Saturday, 13 October 2012

A constant reminder

I almost never miss an episode of Intervention.

After Matthew died, I stopped watching it for a full year. One of our last conversations became heated because I’d said the wrong thing. I’m sorry now that I didn’t push past the discomfort of having him so angry at me. I wished I’d hung on, gotten to the softer side of it; maybe opened him up a bit.

On the surface my comment was so innocent. He was telling me about a new friend staying with him, and the situation reminded me of something I’d seen on Intervention the night before so I told him about the episode.

Inside though, the more he described their relationship, the more my panic rose.

On some subconscious level I must have brought up the show on purpose; a passive aggressive confrontation.

I wish I’d been more forceful with my opinions, more insistent that he get help. I wish I’d not let him talk me out of taking things more seriously every single time something like that happened.

I know I wanted to believe there was nothing I could do to help him.

It’s not that I like the stories – I watch with bated breath every week. It’s not a mindless escape like Parenthood or Law and Order. I watch out of fear. A need to know that there is a reason things turn out the way they do. I wait for that part of the show, after they’ve cursorily described the addiction, exposed a few clips of the person using; the part where they go back to the beginning.

The history.

The mother usually says something like, the happiest day of my life was when she was born. She was the sweetest most beautiful baby and I could rarely get through the grocery store without people stopping me to comment how adorable she was. Then they get to the parents’ relationship, how things were blissful at the beginning and a few years later one of the parents start drinking or drugging again. Everything changes.

I look for this part. I need it. It’s when I breathe a sigh of relief. It confirms for me that there was a reason the addict went down the road they did. They didn’t just end up like this for nothing. It gives me some hope.

I know that sounds demented.

The story doesn’t always go this way though. Sometimes the person hooked on booze or meth is suffering from a mental illness, something no one ever diagnosed them with. I find this as heartbreaking as when one of their parents wrecked their childhood with their addictions.

I won’t pretend to know how an addiction can impact the person directly afflicted. It’s easy for me to stop drinking after one or two glasses of wine. I don’t like feeling drunk or out of control especially since I’ve had my boys. Life rarely seems unbearable. I can mostly handle it even if I don’t always like it.

I know so many people who aren't as fortunate. Maybe that's why I hardly ever miss Intervention. Maybe it's not about me.

We went to see Hotel Transylvania  in full costume today. These are last year's getups and although this year Naveen will trick-or-treat as a monkey and Deaglan a knight, they both insisted on these. 

To all of my blogging buddies, I know I've been a terrible friend. I'll be around to see what you've been up to soon!


  1. I have mixed feelings about a show based on interventions. On the one hand, if it gives hope and motivates people to try to do something, that is to the good. On the other hand, so very, very often an intervention does no good at all and I worry that people will blame themselves for not trying harder. The addict, ultimately, has to be the one entirely responsible for choosing to end an addiction. It never works (for any disorder, not just addiction) if the person with the disorder isn't the one who cares most about getting well.

  2. When I was still back in the States I used to watch this show all the time. I know how you feel.

  3. Kim, some of your writing is so heartbreaking. I don't pretend to know what you're going through (or have gone through)...just (hugs) for you.

  4. Dearest Kim,
    I still sense you carrying a load of guilt over Matthew. My wish for you is to reach a place where you can unburden yourself.

    My experience is that I have
    watched one episode of Intervention and couldn't look at another one. It's too painful. As someone whose childhood was wrecked by an addicted parent, I just can't wrap my head around the selfishness of the addict. Maybe selfish is too a strong word. But they do seem oblivious to the pain they inflict on family and friends. My dad is an addict who was diagnosed with mental illness only after he was in court-appointed rehab. I know he can't help that he's mentally ill. But he prefers street drugs to clinical therapy and treatment. It's like some addicts don't want to get well. Those that do, have to want it for themselves (again, it's a selfish disease) not because family or friends put them up to it.

  5. Love the boys in their costumes. We don't go anywhere without some kind of super hero get up these days. I've been trying to convince the kids that even Superman and Wonder Woman had secret identities and needed to wear regular clothes once in a while.

  6. Wow...Thanks for sharing and giving me food for thought... I'm learning that we ALL have a story.

    Your boys make me want to reach out and hug them! Precious...



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