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October 13, 2009

A&E's Intervention - Follow Up Allison

I have written before of my admiration for A&E's Intervention, the only true reality show on television today.  Their courage to show the devastating effects of the disease of addiction on addicts, their friends and their family members in a frank and brutally honest manner garnered them an Emmy this year as the 2009 Outstanding Reality Program.  For me one the most important successes of this show is that it helps demystify and provide insight to the addiction continuum of use...abuse...addiction...treatment and recovery.  Intervention accomplishes this through their award winning format of not only the personal stories of family interventions on addicts and alcoholics but "Follow-Up" episodes that update their burgeoning legions of fans on what happens post intervention/treatment in recovery.

Last weeks Follow-Up segment on "Allison", who suffers from an addiction to inhaling computer duster, was a poignant example that just because an addict or alcoholic is in recovery their daily struggle has not ended.  More importantly the same is also true for their family members. Addict behaviors persist long after using stops just as enabling and denial can continue for those who care for the addict.  To be successful both addict and family members alike must use the tools they have learned to continue in their recovery.  Further the process of recovery is individual and proceeds at it's own rate and rarely, if ever, is the addict and family member at the same place at any given point in time.  It doesn't necessary mean that one is working harder than the other but rather the challenges of recovery are different for each individual.

The recent "Follow-Up Allison" episode on A&E was a good example of this dynamic where returning to her home for the first time since the Intervention caused Allison to return to the addiction behaviors of anger and resentment.  The family member, in this case Mom, effectively demonstrated her recovery tools by not taking responsibility for her daughter's anger and in doing did not enable the behavior to continue.  It left them both unsettled but Mom's action clearly established healthy boundaries for future interactions.

Recovery is discovery and the more we recovery the more we discover about ourselves.  Bravo to A&E for showing us what recovery is like in the Real world.

October 13, 2009 at 03:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack