The process of intervention is different for everyone, but a common feature of every situation is fear – fear that it won’t work, fear that you won’t be heard, fear that your loved one won’t really get the help they need. Here are the words of some people that faced those fears, and found help.
“Without reservation I would refer anyone (and have) to Joyce. Without Joyce’s calm professionalism my family would not have survived our loved one’s addiction. She knew when to guide and when to give us space. Addiction doesn’t happen overnight and the road to recovery isn’t a short one. Having a true professional in our corner was a lifeline. Joyce, thank you for giving us back our family member. “
—Deborah T., Vashon, WA
“Joyce Sundin saves lives…saves families. I was involved in two interventions, both expertly orchestrated and lead by Joyce. Both of these interventions were for family members. Both of these interventions were successful and both family members received the treatment that they needed at the appropriate treatment centers. My personal experience with any type of addiction (alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both) is that the members of a family can become so overwhelmed, so confused, and so co-dependent that they are unabled to make sense out of the illness and will try anything and everything to “fix” the problem. Joyce was the voice of reason and became my clear-thinking coach who was there for me, and for my family. Let’s face it…scheduling an intervention is like herding cats! The emotional component, the denial, the required secrecy and just plain getting 10-12 people together in the same spot at the same time can be a task in itself. If you are facing the possibility of an intervention…quite honesty….you have been on an emotional and painful roller coaster ride for a very long time…and relief is what you are seeking. Joyce totally understands your pain…but more importantly, she understands the process and the time that it takes to put an intervention together to ensure the maximum possibility for a successful outcome. Would I recommend Joyce to other families seeking expert guidance? Absolutely and without any reservations. She is a master.”
—Gretchen T., Seattle, WA
“I highly recommend Joyce Sundin to families who have given up hope, and / or are struggling to know what to do with their loved-one who “just isn’t themselves anymore.” When addiction struck our family, Joyce was an advocate for us and a translator to our addict. She was extremely professional, thoughtful and thorough. She helped us identify the problem, navigate through the darkness (and BS), and taught us the tactics to use that eventually helped my sister embrace recovery. Thanks to patience and persistence, and with Joyce’s assistance, my family has found peace and healing again.”
—Courtney C., Seattle, WA
“Joyce facilitated my intervention many years ago and I am pleased to say she was fabulous. Her communication with both myself and my family went beyond the norm and her follow up was impressive. Her knowledge of her field is without question and her professionalism is top notch. I would highly recommend Joyce.”
—Alison M., Seattle, WA
“Don’t give up hope if you have a loved one that has an issue with addiction. As a mom, I wanted to know that I had done everything I could to help my son, and finding Joyce was the support we needed. What I realized is that we (the family) needed as much help as my son. She helped us understand this powerful disease and guided us through a difficult process of loving our son through wellness. We highly recommend Joyce if you or a loved one is suffering. She is a powerful communicator and is able to bring everyone together with the intervention process. She also can help you find the recovery experts that will best suit your situation. We are very grateful to have found hope through Joyce’s expert advice, guidance and resource connections.”
“Joyce Sundin has worked with our extended family for over ten years. During that time she has successfully facilitated two interventions, as well as provided amazing pre and post care for everyone involved. An intervention is stressful at best. Joyce was clear, direct and sensitive in preparing us for the events. During the actual interventions she was extremely professional, knowing when to let the family lead, and when to step in and give direction. Both interventions were very successful (for all involved). Even though her professional obligation to us ended a long time ago, she has been there to advise and support us in a heartbeat. Recently, my sister relapsed after experiencing seven years of sobriety. Joyce effectively communicated with her, while guiding the rest of us through this challenging time. Joyce’s grasp and comprehension of the disease of addiction is extensive. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of treatment centers, as well as other options, throughout the country. I can’t recommend Joyce Sundin enough. She has been instrumental in saving our family member’s lives.”
—Kathleen K., Ketchum, ID
I am writing to thank you for your participation in the intervention you helped us go through with my Mother on October 1st 2005. I was apprehensive about “intervention” at first. I was relieved that you said we start with the love letters. While it was a tough process for our family to go through, I am thankful for your professional guidance. I believe you have the correct approach and chose the proper facility for our situation.
I saw on your website about 90% of the people that come into see you are convinced to go in for help. I wanted to let you know that in our case we have seen a 100% success rate. My mother has been sober for 1 and ½ years. I think she looks 10 years younger so I believe her when she says she feels much better. She seems to have made a commitment to stay feeling better from now on.
Thank you Joyce, for the good work you do.
“Joyce Sundin was a miracle for me. Once we made contact and determined to do an intervention for my husband, Joyce went through all the details that were necessary to have it be successful. It is a very stressful time for all the family members, but particularly for the family member organizing the intervention. She educated the family on the disease in our meetings prior to the intervention, which was a real eye opener. My husband, Ian, is a very strong salesman and Joyce was the perfect person to convince him to go to treatment. In September, it will be six years that he is sober.”
“Last year, when I found out my daughter was addicted to crystal meth, I didn’t know where to turn. I was frantically making phone calls, and had a list of interventionists to start with. I made many calls, left many messages, but I needed the help now. Joyce was the only one who answered the phone, and I was able to speak to her right away. From then on, Joyce became my family’s saving grace. Not only did she educate us on the disease of addiction, but she was available every step of the way, at any time of day or night. She had many creative ideas and ways to get through to my daughter, that we would have never thought of on our own. Joyce was able to get my daughter into treatment right away, with no wait time, that turned out to be a key factor in her recovery. When my daughter left her two treatment facilities before she had completed the program, Joyce was able to help our family guide her to another facility, where she ended up successfully completing the program. Now that my daughter is in early recovery, Joyce is still available for advice and guidance, which is still very important, and an integral part of the process. Joyce really connects with families and individuals, and is a caring and compassionate person, who puts her heart and soul into her work. I feel that without Joyce’s help, we probably would have lost my precious daughter. Joyce’s services have proven to be priceless, and I am grateful that some “higher power” led us to her.”
“Please use the poem however you would like. I guess you can use my name. I don’t really want to hide anything. I just know that I was in a very dark and dreary place when I wrote that. Very little hope and absolutely no direction as to what to do for my son. Thank you for all you do for everyone. You made a horrible situation with this addiction stuff, workable.”
My little boy
With big blue eyes
Heart of a lamb
The smiles, adventures
Carefree and fun
Struggles with his self worth
Second best…not in my book
Drugs run through
Anger shrouds the light
Love can’t penetrate
Eyes that pierce the heart and soul
Evil permeates, takes control
Helpless, total loss
Numbness, tears, fear
The prayers are constant
They feel hollow, like no one’s listening
I’m reaching deep to my heart
My beliefs – put your armour on
Pick up my baby in the Hands
Where to find the lost
Let go, let God
—by Sandra Buckley
I am writing to thank you for the great job you’ve done on our intervention with my daughter. Over the last eight years we have done several interventions. None of which have been like this experience; none having the success this one has. Your level of work is of the highest quality and your skill in each situation was excellent. I have high respect for the Association of Intervention Specialists Credentialing Board to which you belong. You were a wealth of information informing us on options we were not aware of like Discreet Transport Company, and rehabilitation centers throughout the United States that you’ve checked out personally. I was very impressed with your personal choice of rehab for my daughter. It’s proven to be the exact place she needs to be. They are quite familiar with her habits and struggles there while lovingly and respectfully helping her to recover. In my opinion these are the things one should be able to rely on when working with a professional like yourself. What I was not expecting was your accompaniment to the streets of Los Angeles to look for and get my little rough child. I did not expect you to have such compassion for my child and as I held her for the first time in months, while you and your colleague dealt with the issues of warrants for her arrest, how to get her to Texas, and lack of ID, I was free to sit as close to her as I could, hold her, smell her, stroke her hair, and hear her voice in my ear as she spoke with me. I must admit it was a difficult trip for me, but the hardest part of all was to let go of this little rough child after finely getting her in my arms. Only to you Joyce, would I have ever let her go. Standing there on the side of that little private runway, waving as your plane went by lifting into the sky I knew you would take the best of care with my most valuable possession, my daughter. You certainly don’t need me to tell you that you are qualified and skilled in your field and that is what makes you so successful at what you do, but what makes you the best at what you do is your respect for the addict, your compassion, and particularly your heart.
In loving Friendship,
“16 years ago, I tried to carefully let Joyce understand that an Intervention would not work on my late stage chronic alcoholic husband. He would throw chairs at our three children, his two sisters, one brother-in-law, a friend and me and declare that we were all nuts, then continue drinking.
Three days before the intervention occurred I apologized to Joyce, that I had wasted her time because my husband had not had a drink in 20 days, thirteen hours and 43 minutes. What was I thinking that I thought there was a problem after 10 years of good day, bad day, good day, bad day, good day, good day, bad day, bad day, bad day?
Also, my oldest son was not liking the whole scenario that would occur. Who were we to judge another? We all sometimes eat too much, or overindulge-why fingering his dad into a corner? As I look back, I see the genius behind Joyce. Without having to condescend in any way whatsoever, Joyce met each of us at our individual toxic and codependent level. I did not have the clarity to recognize that our oldest son had inherited the disease of alcoholism. She handled my oldest son beautifully. Joyce asked me, how much “wonderful” did I have in my marriage right now? I admitted the wonderful was getting smaller. To which she stated, “If you continue to do nothing, what you have will get smaller and smaller and the disease will grow larger and larger.”
I remember that day so clearly I could explain in detail how shallowly I was breathing.
My husband did not throw chairs. Each objection my husband raised was answered in a calm and wise response. To my surprise my husband agreed to treatment.
Joyce was such a professional throughout the entire group session. While transporting him to treatment his best friend and I stopped at a bar to watch him have a double vodka on the rocks, before checking into treatment. My husband spilled tears into his drink as he saw what a risk we all took and how much we all loved him to hold an Intervention. He got it that it came from a whole lot of love. He knew we were afraid he would die. He had a tolerance break and was late stage chronic. His liver was losing its ability to function. After one drink he would slur his words.
I owe a debt of gratitude to Joyce. She cared enough to make sure I understood about the disease and how my going to Al-anon would help his sobriety and my sanity.
My husband now has 16 years of continuous sobriety. He and our son have been going to AA together every Thursday night for 5 years. (My son got a DUI and after 2 years of court ordered AA meetings and having watched his dad be sober (at the time for 11 years) he “gets it”. There is no happily ever after to sobriety. But the rewards are great.
Seven days into treatment my husband had a light bulb moment: “I am an alcoholic”. Two weeks into his treatment I visited him. His eyes were clear, he held me and said ‘Thank you for saving my life.'”
“More than a year ago, my family worked with Joyce Sundin to plan and conduct an intervention with my husband of 35 years. He was an active alcoholic who was also abusing prescription drugs. I was caught up in the co-dependency that allows problems to continue without resolution. I had worked with Joyce before and had considered an intervention but felt hopeless that it would be effective. After a crisis situation when I knew changes were necessary, I contacted Joyce and we began the process of an intervention. That evening we had a family meeting in her office, inviting family members in multiple states to join us by telephone conferencing. We developed a plan and two days later, distant relatives arrived and we held the intervention. With Joyce’s assistance we secured immediate admission to an excellent longer-term treatment facility. My husband agreed to enter treatment and was admitted that afternoon. It all worked as smoothly as possible and we credit Joyce’s expertise, professionalism and genuine support and caring for all of our family in making this a successful endeavor.
My husband remained in treatment for six weeks and the ‘love letters’ Joyce invited us to write for the intervention were a part of his treatment program. She was available to help problem solve details related to his return to Seattle and my plan for us to live apart for a while. She led us through a re-entry meeting that again included distant relatives by telephone as well as those of us in the area. We welcomed my husband back and offered our support to him in maintaining his sobriety. We also shared our expectations and our unwillingness to support him in any way if he began to drink again. He told us what he needed from us and how he felt about the entire process. There were tears of hope and joy and we were off to a good start in re-building our lives.
Joyce’s respect for all of us, including my husband, during this entire process was a gift that kept us focused on the hope we had for the future. I knew I could call her about anything – my fears, questions, suggestions – and she would provide support. I appreciated knowing that she was in contact with the treatment facility. Now, more than a year later, my husband remains in recovery, we are living together and recently welcomed our first grandchild into the family. We still take one day at a time but thanks to Joyce’s work with us as a catalyst for change, we are growing and realizing hopes that seemed impossible before.”