where I’ve kind of I’ve moved on. My practice is called Family Sobriety Now, because we have to look at that spiral. And we have to figure out what are those things that just keep us twisted in this, and then just kind of pull a little piece out each time. And then to build this entire family being sober.

 

About Joseph Devlin:

Joseph Devlin, MA, CAADC, is a respected behavioral health expert with more than 20 years of experience in the specialty of Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Treatment. His passion lies in helping others achieve sobriety and live fulfilling lives. His professional experience includes: clinical director, interventionist, professor, facility director, addiction counselor, counseling supervisor, case manager, care manager, treatment facilities auditor, steward of county and state funding for treatment facilities, utilization reviewer, licensed trainer and family group decision making facilitator. His book “ A Step Out of Darkness: How to Help Someone Enter Addiction Treatment and Walk With Them Through Recovery” was the number one selling crisis management book on Amazon for three months. He also speaks to groups and sees people privately who are interested in the road to recovery. Joseph has extensive training and experience in trauma-informed care and restorative practices. He received his masters degree from The International Institute for Restorative Practice. He not only has professional experience, but he also has walked his own path of recovery for over a decade.

Core purpose/passion : Helping families who have a loved one struggling with sobriety go from chaos to having peace, calm, and stability in the family unit.

 

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About Dr. Manon Bolliger, ND:

Dr. Manon is a Naturopathic Doctor, the Founder of Bowen College, an International Speaker with an upcoming TEDx talk in Jan 2021, and the author of the Amazon best-selling books “What Patient’s Don’t Say if Doctors Don’t Ask” and “A Healer in Every Household”.

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About The Healers Café:

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TRANSCRIPT

Introduction  00:10

Welcome to the Healers Cafe. Conversations of health and healing with Dr Manon.

 

Manon Bolliger  00:24

So welcome to the Healers Cafe. And today I have with me, Joseph Devlin. And let me tell you a little bit about him. He’s a respected behavioral health expert with more than 20 years of experience in the specialty of drug and alcohol recovery and treatment. His passion lies in helping others achieve sobriety and live fulfilling lives. He has a best selling book called ‘A Step Out of Darkness’, how to help someone enter addiction treatment, and walk with them through the recovery. He also has extensive training and experience in trauma informed care and restorative practices. And he received his master’s degree from the International Institute of Restorative Practice. And he not only has professional experience, but he has walked his own path of recovery for over a decade. So I’m really thrilled that you have accepted to be on this podcast and share your wealth of knowledge.

 

Joseph Devlin  01:29

Thank you, doctor, I really appreciate you having me on the show today, just really looking forward to this opportunity to speak with you today.

 

Dr. Manon  01:37

So well, let’s start. I mean, this is such a timely discussion, because I think one of the few shops that haven’t lost money, besides the big tech industry, is is the liquor stores. They have done very well in this time period. And so maybe, why don’t we start actually, if you don’t mind a little bit about your story. Because I find that many times as healers, we, our own story, sort of informs our passion and the resolve to help other people. If we either receive the help, or if we’ve been searching for the help forever. So I’m happy that you share a bit of your real experience. And how you decided to go into this field?

 

Joseph Devlin  02:28

Sure. No, absolutely. And I think that’s great saying receiving the help, because that was something I wasn’t willing to do for a long time. And that’s really how I ended up coming into the position I am now. When I think growing up, I’ve always looked at, I know I was always looking to …

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experiment. We’ll say just to kind of a higher level of consciousness. I always liked, I was always very thrilled by that. And, I even looked at  drinking, and even in my family and the culture I grew up in, was almost like a rite of passage. So it was these things that you went for. So now for me, you know, I started before the legal age, and it was when I turned 15 years old, actually, it was on my birthday that I went to my first treatment center. And so when you kind of look around for signs, looking back on it, it’s kind of clear. It’s clear to me now that if you say the universe or a higher power, or God was telling me something on that day. That hey, listen, I think you want to take a look at that. So I stayed sober for about 45 days, I really, I enjoyed the treatment center. They asked me questions and had me doing some internal thinking, and internal dialogue, and looking at my community as a large whole.

 

Joseph Devlin  03:56

And so that helped me move along. I mean, I’m from a family, there was no trauma, there’s nothing that really drastically happened in my family. I grew up in the suburbs, , like, we even leave our doors unlocked that kind of thing. So, there was nothing of that nature, but going to treatment just kind of exposed some things. And I realized, hey, listen, even at this age, there were things that I was searching for, and things that I was kind of wrestling with. And I stayed sober for 45 days and then said, “Yeah, I can’t imagine being sober for the rest of my life”. What about weddings and graduations and all those kind of things. So I just went back out and I was using different substances for for many years. And unfortunately, it wasn’t until a couple decades later where I did get sober and in the meantime, there was a lot of lost relationships.

 

Joseph Devlin  04:49

There was a lot of, not even a damage to the relationship, I kind of knew what was happening but you know, I could separate myself enough the addiction wanted to separate itself enough from all that for me to really kind of be addressing that. But once I did get sober, I dove in. I think that me always searching for that higher level of consciousness, and also having the treatment center early on, I was open to taking a deeper look into myself. And as I started to unpack some of those things, it was just really weird. I kind of fell into a job working with at risk youth. and then that kind of moved me on, while I was doing that I was working on my masters, and then ended up working in a treatment center. And it was just like, all these things, I fell into becoming a counselor. And that’s one of the number one things they tell you not to do in recovery, is to become a counselor, because many people will treat that as their own recovery. However, I was able to, separate the profession, from my own recovery.

 

Joseph Devlin  05:58

I moved along, in that I saw what happened to me a lot was during that time, I could tell you how many times I was working with the same family over and over again. Because, statistically speaking, it’s eight different treatment episodes before somebody actually gets sober. So I kept seeing that there was nothing there for the family. Everything was really geared around the individual and their own recovery. And this happened all the way through I was counseling. I ended up working for the county auditing treatment centers, and I felt like, hey, this was the time where I really arrived. But I realized that there were still just these cracks missing. I went on and became a clinical director and realized, again, you’re dealing with a larger system. And so I was kind of just going home one day, and I was like, I kind of felt like, what am I doing with all this stuff? You’ve had to recover your spirits, you’ve worked through all these different treatment centers, the county, and I was just like, your family still missing something.

 

Joseph Devlin  07:04

And so at that point I was like, you know what, I’m going to take everything that I know, I’m just going to pour it out into a book, and give it to families. I wanted to level the playing field for them, so that they could be aware of some of the basic things that they need to do, as they’re walking alongside their loved one who’s in recovery. And, that was the book that you mentioned. And after I did that, one of the guys that I work with, who’s really like a mentor, really made it clear to me that…look, you have the book out now where are they going to go to?

 

Joseph Devlin  07:37

I did the terrifying leap of going out there and opening my own practice, and saying, okay, in conjunction with some of the other things that I do, I’m going to be available for those families.

 

Manon Bolliger  07:51

So when you were 15, how did you end up in the treatment center? Was it family telling you to go there or you decided? What was your sign, because not everyone does that at 15?

 

Joseph Devlin  08:10

Sure. Well, what happened for me was, it was like a Saturday night coming home from a party. And a couple of couple people that I knew, oddly enough, different friends were like, “No, you need to stay with me”, “No, you need to stay with me”, that kind of stuff. Because, I was highly intoxicated I was just like, “No, no, I’m going home”. And I ended up stumbling home and there’s a really longer story with that. But, eventually the police ended up picking me up on the side of the road while I was stumbling home. So I went down to the police station, as a 15 year old shouldn’t be that intoxicated, that’s just not  a normal thing. I had to go through a court, like a council, and I was given the option do you want to go to treatment, or do you want to pursue the little bit further of a judicial path. So again, I was fortunate enough to have that opportunity, and I’m really grateful for it. Because, although I didn’t get sober at that time, that was absolutely the catalyst to when I did get sober. That it was easier for me to kind of put on that focus and keep going.

 

Manon Bolliger  09:26

So did you do any of the more conventional things like Alcoholics Anonymous, did you do any of that in your experience, or?

 

Joseph Devlin  09:39

Yes, absolutely.

 

Joseph Devlin  09:40

I have and I still do attend Alcoholics Anonymous. I’d say it saved my life. It’s just going through the the 12 step process, which is a continual process, and it allowed me to take that snapshot of saying, okay, here’s a blueprint for your life. How do you want to go about it? What do you want to do? How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go? That was something that I am absolutely so grateful for. Because it was something that I needed and the great thing about Alcoholics Anonymous, or any of the 12 step programs, because like Al-Anon, or Nar-Anon is another program that I really encourage families to go to. Because the very same 12 steps that the individuals and like AA or NA are going through, are the same exact ones that they are asking those who will go to Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. Because, it’s giving you that idea, that ability to take that introspective look at yourself, and it gives you the community around you. Really that’s what strengthens us, it’s the people that we’re around.

 

Manon Bolliger  10:54

And, in how you work with people, is there something that you find really essential or important from your own experience as a practitioner and reaching out? What, if you were to say, the three top things? You can say as many as you want, but what do you find is really important in the recovery process and the support of it both, actually?

 

Joseph Devlin  11:22

Yeah, one of the main things I see now, and I still work with individuals like I said, my book is just for the families and I like engaging with the families because there’s nothing really there for them.

 

Joseph Devlin  11:39

But even when I work with an individual, is when I always say it’s like looking at breaking through that pain, shame, and embarrassment caused by addiction. We call it  a substance abuse disorder, that’s kind of changed within the DSM Five, the diagnosis to kind of help get away even just some of that stigmatism that that comes behind that. And honestly, that I think is one of the big pieces that happens when when you get involved in a community and I often say, “Hey, listen. Get involved with 12 step as I would highly suggest that. But, if it’s your karate group, or your book group, or somebody else, get people around you who you’re going to be able to open up to and break those things.

 

Joseph Devlin  12:19

 I relate this as there’s a Grant Cluck Study done at Harvard University. It’s in its 77th year or something, but it was a longitudinal study. uys, like JFK were in it, and when it was looking at what were the things people had in common? And the only thing they found, was this one thing. People who were happy, were in what they called ‘good relationships’. Right? So it’s very key. I think we always have this quest to be happy. So it’s okay, how can I do this because, there’s the one things like, “Well, I’m afraid to let people know”, and “I’m kind of embarrassed”. So that means that I become isolated, and it’s just shutting off that community that could be around me. That’s the very thing that could unlock some of those things within me that brings out that joy and that happiness that we all yearn for.

 

Manon Bolliger  13:16

It’s interesting, because I’m thinking, when you’re saying, community is essential, but if the community you’re in, you can’t speak to, or you feel too much shame, right? It’s an interesting chicken and egg thing. Because if you didn’t have shame in the first place, you could talk to the community because the community is not a homogenous group of people. Right? What happens in these communities that are specifically gathered around alcoholism or drug addiction is everyone has a joint experience on some level, right? So I guess it makes it easier. But it’s true that if you’re in any community, where you dare to speak, and you are saying, “Hey, I have this issue”, you actually have the opportunity to be to be supported. Right?

 

Joseph Devlin  14:20

Absolutely! I think that’s a really, honestly, that’s a great segue. But really, my second point is the family. I’ve always been a counselor and being around the things that I’ve done, like even auditing treatment centers, folks really didn’t have a lot of family sessions. Right now, when you think about it, if you just got session after session, hour after hour after hour. Why would you want to do a family session that’s a lot of work for the for the clinician, right? And it takes a lot more out of you and you don’t have those things and again, I’ve just seen it across the board. But, there goes in the community that breaks down from the very beginning. And when they’re not communicating with one another, there becomes fracturing. The very things that you need to either have long term sobriety, or bring back that happiness, and bring back that family.

 

Joseph Devlin  15:20

So one of the things that I really do look at it is communication techniques, and I look at a wide variety of communication techniques. One of them, my Master’s is in restorative practices, and so there’s different approaches of really doing things with people. And,  restorative practices in general. It’s many of the ideas and concepts have been around for a long time. We’ve put it into this explicit framework, and part of this is doing things with each other, and then also asking each other certain questions like in the past, present, and future tenses when we’re looking at a situation or looking to grow.

 

Joseph Devlin  16:03

So that would be the other thing that is bringing that family now together. Smashing through some of the shame and guilt that everybody’s going through. Let’s look at the family members not thinking they’re doing enough. That’s one of the big things. My identity is as a parent is, ‘I didn’t do enough’. I don’t want to show anybody that, and then the individual who’s suffering from the addiction, they’re saying, “I can’t stop this”. I mean, coming from having suffered from it, from an addiction, there was a fun time where I was drinking and using, it was good. It wasn’t always bad. But then it got to be bad, and it got to be a point where every morning I was waking up, and I didn’t want to do it anymore. But I couldn’t stop it. There was no stopping it. So there’s just this whole shame and feeling less than and of all those things. So it’s like being able to bring that and address those through communications with with each other. That is so needed.

 

Manon Bolliger  17:11

No, definitely. But do you find that, and I’m curious, that sometimes the addictions come from an unresolved experience in their life or an unspoken trauma? In your case, it didn’t seem to be the case. Like you said, you lived in a happy background, there is no real reason so do you have further insight on, or what is your understanding of why you became addicted? And what is addiction for you?

 

Joseph Devlin  17:54

That is a big question, but I’ll try and unpack at least a piece of it. For me, I know a lot of it had a lot to do with self identity. Got one in seven children, and I think there was just kind of this go with the flow, and you kind of disappear. So that there are some things that you just lose, and it’s over a period of time that you just lose yourself. It became that natural, like I said, I know, for myself, I’ve always had a craving to the supernatural. And that’s why utilizing substances, expanding the mind, and experiencing something I don’t get to experience on a normal basis. And I would say is, I think a lot of people really have that same challenge. I’ve yet to meet anybody who, in their moment of despair, and their life was not going good, did not cry out to something and say, “Hey, I need help”.

 

Manon Bolliger  18:59

Hi, it’s Dr. Manon. And I just wanted to take a moment commercial break, to ask you to subscribe to my podcast, and kindly leave a comment if you’re enjoying this. And also, just to let you know, I have tips for people in health looking for solutions to some variety of issues. It’s more like an attitude of health. And they’re entertaining short videos. And that’s, you can find those under drmanonbolliger.com/tips. The link is here. And I look forward to hearing from you

 

Manon Bolliger  19:46

It also can be for the desire for expansion as well. Right. I know, when I was young, I was very interested in trying most drugs that were available and I did love the mind expansion, and that it actually allowed me to see. So I didn’t do it for personal reasons. It wasn’t out of sadness. It was really out of curiosity, and I loved that it expanded my mind in a way. I still honor those times for having changed my perspective on things, making me understand that we don’t have, and we don’t all share the exact same reality. We’re triggered differently. We have different experiences, different traumas, etc. but, it’s interesting. At what point, because I have a running joke that I gave it all up when I was 17 which seems like that’s when people start. No, actually, significantly younger than that. But, what do you think the pull is, the the addictive pull, towards repeating and losing your self image? Or what do you think the components are? I know, there’s plenty written on this encyclopedia, but your personal feeling? What do you feel?

 

Joseph Devlin  21:22

Yeah, and to your point, I really do like. One of the things I do honor is the mind expansion that I had. I was a very wound up child and was almost like, reverted, almost to anger tendencies. However, when I had gone through some substances, it kind of  changed, it opened my mind. And I think it’s very important to honor that, like I said, it wasn’t always bad. And I think that that goes right along with why a lot of people just think about it. Well, I think so many of us have, a large portion of us, we’re craving the supernatural. It’s like the Walking Dead was so, so…everybody loved it. And, then before that it was the vampires, right? And all those series because we’re all going after this, right? We all looking for it.

 

Joseph Devlin  22:21

And then I think, you know, what happens is in some folks, now definitely we know genetically, that there are genes out there. There are the addiction genes out there. So  if you’ve got it, you have to be watching out for it. I have two young children right now. but I’m ready to have that conversation with them when that time comes. Does that mean that they’re going to have the addiction? No. I come from a family where not everybody’s addicted so you do want to be aware of that. And then there is other ones that happen to. You do something enough times, if you’re putting something in your body enough times, it’s like that muscle memory, your cells begin to do that. And you don’t realize it over a period of time. I mean, that’s one of the biggest problems that we had with the opioid pain prescriptions, right? Because you’re saying, “Hey, listen, just take this once a day, twice a day three, it feels bad”. Now you’ve been doing it for over 30 days, right? And now you’re addicted. And you didn’t even know it. Like you weren’t even aware of it.

 

Manon Bolliger  23:27

I found it interesting finding out from Vietnam that a lot of the vets came back, though they had opium. I think it was in Dr. Gabor Matta’s book, it was a very small percentage that actually stayed addicted but really wanted this. But the vast majority, though they say heroines addictive, and etc., were fine. Not necessarily fine from the war, let me clarify that, but they were fine on the level that they didn’t seem to have any biological drive for that now, in isolation, and all of the other concurrent realities that are you missing limbs, whatever might be happening? Or the atrocities? Yes, you can go down another loop. But it’s different than the biological pull, from what I’m understanding is that a fair understanding? Or?

 

Joseph Devlin  24:29

I think that is another piece of it so if you’ve got that the other piece, and that really goes back to also that idea of there’s a great park in the rat Park study, right? I think that might be some of what you’re alluding to, is when we change our community and where we’re in. Because, if you’re walking around every day underneath this intense “Am I gonna die?” or “I just saw my friend blow up an hour ago”. What’s going on? What’s my day gonna be like, am I gonna be able to make it through here? So under that absolute intense pressure all the time, your life looks different. And then when you come home now, sometimes things just change. And that was a lot of what they found with a lot of the veterans, but it’s the same thing that was happening with everybody coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re having a very high population of folks who are experiencing trauma and PTSD. And then just being addicted to the painkillers across the board.

 

Joseph Devlin  25:31

So why it affects some people one way, I really wish I knew. I mean, and to share this, , what I always say to is, I think part of breaking through that pain, shame, and embarrassment, right? Or that guilt that somebody has, is that we feel that we’re not strong enough, right? Like, we go, “Oh, well, so I’m not strong enough”. Like I’m supposed to know only the fittest survive, right? And everything in my culture is teaching me I have to do it on my own, and be successful. However, now I worked, I volunteered as an EMT for a couple years, and I did it in a kind of like a suburb, a dangerous town. And some some things that I had seen, like pulling people out of a car if your tractor trailer runs over them. And there’s blood spurting out everywhere, and it’s hitting people, and, that didn’t bother me. So is that a problem? Then maybe I would get a call and there would be a grandma who broke her wrist and that kind of got to me. Then you’d have the opportunity of processing out in the way you needed to. So I think when we start looking at that, where it says, it’s there’s, how the, whatever the size of the event doesn’t mean that that’s what has to

 

Manon Bolliger  26:52

No, no, and often triggers, small triggers, can trigger bigger things depending on you know. Because that’s the nature of trauma, it catalogs, the memories, right? And so we get retriggered. That’s why in some relationships, something said, and we’re like, ‘don’t you dare’ or whatever. And it’s like, wait a minute, that’s so unwarranted for what was actually said, but it’s because we’re carrying the unprocessed trauma of earlier. Which I think there’s a lot of inner work. And I’m gonna ask you, you’re still telling me all the points, right?

 

Joseph Devlin  26:54

I think so like, having a good conversation with someone.

 

Manon Bolliger  27:40

It is supposed to be conversations. No particular agenda. But one of the concerns I have, and I’m just wondering if it is one of yours or not at all, and I’m fine with either, but  in my practice, as a naturopathic medical doctor, I have the right to diagnose. But I often receive a diagnosis from another GP or another person. And a big part of my work is the un-labeling, and the moving away from the diagnosis. Because, with every diagnosis comes a prognosis. And the prognosis are usually a very ugly picture of what actually doesn’t need to be. It’s a version of what can happen, but it’s not, by any means the only version. And so what I have found is that by removing the hold of the diagnosis, and really looking at what’s underneath, and what’s causing people, the stressors, the triggers getting really to the bottom of their life. There’s in that freedom, they’re able to resolve pretty well any condition. I’m never allowed to use the word cure, because I guess that would be too optimistic. But, let’s say, well, it’s actually illegal in my practice to use the word cure so we don’t.  But yeah, forever remission. But the point is, it’s no longer in their lives. They don’t need to think about it, they don’t need to worry about it. They don’t need to consider it. They’re so past it that they’re not even survivors of it. It’s done. It’s out of their inner psyche. It’s gone. And I’m curious when people in some organizations, more so than others, really get you to identify yourself as ‘I am an alcoholic’, it’s almost like that’s my name or I’m not? I’m feeling like it’s dated? Like, I don’t know, but I’m not in the field. So what are your thoughts on that?

 

Joseph Devlin  30:11

So I mean, it really is it is a beautiful question. I believe that there’s so much power in life and the words that we use. I absolutely believe that and I think diagnosis is for, those are something that can get somebody stuck. I’ve always believed that. And so one of the things that happens when I’m working with an individual who’s suffering from a substance abuse problem, they determine whether or not their alcoholic, addict, or whatever. They have to be the ones to name it, if that’s what they want to name it. If they’re trying because we want to kind of be aware of what the problem is. And, I think we’re 12 step kind of gets a very bad rap on this is that, it’s one thing to say, “Hey, listen. I am an alcoholic”. Right?

 

Joseph Devlin  31:09

However, if you’ve been in the program, and you’re continuing to work the steps, because it’s not like you just work the steps and you’re done. You don’t get a certificate,  you know, here’s your college diploma, or here’s, you know…it’s just, it’s a lifestyle change. So if anybody ever says, “Oh, I already did those meetings”, that’s when red bells go off in my brain. Okay, I’m listening, I’m listening to hear what you experienced, because it says you recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body. So that’s the other part of that alcoholic. Right? So there’s like that, as we move through life, we’re continuing to grow. I think every day, and all your listeners and yourself, we’re always looking to get better. But, part of that process is saying, “Yeah, this was a problem that I that I had”, right? And now here’s where moving to, “I have recovered from this”. Right? I guess I’m not cured. Again, that idea that I’m not cured, but I have now recovered from this. And this is where I’m moving. And this is where my life is going.

 

Manon Bolliger  32:23

So, but outside of the the chemical component, or the genetic slash chemical component of the addiction, do you think that people who have either proclaimed themselves to be, or have been drinking, is there a time where if they’ve healed through the work? I mean, the deeper reasoning, so outside of this biological thing, or when you’re really allergic to alcohol, or whatever it might be. But when you’ve done that work, is there such a thing as moderation, or the occasional or drink? What is your attitude on that?

 

Joseph Devlin  33:14

So my attitude is that it really depends.I’ve worked with individuals, so they get a DUI, and they come and they come to work with me, right? And they’re like, “Yeah, I’m just not drinking and driving”. Their life, doesn’t have to alter that much. And then there’s other individuals who are like, “Well, I’m going to get an apartment that’s right near the bar, so that I could just walk across the street”, right? There’s a little bit of a difference of opinion you know what I mean? So it really depends upon where they are and this is what I think is so amazing. So to be able to work within families, right? 

 

Joseph Devlin  33:51

The families that I work with, they’ve tried everything. They feel like they’ve tried everything. They feel like there’s no hope, like there’s nothing else that they can do that’s going to make things change. That they’re tired of the arguments in the house, they’re tired of walking around on eggshells. They’re tired of wondering, being fearful every night when they don’t know when their loved one doesn’t come home. And then when they are home, they’re fearful that they wish just all this anxiety and craziness would stop. And I look at that, and I say, so there’s two things that I say, is like that’s really like that family. That’s like that family addiction spiral right because so much is wrapped in there. And that’s where I’ve kind of I’ve moved on. My practice is called Family Sobriety Now, because we have to look at that spiral. And we have to figure out what are those things that just keep us twisted in this, and then just kind of pull a little piece out each time. And then to build this entire family being sober.

 

Manon Bolliger  34:59

Yeah, because I guess within the family, there’s so many different opinions, possibly, that also cause the dynamic itself, right? That, can predate all of this. Well, which plays into it. So it’s very hard for you to have the whole. You have to see the whole picture. You can’t treat the one person and say, “Well, that’s the person that’s got the issue”, because, it is a dynamic, if they’re in that dynamic.

 

Joseph Devlin  35:29

And I say to families, probably the number one thing I hear is where, as I said, there’s like, eight times before somebody, eight different treatment episodes before somebody gets sober, right, that’s just the average. So that means you have people who are going to take 20 times, right? To balance out the guys who go there twice, or once. And one of the biggest things is that families were like, “I’m done. You, you told me four treatments episodes before that you were changing, I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore”. And that’s the individual who has to work with that.

 

Joseph Devlin  36:01

So it’s identifying what/who is the family in their life. And one of the greatest ones ever was is, I was working with an individual, and he said, “Listen, I’ve got nobody”. And I said, “Let’s think, let’s tease this out”. And we were able to identify the fact that his probation officer knew him the most because he had a 10 year relationship with them. And so we brought him in as a part of a family session, and that unlocked other things to be able to bring other people within his community, even like a family member back like was in those are things that he’s still sober today. And so it’s like, we get to work with the pieces that are there. And it’s okay, if some family members don’t want to work together. That’s okay. But let’s start with where we can because we can make those changes.

 

Manon Bolliger  36:52

Well, I think our time is almost up. But is there any last pieces you would like to share? I feel like we went in many ways, but is there any main point that we’ve witnessed that you feel is really important for people to hear?

 

Joseph Devlin  37:09

The number one thing I want to say, is to any families that are out there is, first of all, it’s not your fault. There’s nothing you could have done. There’s nothing anybody in my family could have done to have changed what I did. And so, I always say that’s really so essential. So key, because you’re working so hard to try to get things together. And, the second thing I’d say is, if ever your loved one even remotely mentions the word, like they think they need help, or that, “Hey, I looked at this treatment center”. Drop whatever you’re doing, and go take them there.

 

Joseph Devlin  37:52

Don’t wait an hour, don’t wait a day, don’t wait a week. Because at that moment in time when they have said that, they’ve been thinking it probably for months, if not years, but for them to kind of verbalize it. And then if nobody acts upon it, you really lessen that window, that window kind of closed for you. So I would definitely say that those are two things. That absolutely I would say is to look at.

 

Manon Bolliger  38:20

Okay.

 

Joseph Devlin  38:23

Can I also just say one other thing doctor, I know we are close to closing out for your viewers today. I would be happy to give you a free copy of my book, if you’d like. If you just even by my name is Joseph B as in Bravo, devlin.com. Just you can go to there, you can email me and I will send you over a copy. I’d be happy to do that for for any of your listeners.

 

Manon Bolliger  38:46

Great.

 

Manon Bolliger  38:47

Yeah. And we could put that on. Well, you might not want it on the link, but you have a link where people could get the book as well. Yes, I do. Absolutely. So we could put that link to in case. People need to see it in writing. Yeah. Okay, great. Well, it was a real pleasure to to have you and thank you for sharing all that information.

 

Joseph Devlin  39:08

Yeah, well, thank you again, I really do appreciate it! It’s been a great time speaking with you and I’m always open for any kind of conversation so whether your listener, yourself, I’d love to further the conversation.

 

Introduction  39:24

Thank you for joining us at this cafe with Dr. Manon. For more information, go to drmanonbollinger.com

Thank you for joining us. For more information, go to DrManonBolliger.com.