I can confidently say, our intervention would not have been successful without John Southworth. John won't tell you what you want to hear, he'll tell you what you need to hear. John is tough and caring all wrapped into one. He helped our family pull our heads out of the sand, understand the problem and face the problem. Most importantly, he reminded us of the time factor; the fact that while we were trying to make the perfect decision, there was the chance that our loved one would die, accidentally kill someone else or end up in jail with a record. Time wasn't going to wait for us. Unfortunately, drugs/alcohol weren't the only problem. We had personality issues within our intervention team that John effectively managed more than anyone could have by constantly bringing the disagreements back to the issue at hand--getting help for our loved one's addiction. Our intervention wasn't conventional as per the book, though that was our goal. Our addict found out about the intervention beforehand and we had to do an emergency intervention with John remotely. He took countless phone calls from everyone on the team at all hours of the night and while we would have much rather had him there, he was still an integral part of the success. Not only did he guide us on what to do and how to act/react, he used his numerous contacts to get us into a hospital detox, after hours, without any complications. When things didn't go to plan, he knew how to find quick solutions. He continued to be our rock, even after the intervention. I talked with many interventionists while I was initially researching this subject. Many asked who else I had talked with and a couple told me that if I could get John, I should book him immediately. He sold himself to me before that, but it was comforting to know how respected he is in the industry. After going through an intervention with him, it's unquestionable as to why he is so respected. I thought the intervention was going to be the hardest thing ever and have since found that there will be many obstacles to overcome. John has given us strength and is still a big part of our lives. He helped orchestrate a truly, life changing event. I will forever be grateful.
It has been eight months since our intervention in Chicago and I am happy to report that so far and to the best of my knowledge my son has not taken a drink and continues to be active in the program. After a month in treatment he returned to Chicago and entered a six week intense (4 nights a week for 3 hours each) out patient program and followed that up with a once a week program for a couple of months. He has been able to get all his legal issues behind him and has found a job in the same area of work as in the past. He is active in the AA program and has been active in this program since his return to Chicago. I must say, John, that from the first day I called Betty Ford and they referred me to you for assistance---That my son’s life, our life and our relationship with him has turned in a very positive direction. You were certainly the first step down this difficult road and of course, the first step has to be successful for everything else to fall in line. It is because of that fact---we wish to thank you and commend you for successfully leading the way toward a road to recovery for my son. Of course, it is just the beginning for him be he has a different direction today and you and your team got us started.
When I met you, I was 16 and had been drinking since I was 9 or 10. I had been sexually abused and brutalized since I was 3 with no end in sight. You and my school counselor helped me get out of my abusive family and find Alcoholics Anonymous. Over the years I stayed sober in A and have been in and out of counseling. I have struggled for all these years with eating disorder behavior that included Bulimia. I also managed my anxiety with self-injury behavior. My life has felt like a puzzle with missing pieces. I married a gay man, knew he was gay the first month we were married, and stayed 12 years. I was over 400 lbs. when I divorced my husband. The last four years of my marriage I hardly left my house. I was sober right? Why couldn’t I make my life work? In the 2 years after my divorce I lost 100 lbs through diet and exercise. When I failed my diet I would use Bulimia to regain control. The through a series of traumatic events I started escalating both the Bulimia and self-injury behavior. It started with a five-day stay in the hospital for a Gall Bladder surgery [date]. My foster Mom died [three months later]. Before dealing with my profound grief, I threw myself into dating. I quickly got involved with a man who had only been out of prison for a year. He told me that his crimes had been about drugs and that he was clean and sober. Soon I learned that he had 3 children by different mothers, all the same age. I also found out he had been in and out of prison for most of his life. I kept telling myself that he was a changed man and a good man even though he kept doing things that set off alarm bells in me. I didn’t listen to myself and stayed anyway. [Two months later] I got bit by my cat and had multiple ER visits to deal with the massive infection. [Three months later] I had hand surgery to fix the tendon damage and reduce the scar tissue. [Four months later] I had a full hysterectomy. My boyfriend would act supportive before the surgeries, but after, when I needed help, would abandon me. [One month later] a car killed my cat. I loved that cat and the grief over my cat mixed with the grief over my foster Mom and I was devastated. [One month later] my boyfriend broke up with me. I was surprised to find that I felt relieved instead of sad. Later that week, he called me; he was drunk and angry, saying that we needed to get back together. After that he started calling me all the time. Then he called me [a month later] to say he had some of my things that he wanted to return; I felt relieved. I told him I couldn’t stay ling because I had plans. He lured me into his house. He raped me, dislocating my hip in the process; he hit me, suffocated me, and threatened to kill me if I told. He made me shower and scrub myself while he watched. I kept telling him it was no big deal, that it was fine, and that I would never tell. This was so much like the abuse from my childhood that I just stayed quiet and refused to tell the police, despite friends pleading that I report. He started stalking me after the rape. He left notes in my car and drove through my parking lot. He would wait outside the grocery store and the bank. I stopped being able to sleep at night and started bingeing and purging multiple times everyday. I started cutting myself to cope with the overwhelming panic. I ended up in the ER four times in less than six weeks. I lost hope of being able to get my life back from abuse and addiction. I was flooded everyday with flashbacks from the rape and my childhood abuse. I decided to end my life. I borrowed a gun from a friend, wrote a couple of letters, and went on a retreat with some of my closest friends to say goodbye. Over the weekend, my friends discovered my plan and admitted me into a psych hospital. When I left the hospital, I was stable but I still had no hope. The day I got home I had two calls on my machine; one from my rapist and one from you. You had arranged for me to go to an “intensive workshop” in Mississippi. I had a week to get ready and I was to be in Mississippi for a week for the workshop but I didn’t plan on coming home. I thought it would be easier on my friends if I killed myself there. While I was at the workshop, you, along with the facilitators, decided that it would be best if I stayed for treatment. This gift saved my life. At first treatment was like an emotional triage; everyone working to stabilize me so that I could be safe enough to do the work of recovery. Recovery for me has been a process of learning how to grow myself emotionally and cognitively. I am [age] years old and have been trying to function with the thinking of a child. An adult will deal with life’s problems by acknowledging the reality of it without exaggeration or avoidance. A child believes that if she closes her eyes, you can’t see her. I have spent my adult life avoiding emotional pain, conflict and anger. I kept control of my feelings through addictive behaviors, such as Bulimia and self-injury. In treatment, (particularly through intensive workshops), I learned how to recognize my childlike thinking and how to gain adult perspective. I learned coping skills for dealing with Bulimia and emotional over-eating. I found new ways to cope with panic and was able to stop hurting myself. One of the most life changing concepts I learned in treatment, was that my healing lies in understanding the messages I told myself about what happened to me. I have spent my life trying to be safe without any sense of internal safety. Treatment helped me recognize the destructive patterns of my life and has out me on the path to changing them. When I got home, I put myself in an after-care program and have continued the work that got started in Mississippi. I confronted my rapist and although he was not prosecuted, he has left me alone. If he ever threatens me again, I have the emotional ability to get the authorities involved. On the anniversary of the rape, I had a ceremony in my home. I celebrated with my friends my decision to live my life the way I want too. I am now almost done with treatment altogether. I have ongoing counseling, support through 12 Step Programs, and loving friends. I am transitioning back into the workplace and have plans to finish my degree. I am a different person on the inside; I have a sense of personal power and the ability to deal with my life. I am so grateful for all that you have done for me. Never doubt the work you do, it not only saved my life, but also gave me a life I want to live.
Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for you and your staff. As you know, it is so hard to make that phone call and admit what is going on in your life. But once I did you were so remarkable. I truly leaned on you those first days to get me thru a truly difficult time. If it hadn’t been for you encouragement and guidance, I don’t know what I would have done. You gave me strength and hope. I felt as though you were my friend. Thanks, Thanks, Thanks! You truly have a gift.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Physician's Recovery Network.....One year ago this month {PRN Board Member} came to talk to the leadership team of our small 16 bed hospital about what to do when one of our physicians returned from recovery in a few days....{PRN Board Member} did an excellent job explaining to us the role fo the PRN, the background for physicians and teh complexity of recovery from addiction. He spared nothing even explained to us what our obligations were and were not. We were well informed and understood there would be many challenges ahead for {the returning physician's} practice..... You should be proud of the efforts of everyone who has assisted this {doctor}....I am honored to have been part of this process.