Bruce Perkins Intervention

It's About Love

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 by John Carlson

Source: The Muncie Star Press

Bruce Perkins Helps Friends and Families of Addicts With Intervention

Is love stronger than the debilitating effects of drugs or alcohol to damage both the people addicted to them and their unfortunate families? Bruce Perkins has a succinct answer: Yes.

'It's the power of a group that cares for and loves the addict, that can break their wall of denial and help them get the help they need," said the 55-year-old Perkins, a tall man of lanky build with longish white hair and a narrow goatee that splits his chin.

This day he was seated in the home office from which he runs Perkins Counseling & Intervention, a comfortable room with an assortment of plants and ranks of diplomas hanging on one wall. On more than 1,500 occasions since 1983, however, his work has taken him into foreign settings, organizing the encounters that families hope will lead to the eventual recovery of their loved ones.

For those friends and family members who believe such intervention is the last resort, Perkins has reassuring words.

"Eighty to ninety percent (of addicts) will seek help the day of the intervention," he said. "Of those who are left, many will go afterward."

A Kentuckian who spent 20 years working here for the Middletown Center for Chemical Dependency, Perkins has dealt with all manner of addicts in his years of practice. As he spoke with a visitor, he was interrupted by a phone call from a woman whose 44-year-old son was facing death from alcoholism, a woman who had finally been urged to call him.

"She was in tears," said the St. Mary's College graduate, who also holds a master's degree from Ball State University. "She said, 'Someone just told me there's hope."

People who are the subject of interventions run the gamut of ages.

"I've intervened on kids who are 15 years old," he said, noting that young addicts he has encounted have also included straight-A students. Similarly, the older addicts he encounters would likely surprise casual observers.

"The majority of them are people who are gainfully employed, have nice homes, gorgeous kids," said Perkins, whose decision to pursue a career in family counseling came when he was in high school. "The neighbor next door would probably consider them the citizen of the year."

But behind those closed doors, he said, that that addict's devastating effect on the family manifests itself.

In working to resolved the problem, he said, one must first forget a popular myth that says you can't help someone until they want help.

"You can," Perkins said, forcefully, "and it's called intervention."

When that decision is reached, he puts together a team that can include children, parents, friends, ministers, and others who are united by love for the addict and willingness to work for the person's recovery. The group spends a day planning the intervention, a task which included discussing fears and concerns and listing the reasons they care for that person.

"They go through quite a few Kleenexes just writing the list," Perkins said.

When the intervention is finally made, it is not confrontational. The words he uses to describe include low-key, gentle, loving, orderly, supporting, and calm.

"That's my style," said Perkins, who is a member of the Association of Intervention Specialists. "It's about love...You don't back alcohol and drug addicts into corners."

As a rule, he added, the sessions last two hours or less. Besides being positively received, they can be surprising.

"I've walked in and people have said, "What took you so long?" he recalled.

Whatever the immediate outcome of the session, Perkins added, he considers each one a success for several reasons.

Those reasons include the fact that the family develops a unified front, create out of love, and can begin their own recovery process, that they can begin to share their deepest feelings, and that the addicts gains insight into how much they are loved.

On the topic of sharing some love, Perkins said he has been gratified to hear from former addicts, now clean and successful, who have thanked him fully 20 years after their interventions.

"They give me annual check-ups," he said with a smile that showed deep appreciation for their comments."

Service Area

Image of the midwest

Perkins Intervention's main service areas are in Indiana and surrounding states, including Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Bloomington, LaFayette, or Muncie, IN, Louisville, KY, Cincinnati, OH or Eastern IL or Southern Michigan. Occasionally, there is a need to travel to one coast or the other, particularly Florida. If Bruce cannot travel or is already booked for the time you want, he can and does recommend other intervention specialists.

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