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Kathy Knechtges

Kathy Knechtges
Birthday
December 25
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Writer and meditator, with an Independent bent. Have written for California and Midwest publications. Interests are the loss of the middle class, American manufacturing, unions, immigration, and the welfare of families and children.

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Salon.com
APRIL 14, 2011 9:05AM

"Intervention" -- Watch Them Choose Their Life Or Death

Rate: 7 Flag

"Intervention"  on cable channels A&E and Lifetime, is one of the most powerful spectacles of human nature and wisdom that you will ever witness.

A substance abuse addict agrees to be in a documentary about the abuse. Secretly, their family is arranging with a professional to confront them in a no nonsense manner but with love, and offer free immediate residential treatment.

The addicts tell us about their lives, and they appear chaotic, ill and obviously out of their minds. Their lives are falling apart, and many are near death or severe disaster. Yet they are not aware of it. It is someone else's fault, or they can get a grip on it on their own.

There is a wide body of professional knowledge now on how to treat substance abuse. No one should attempt it on their own because it is way to0 complicated for amateurs. The family can often make the situation worse by "loving the addict to death" as they call it.

 Thinking that they are going to a last interview, the addict walks into a circle of their closest family and friends and a professional interventionist.

In almost every case, every family member breaks down and weeps from despair, sorrow, worry and total exhaustion. The life of the addict literally hangs in the balance because it has gotten to the point that the abuse is about to take their life and destroy everything that they have. Yet at this point many addicts will still refuse help, and be angry and accusatory, still in the grips of a true illness.

Most are talked into treatment, often under threat of losing their current home and family if they do not go into treatment.

 The show then reveals them after a couple months of treatment. They are visibly healthy, and have regained their sanity and insight into their situation.

At the end of the show it is revealed whether they have been able to keep their recovery after the residential treatment, or have slipped back onto the road to their death. It can go either way. Powerful, powerful stuff.

I see parallels to many problems of life. For example, no one wants to admit that they have a psychiatric problem, or that a family member has one. The person often is literally not aware that they are sick, and there is a downward spiral just as severe as that of a hopeless addict.

People who are in a bad relationship or have an abusive family, too, often refuse to see it. It is too painful.

But denial kills. Problems denied do not go away. They grow steadily worse.

But the agonizing truth shall set you free. -- People can find their way back to joy and complete triumph.

Author tags:

alcoholism, family, denial

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Terri loves this show and I watch it sometimes, often as I write. I like the premise and also they don't claim to have a 100% success rate. There is no such thing. Some people cannot be helped. It's just a fact of life. Great Post!
I agree with you. The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. Only then will you truly be open to help. I've never watched the show, but I've seen it in real life with my son, David. Thankfully, he asked for help and got it. Needless to say, lots of prayers came his way also. Today, at 23, he is doing well, but with an addict, you always have to be on guard. It's a sobering thought.
I'm not familiar with the show as I've given up on TV, but I agree with your basic premise, Kathy. Denial of any problem negates the hope and solution to dealing with it. We can help what we accept and move on from there .

♥R
I've seen that show just one time - and that episode plays in my head often. very powerful stuff. The instesting thing about this post was this - I was thinking about physical/emotional abuse issues of family members before you even wrote of it. I am very glad that you threw that in. Those types of "sicknesses" are even more frequent and are equally as damaging.
This is the only reality type show I ever watched. Sometimes I did have to turn it off because it was painful stuff. I don't know if the show has ever kept anyone from using but it definitely doesn't gloss over how bad addiction is and the devastating effects it has on the whole family.
It is wonderful that people can come together so decisively to provide this kind of intervention. I wonder if could happen more often outside the context of a television show.