(Identifying information has been changed in order to maintain confidentiality.)
Identified Client: Robert, 66-year-old male, retired for the past 4 years. He is a husband, father, grandfather, and friend.
Drug of Choice: Alcohol
Initial contact: Harriet, Robert’s adult daughter, made the initial contact asking whether or not Family Intervention might be an option in trying to get her father some help for his drinking problem.
Because this family lives in a large city on the West Coast, the initial interview was done over the phone.
Client History: “The drinking got worse after Robert retired, or maybe I started noticing it more.”
Robert has been married to Colleen for 44 years. They raised 2 daughters, numerous pets, and have lived in the same house for the past 35 years. Some things have changed in their marriage such as they now sleep in separate bedrooms; mostly because of Robert’s drinking.
Robert would begin drinking in the late mornings just as soon as he could get his chores and errands done.
Robert and Colleen began to have less and less to talk about as time went by. Colleen didn’t want to talk to Robert when he had been drinking and it began to seem like he was always drinking. And Robert really didn’t have much to say to Colleen. She was always coming and going and when she did stick around it seemed as though she just had something negative to say about what he was doing or not doing, “have you been drinking?” He felt like all she did was nag.
“The drinking got worse after Robert retired or maybe I started noticing it more” complained Colleen. Robert began to go to bed earlier and earlier. “Now that I look back at it, I think he went off to bed to be able to drink and not have me on his back.”
Some health issues began to arise, complicated by years of drinking. Roberts’ doctor was having him get his blood tested every 3 months to monitor his diabetes and prostrate concerns. The doctor had long ago told Robert to stop drinking.
Harriet (Robert’s daughter) stated that others were concerned about her dads drinking as well.
(A more complete history, not included here, was gathered.)
Intervention Team members: During the course of the initial interview a list of possible intervention participants were discussed over the phone (this is often the case where family members live at a distance from each other). Harriet was asked to contact potential participants and ask them to give the Interventionist a call so they might discuss their concerns and also to see if they would be appropriate members of the intervention team.
Those that called and became part of the team included; older sister Marsha, older brother Franz (living and calling from Sweden), younger brother Bill, wife Colleen, oldest daughter Harriet, younger daughter Liz, nephew Mark, long-time co-worker/friend Arthur and friend Terry. Interviews were conducted and homework assignments given – to write a letter to Robert about their concerns and feelings