Is it? Is it wrong to drink Miller Lite after Miller Lite as I watch meth heads struggle with the decision to go into treatment?
Maybe it is. But if it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right.
I got sucked into the A&E program about addicts facing a make-or-break decision to go to rehab when it first started airing in 2005. The first episode I watched featured nasal-voiced whiner and gambling addict Gabe, who’d stolen money from his own parents to fund his habit. I could feel myself reaching for the phone to make an appointment to get my tubes tied after that one. But I couldn’t reach for the remote.
The problem with “Intervention” is that if you start watching it, you must finish watching it. You find you must discover what happened to these people, even if it’s bad, even as you so desperately hope for happy endings for this collection of drunks, crack addicts, speed freaks, compulsive shoppers and meth heads. Even if you end up tearing up a little as the familiar/haunting guitar music/chorus starts playing and you find out that “Julie has been sober since August 2006” or “Jake was asked to leave the treatment facility after three days because he’d acted in an aggressive manner toward fellow residents.”
My favorite interventionist is Candy Finnigan. You can tell that broad has taken on some tough ass living and come out the other side alive. She’s a former addict, and it shows, but I think that’s good. I think you want to have someone who has stuck a needle in her vein in a dirty Greyhound bus station bathroom to be laying down the law for you. Ken Seeley is also a former addict, and that probably wins points with the junkies. Apparently interventionist Jeff VanVonderven was never strung out himself, but he could probably scare you into submitting to rehab with his huge, hulking figure and his take-no-prisoners approach.
I don’t remember a lot of the addicts’ names, but I do remember the stories. The lesbian softball player whose addiction probably started when her fundamentalist parents rejected her sexuality. The bulimic blonde who was earning money as an exotic dancer. The pain pill popper whose preteen daughter stood up to her more eloquently than most adults could have ever done. The drug addict who lived in her dad’s guest house and stripped naked for the camera and threw her belongings everywhere like a caged monkey. (Scaaaary!!!)
Over beers last weekend, my friend Jacqueline suggested that a lot of the female addicts end up screwy because their mothers are fat and their fathers put too much importance on their daughters’ successes and looks. Interesting theory. I offer the possibility that most of the kids turn out to be fucked up because their parents never talked about drugs and alcohol with their kids and in a realistic way. We could both be wrong, but either way, I’m not going to stop watching “Intervention.” Maybe it’s because it makes me feel better about my own relatively minor drinking habit. Maybe it’s because I need a good cry every once in a while. And maybe it’s because I need one more reason to put off having kids.
Now somebody get me another Miller Lite. – Jennifer Mathieu