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Medical Detox | Making the Choice of Intervention

A while back, possibly September of 2010, I began blogging about a dear friend of mine back in Boston. “Nick” was someone I got sober with, and he was a positive force in my life ever since. A year ago today, he turned fifty, so I called him to razz him about it. Hey, we get small thrills where ever we can get them, right? After all, I am going to turn fifty…er…about four years. I expect the calls.

Over the course of the next few months, ‘Nick’ was physically forced in a detox of sorts, but it wasn’t a medical detox. People, including myself, began noticing strange behavior on his part and we were concerned. He was acting paranoid, defensive, and then attacking. All behaviors I personally experience when we were using alcohol and drugs together. I hadn’t seen that behavior since he got sober.

His closer friends in Boston, ones who had not experienced the using “Nick” were shore it was something physically and mentally wrong with him. The words ‘schizophrenia’ and ‘syphilis of the brain’ were tossed around, but I held firm to the belief it was drug use and that he needed a medical evaluation and then possibly a medical detox. I was an island.

I called friends of his who at one time had been his sober support network. Each of them stated they’d tried but if ‘Nick’ doesn’t want help, then there was nothing they could do. My heart sank, as I was now live more than three thousand miles from Boston. What could I do?

“Nick” went into a facility of sorts, not a medical detox and rehab, but something more along the lines of a mental facility. Thankfully, he had some non-sober friends who loved and cared for him enough to at least do something. He fought, and refused blood work, and any type of treatment, and within weeks he checked himself out, against medical advice. He was acting sane again, but within a week, his paranoid pattern of behavior continued.

This time, though, the police showed up and forcefully escorted him to the same facility. Again, ‘Nick’ was obstinate, fighting the staff and refusing to share anything. According to him, everyone was out to get him and that we were all happy that he was coming undone.

Nothing could be further from the truth. ‘Nick’s’ vast circle of friends was behind him, but he could not see that.

I was racking my brain, my heart was heavy, and it remains the same even today. I made a call to a mutual Boston friend with a hope maybe something had changed. My last call for an update was four months ago. Although part of me hoped and prayed, there would be a change, I knew there probably wasn’t.

I received the news I thought I would. He is still using. Yes, the nay-sayers who believed it was ‘schizophrenia’ or ‘syphilis of the brain’ are now with the belief, and this is because ‘Nick’ told them, that ‘Nick’ is using drugs again.

The topic of an intervention came up, and as I am normally all for that, I don’t know that it would work on his end. ‘Nick’ has a lot of money, a huge pension, and he has always been classified as a loner. So, threats of ‘taking friendships’ away would surely fall on deaf ears.

We are toying with the idea anyway.

So, I ask, has anyone had an experience like this? What would you do?