Monday, October 27, 2008

Intervention insight

I watch the show Intervention on A&E here and there. I've honestly learned alot about addictive personalities and how to deal with them, and that's been helpful in many ways actually. It's a disturbing show, I admit, and often times hard to watch people and their families endure addictions, but the intervention events are amazing. They don't always bring the outcome the family wants, but often they are successful.

This week, there was an episode that I found interesting. But one line caught my attention in a very sharp way. Jeff, the interventionist, asked the family this, as they were preparing for what their daughter's response might be...

Are you willing to have her hate you for the rest of her life as long as she gets better? If it's neat, great. If it's messy, fine. But we're going to do what we have to help her get better. Even if it hurts to walk away.

I used the rewind on my DVR about 3 times to listen to this again. What an amazing choice for parents, sisters, grandparents, and friends! Can you do what's best for her in the end, even if it means that she may hate you for doing it?

It might mean cutting her off. It might mean not responding to her calls when she is desperate. It might mean not bailing her out of really unpleasant situations. All horrible options, but in these situations, it's often necessary to get the addict to address their problem head-on.

This doesn't just apply to addicts. Addiction is most often due to an inability to cope with difficult situations or old wounds unhealed. Those circumstances can manifest in alot of ways prior to addiction, or at least an *obvious* addiction.

I have had to make a couple of horribly tough decisions like this, though not for quite the same reasons as on the show. It hurts, like no other hurt, but in my case, it was necessary and thankfully successful.

Sometimes we have to be tough to help. It's not fair, but it's true. Consider it once more...
Are you willing to have her hate you for the rest of her life as long as she gets better? If it's neat, great. If it's messy, fine. But we're going to do what we have to help her get better. Even if it hurts to walk away.


  1. hmm...those are words to ponder for sure. I often think like that at a very simplistic level when parenting - am a willing to be "hated" for a moment in hopes that the kids will gain a greater understanding or their character in the end will be molded into something better. Tough love is tough and I am sure I will have harder instances to deal with as the kids get older. I know God deals with me in this way a lot!

  2. Holy Moly does this hit close to home. I had the awful experience of doing just that with my own father. We literally told him he had to get help or he had to leave. He decided to get help at Teen Challenge, a Christian substance abuse facility. It's been a long road, but his complete restoration at the end of this process will be worth it.

    The hardest part about the whole thing is that I felt like I had to be a parent to my own parent.....That's been rough.

  3. i watch that show from time to time and other shows as well and you see parents being enablers, and i often can't believe what i am seeing. but your post puts things in perspective a little bit better for me. it would be incredibly hard to truly give tough love. it isn't always easy to do the right thing...especially when it involves someone you really care about and don't want them to dislike you.

  4. This is a show I hate to watch it always makes me cry but for some reason I can't shut it off. Well I know the reason. I walked away. Left a 3 year old baby girl screaming my name and called protective services and her family. Her, being my best friend in the world. I learned one thing. The ugly addiction monster can take away even the finest of the finest people. Luckily she doesn't hate me. She took the help that day and has never looked back and doing fantastic 10 years later. :) I thought she'd hate me and didn't care because me helping her was enabling her. Probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.


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