Even over the phone, I could tell that the parents were having a great deal of difficulty admitting to these truths, especially to a stranger. I explained the risks involved in doing an intervention, and that was when Lisa, Gerry’s mother, broke down and left Pat on the phone with Alex and me. She came back on a few minutes later.
Upon further discussion, I decided that an intervention could be very helpful in this situation. The hardest part of the case from a professional standpoint, however, was deciding on a particular diagnosis to address during the intervention. Typically, you give the gift of treatment to someone in answer to his addiction, but in this case, Gerry had so many addictions that it was difficult to tell which one was predominant. This is a sensitive area for the intervention specialist, for the addict may be willing to acknowledge only one particular addiction.
We decided to cite his addiction to alcohol and cocaine as a trend in excessiveness that led him to extreme impulsive behavior. We also wanted to be careful not to expose Gerry’s activities to his employer, because we were not sure how much he knew about the other excessive behavior, keeping in mind that, once in treatment, more would be revealed. We set a date for the following Tuesday. I would fly into La Guardia Airport Monday to prepare the family.
The situation sounded normal enough, but as it turned out, that weekend had started one of the worst storms New York had seen in four years, and of course, coming from the Golden State, my overcoat was the closest I had to winter attire. It was a late flight delayed further, since we circled the airport waiting for the runway to be cleared. I made it to the hotel only to find there had been a clerical error—my room had been given to someone else. Since the weather had delayed so many flights, the hotel was now booked to capacity. I was starving, tired, frozen and not my usual cheerful self. Eventually, I got a room, or rather, a closet. It must have been a hideaway room for one of the employees, but it had a bed and blankets, and once I resigned myself to the fact that there were no coffee shops or snack bars or restaurants open anywhere within walking distance, I decided it would do just fine.