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by Abigail Van Buren

Don't Wait for an Invitation to Help Someone in Need

DEAR ABBY: Concerning people who are hooked on drugs and/or alcohol, I just read a letter in the San Diego Union from the woman who signed herself, "Broke the Cycle in Dallas." I agree with the writer wholeheartedly, and with your response as well. However, I would like to go one step further: Family members CAN help "someone who doesn't want help" -- someone who is in denial. Denial, and that "false sense of control" we call delusional thinking, creates havoc in relationships. However, this denial can be broken through with a process called Intervention.

I recommend Intervention to anyone who is frustrated by another person's drinking or using. You don't have to wait for someone to "hit bottom," which could ultimately be death.

I am a professional counselor at The McDonald Center for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Treatment at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif. To learn more about Intervention, call a local treatment center -- or call our 24-hour Parent and Teen Helpline: 1-619-458-4357. -- JOHN C. SEAMAN, M.A.

DEAR MR. SEAMAN: Thanks for a potentially lifesaving letter for the thousands of people who are hooked on alcohol and/or drugs but insist they can handle it -- which they cannot.