Imagine that someone you love is so intensely addicted that you truly believe their addiction is going to kill them. You go to bed every night and wake up everyday wondering if they’re still alive. You’ve done everything you can, tried every thing in your power to get them to stop, and nothing has worked. Rehab hasn’t worked, tough love hasn’t worked, being there for them hasn’t worked, and maybe you realize that everything you’re doing to keep them alive might be keeping them sick. You’re so desperate to save their life that you write to the producers of a reality show on a cable network in the hope that they will get the help they need. You know that it’s worked for other people and that the show pays for a quality, long term rehab facility that maybe your family could never afford. This could be the opportunity for them to get clean that you think they might never get again.
You get through the interview and are accepted for the show. Months later the camera crew comes, and it stays for weeks. In a hotel room, you tell your darkest family secrets into a camera with a boom mic hanging above you. You’re forced to answer painful questions that you don’t like to talk about and you let a camera crew record intimate conversations between family members in your own home. You do your regular thing with your addicted loved one while having to pretend that there’s not cameras everywhere and an intervention coming. You are asked to admit the painful and harmful mistakes you’ve made, and you do it in a room with not only your family and close friends, but a camera crew that will broadcast your admissions to millions of viewers of a TV show. You do all of this because you’re trying to saving the life of a person that you love. That’s it, that’s the only reason.
Your loved one goes to treatment, or doesn’t go to treatment, or leaves treatment and relapses. Many months of anxiety later, you see your face in a preview for the next NEW EPISODE. You finally watch your episode, which turns out to be weeks of footage, secrets, and truths distilled down into a 45 minute narrative. Out of your long and painful story that won’t ever be over, they’ve crafted an easily digestible short story with a beginning middle and end. The many hours of talking you did, the conversations you had, the endless interviews you gave – they’re now just a few soundbites taken out of context. The things you thought would be in the show aren’t and what you didn’t think would be in the show is highlighted.
The show’s over and you Google the episode to see what people are saying about you and your family. You find this site.
In other words: BE RESPECTFUL. These people aren’t characters in a fictional TV show, these are real people with real illnesses going through incredibly difficult times. Please have some sympathy and respect for the addicts and their family members, who could very well be reading here. This is not the place to talk shit about people, it’s a place to express support and sympathy for what they’re going through, even when you might not like them or what they’ve done. I wrote more about this here.
If you can’t abide by the above, chances are I won’t publish your comment. I have every right to do that. I try to go through and approve comments once a day, so you may not see it right away (unless you’ve had previous comments approved), and if it doesn’t show up after a few days at most, it’s probably because I didn’t approve it.
I also do not publish comments asking about how an addict is doing if that question has been asked and/or answered already. This has become a bit of an issue – it sure clogs up threads and it’s really annoying to read “How is Kaila doing?” or “Whatever happened to Cristy?” 6 different times in one scroll. I expect everyone to read the comments and search around the site for information on someone before asking for an update.
Please feel free to leave comments that provide a link to a story with more information about the addict/family. I love those. And also feel free to correct me if I have some detail wrong, like age or city or whatever. I’m fine with being corrected.