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July 14, 2009

A&E Intervention Bret Cansler

I have been a fan of A&E's Intervention show from the beginning.  To me it is the only "true" reality show on television today in which life is not artificially enhanced by a continuous flow of contrived events.  On Intervention life is allowed to unfold in all the unnatural and natural power of simply living. 

This past Monday's episode about Bret Cansler was a prime example of reality TV in it's poignant depiction to date of adult alcoholism.  A once successful businessman, loving husband and father devolves in a relatively short period of time to a "highly functioning" alcoholic. 

We often hear advocates say that Addiction is an equal opportunity disease but the denial and stigma of our society is so strong that we rarely accept the equality factor of the equation.  In this episode about Bret the raw power of his story stems from the ordinariness of his life, his family and his world.  To the world at large people like Bret present a visage of success behind which lurks the darkness of substance abuse. As the episode progresses we see the darkness emerge as Bret is forced to look at the unmanageability of his life through the eyes of his ex-wife, brother, girlfriend and finally his two children, who are by far the bravest two players in this compelling drama.

In the end the Intervention succeeds and Bret enters treatment willingly with a renewed commitment to make a new beginning with children.  His success is short lived as his life is cut short by esophageal cancer, a direct result of his alcoholism. 

Most would say a sad ending but I do not.  In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous chapter entitled The Family Afterward it says that " this painful past may be of infinite values to other families still struggling with the problem."

Watch the final scene of this episode and decide for yourself.

(Bret's Episode 93

July 14, 2009 at 09:30 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink


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Thank you Galyn,

I had the honor to be at the bedside when a sponsee of mine who succumbed to cirrohsis. When he took his last breath at the age of 36 he had been clean and sober for 6 months...while I ached for his family and friends and was filled with joy for him.

Posted by: Kim | Feb 18, 2010 11:02:48 AM

I agree with you wholeheartedly that it was not a sad ending rather, a beautiful new beginning. A new beginning for Bret and for so many others who lives were impacted and changed by his story. "Divine Intervention" is what I like to call it and not a day goes by that I am not grateful for it, and for him.

Posted by: Galyn Johnson | Feb 15, 2010 2:36:13 PM

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