I’m writing this because it occurred to me that you might like to who I am and why I’m so into this Intervention show that I made a friggin website about it. Here are my stories:
My mother was a heroin addict until she was 8 months pregnant with me. I was born a baby addicted to heroin. I’ve been told that if I ever do the drug I will be immediately addicted. This has adequately scared me away from ever doing heroin and I consider myself lucky.
After I was born my mom switched to alcohol and cocaine until she found meth in the late 80’s, which she continues to use today at age 65.
Last year I watched my father die of liver cancer from alcoholism. I moved to his town to take care of him for the last 6 months of his life. I watched him continue to drink a case of beer everyday, even when he was yellow with jaundice and acted more like someone with advanced dementia than cancer. I was with him when he died.
Mother, father, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. Addiction is literally in my blood. I was raised deep in it, I understand it more than I understand most things, and I experience it myself every day. There is nothing that has affected my relationships and the choices I make more than addiction has.
I come from a small town in Washington State that is primarily known for producing Kurt Cobain. It’s also known for a dramatic de-population due to meth. I could call my hometown dead, and a quick drive through downtown would make that point, but it’s not dead. It may be populated almost exclusively by meth heads and heroin addicts, but those people are alive and they’re my people. They’re addicts who need help. They are my family and old friends and the family and friends of all the people I know there.
I left there more than 20 years ago, when the meth epidemic was just starting to take hold. Since then, I’ve faced my own addiction battles. In my 20’s I developed the skill/affliction called functional alcoholism. I drank more than any person should ever drink while still making it to work everyday. I thought that drunk me was the real me, my identity was contingent upon being drunk. One especially hungover Saturday morning I had the epiphany that all the pain I was experiencing was simply the cost of drinking. I deserved it. This was the price I had to pay for drinking the way I did. And I wondered if what I got from drinking was worth the cost.
I voluntarily went into treatment on Christmas Eve in 2000 because my plan was to drink myself into oblivion for the holiday season. I decided that rehab would be a better idea than drinking myself to death. It was a good decision.
I was sober for almost 7 years. I was fully in the program, had a sponsor, started meetings for women new to recovery, followed the steps to a tee. I went back to school and got my degree, with honors. I wrote essays that won awards. I started making art that I enjoyed making and people enjoyed seeing. I knew that I didn’t need alcohol to be the best me. I became that productive, smart, creative me that I always wanted to be. I was so far removed from who I thought I was when I was drinking and my identity was no longer contingent on being a drinker. I had found a way, I was happy.
My mother told me she wanted to kick meth. I went up there to help her through withdrawals. We got through them, she started using again a few weeks later. As soon I got home from that trip I started thinking that drinking a cider would be no big deal, I could probably drink like a regular person now right? I mean I hadn’t drank in almost 7 years, of course I could have a cider and it wouldn’t change anything. I would still be in recovery, it would just be a relapse. I would stop after that one cider. And if not, I wouldn’t drink the next day or anything. And if I did, I would never ever drink like I did before. I’d never be that person again. I had conquered alcoholism! This would not affect me. I get to be a regular person now.
So eight years ago I bought a 6-pack of cider. I haven’t stopped drinking since. I’m once again a functional alcoholic. I’m much better at it now, but I can’t deny the grip alcohol has on me.
I’ve been on most sides of addiction. There’s a reason why I watch this show, there’s a reason why I feel the need to document it. It’s not because I want to see people at their worst, exploited, semi-consciously performing for the reality cameras. It’s because the addicts and the families on Intervention are people I strongly relate to in ways that I can’t even explain. It’s because Intervention is a show that actually saves those peoples’ lives.
I know that I’m not the only one with a complicated relationship to addiction that obsessively watches Intervention. That’s why this site exists.