Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Last night we had an intervention with Nicole and her drinking/drug problem. It happened quickly. Gwen gave me a call a few days ago saying Nicole was arrested after getting into a fight at a bar near Lake Chelan. She was charged with disturbing the peace. She called Gwen and was upset. Gwen called mom, Jill and me. Gwen felt Nicole had a drinking problem. She thought an intervention might be necessary when we all arrive in Seattle for Mathew’s high school graduation. Gwen, Jill, mom and I got on the phone and concluded an intervention was the right thing to do. Nicole still lives at home with her parents and she’s 23. She was arrested a few months ago for a DUI. Craig reduced the charge to reckless driving. I’m tough when it comes to personal responsibility. I expect a lot of myself and others. I don’t understand drinking and partying and taking drugs. I’ve never been that way. Nicole isn’t yet ready to give up that lifestyle. In the meantime, her goals and dreams have moved further and further from reality. The latest Hough family crisis escalated when Mathew told Gwen Nicole was worried she was addicted to cocaine. Gwen told me, mom and Jill. We scratched the old plan and decided immediate intervention was necessary. When Nicole arrived home from Lake Chelan Monday night, Gwen, Greg and the boys met with Nicole in the kitchen. “Oh, a family meeting,” Nicole said. Gwen said she thought Nicole needed treatment, but Nicole thought Gwen was overreacting. Nicole didn’t think she had anything wrong. Gwen confronted Nicole with her cocaine use. Nicole said it was purely recreational, maybe ten times total. The meeting ended with Nicole leaving the house.
Mom drove to Gwen’s the next day. The were ready to confront Nicole last night after she came home from her double-shift at her second job (she was fired from her other job). Jill and I got on the phone and put together an action plan for what Gwen and mom had planned to say to Nicole. Basically, Nicole had only one option: she either had to go to treatment for her substance addictions or move out of the house and not have any contact with the family until she was ready for treatment. It was not a discussion, but a decision. It’s great to have Jill as a professional guiding us through this process.
Nicole came home last night at around 9:45. I three-way-phoned Gwen and Jill and could already hear mom talking with Nicole using very strong, very stern language. Listening to Nicole without seeing her body language or being in the same room with her was truly incredible. Her voice was flat, almost monotone. She was certain she did not have any issues of any kind. She did not have a drinking problem or drug problem. She absolutely was not going to treatment. Then Jill spoke with her. She was firm, clinical and matter-of-fact. She was harsh. Then I was asked to speak. I said I completely agreed with Jill. I also said any member of this family who uses drugs is really doomed given the history of alcohol abuse in this family. I mentioned how from day one I have been a major cheerleader and supporter of Nicole, that she has had lots of opportunities, and yet, if she does not get treatment I will not interact with her until she does so. I was extreme and firm. I sounded like Dad, which might not be the best thing. Mom then spoke again, then Gwen. Nicole then left the room to pack a bag and leave. She plans to move out by Thursday. Her plan is to stay out of our lives for a year and show us all that she can make something of her life. I hold zero hope for her. Not with drugs and alcohol in her life. No way. She wants to party. That’s what she wants to go. What a waste.
Jill and I stayed on the phone another 45 minutes. Mom was extremely upset. I hadn’t heard mom cry that loudly in years...if ever. She was simply devastated. It was so much harder to be there in person than over the phone. I was all right, though I’m obviously saddened by the choices Nicole has made and how difficult her life will become. She has now become a drug addict and alcoholic. She was always a candidate for heading down the wrong road. We all knew this. I think that’s why we all gave her so much love. We knew she’d need it. In a way, it’s not surprising this is where she is. My favorite memories of Nicole were when she was at Jill and Chris’s wedding. She was so helpful and in such a good place. What that her senior year? I also loved watching her play softball. She was like me and would get so angry at herself if she didn’t perform well. Those times seem far away. Life can be harsh and oddly predictable. Nicole should have done better for herself. I wish her luck in this relentlessly indifferent world.

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