Thursday, May 8, 2008

I'm addicted to Intervention.

I’ve watched A&E, Discovery Health, and the History Channel for years lusting after biographies, historical reenactments, and medical anomalies. My father and I would sit for hours watching this stuff, filling our enormous brains with interesting concepts and outrageous trivia. I inherited the “watch it until your eyeballs fall out” gene, too, which means I can’t turn away once I’ve started. Flipping through the channels many years ago, I discovered the show Intervention. This show has haunted me ever since.

Last week, while home from work, I had the opportunity to indulge in more television than I’ve had the great fortune of watching in probably seven to eight months. I generally start out with talk shows (which have really lost their meaning over the years), and then proceed to Food Network and then to my favorite form of television…educational dorkery! I consider the show Intervention to be the heart-wrenching component of educational dorkery. It’s reality television, yes, but it’s informative in ways the human mind generally avoids. I literally become sucked into the vortex and cannot stop watching, let alone thinking, about the people featured on this show, how ridiculously strained and empty their lives are, the families, the children, and most importantly the social and cultural impact of lives like this being led somewhere out there.

In order to avoid going into a huge psycho-social breakdown of what I think is *really* going on, I’ll get to the heart of my love for this show. This show, for the people who have had the great fortune of being touched by it (and aside from all the legal hoops, personal strife and nonsense television brings to their lives), is a lesson in emotive love. In one particular story, a mother of six children had not uttered the words “I love you” to her children…EVER. She felt like the social and cultural obligation to say “I love you” was manipulation and relied on her children’s father to impart verbally the love she felt she showed by her actions. And when it came down to it, her withholding was being concealed with intellectual avoidance…she really had just never heard the words from her parents. And it took an Intervention for alcoholism to get her to say the words to her daughter, Jill, and I’m sure subsequently the rest of her children.

In the most gut-wrenching story Tressa, the Olympic-athlete turned lesbian turned meth addict, did everything she possibly could to inspire her family to love her as she was. She worked hard on a farm, did “boy” things, played sports like a professional at an early age, and eventually transferred her feelings of parental disapproval into a righteous addiction. Her family was Biblically opposed to loving her as she was, a big ol’ dyke, and thusly she numbed the feelings of neglect and disappointment with drugs. From what I’ve researched, she is now identifying ambiguously, claiming to possibly even be “asexual”, and is living away from her family who, to this day and even after extensive rehab, refuses to discuss the gay part of her life with her.

I will not, for a second, believe that addiction can be cured with love. But I also refuse to believe that it can’t be helped by it either. I see glimpses of every child I’ve ever known in the people on this program, including myself, and I know that if our lives were up to us and granted full approval and appreciation by the people we love and idolize, that our potential roads to addiction might turn, twist and even knock us off course. Love is a gift, a right, and a necessity. Do not water down the love you have for people in your life with expectation. Love wholly, love clearly, and try your hardest to love unconditionally. There are people in this world who need it...badly.


  1. I love Intervention. They had an all day marathon one Sunday and I watched it ALL day even though I had even seen some of the episodes. I have a psychology degree so that stuff is right up my ally. Love it! Have you ever seen the one with the older guy that is an alcoholic and living on the streets? His family loves him so much and they try to help him. At the end he says he is going to stay sober for his mother and she dies soon after. I cried a LOT during that episode.

  2. I came via Dad Gone mad's Links of Love.

    Very good post. We have all of the same TV interests with the Excpetion in Intervention. I just cant watch it because it is so very gut-wrenching. But you analyzed it perfectly. So much of what screws people up goes back to a lack of love and acceptance.

  3. I loooooove Intervention! It makes me thank my lucky stars for my friend's and husband's unconditional love and support, and for my own strength, as I see a lot of similarities in my upbringing- and I feel I could have easily ended up with one wicked addiction.

  4. doing my accounts? NO!
    reading this blog? YES!!!!!

    touching post.


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