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"Intervention, It's Me, Vinnie's Mom"


Guest ASchwartz
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Guest ASchwartz

Some of you may be aware that I posted an article about a program that appears on the A&E Television Channel. The program is called "Intervention," and the other day they had an episode about an addicted young man named Vinnie and his family. The stories are all true and taped in real life. I found the story of Vinnie very compelling and wrote the article that you can find on the site, here at this URL:

http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=35094&cn=3

After posting the article I was surprised to get an E. Mail from Vinnie's mother who upated me about the situation and corrected some facts that were wrong because the producers were mistaken.

I posted her E. Mail to me, with her permission and am hoping that all of yu would read my article and her E. Mail and come up with some suggestions to help Vinnie.

Her E. Mail can be found here:

http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=35128&cn=3

Vinnie suffers from ADHD as well as being addicted to crack cocaine.

Allan

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As the parent of a 16 year old ADHD boy I can identify with Vinnie's mum.

My son does not have a great relationship with his father, so as his mum I feel I am always defending him and trying to compensate for his father's attitude.

ADHD in a family, where the behaviour is extreme does effect everyone, siblings included. Low self-esteem is a major part of the make-up of these individuals and the last thing they need is for their family to add to that.

As a mother I can not emphasis enough the benefits of therapy for myself. I have learnt how to be with my son. I have been advised to support him, not to condemn him and to allow him take responsibility for his own actions. We have set down very clear rules about the behaviour we will accept in our home.

Having said all of this, I am still his mother, I love him dearly and when faced with it will I be able to go through with the ultimatums ? ~ I just don't know.

Wishing Vinnies's mum all the best. (and Vinnie too).

Goose

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Frankly, I view shows like "Intervention" as horribly exploitive of the mentally ill and addicted. And far from being "real", it is quite clear, based on Vinnie's mother's own statements, that the producers of the show are far less interested in the truth than they are in ratings. In fact, they overtly lied about certain things (such as the first class plane ride) in order to sensationalize the plight of these unfortunate people.

In addition, it is perfectly clear that the show promotes a purely 12 step viewpoint, which only serves to spread misinformation...again, at the expense of the vulnerable.

ML

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I have long questioned the motives of the show Intervention. My wife regularly tunes in but I find it offensive.

The nature of the show is to sensationalize/exploit addiction and drive television ratings.

Reality TV seems to be a craze that will not cease, is there any difference between Intervention and say......Survivor or the Osbornes?

It's produced, with a script, to secure viewership over other shows in the same time slot.

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I agree, Timothy, but I think that shows like "Intervention", "Sober House", "Celebrity Rehab" and the like are far more exploitative and offensive than shows like "Survivor" and "The Osbournes".

"Survivor", "The Bachelor", "Who Wants to Marry A Millionaire", "Wife Swap" etc. cannot, in my opinion, be called "reality" shows at all. They are not real in any sense of the word. They simply show real people's unscripted behaviors after they have been placed in totally UNreal, contrived situations that do not exist in real life, ever, period. The notion that these contrivances represent reality is intellectually offensive, but I am not terribly concerned that sick, vulnerable people are being exploited in the process of creating these shows.

Shows like "The Osbournes" and others that purport to show real families in their natural habitats may indeed show some reality; their offensiveness lies in the fact that they exploit the voyeuristic tendencies of their audiences.

But shows like "Intervention" are in not in the business of showing reality or even of creating contrived situations. Instead, their purpose is to manipulate the vulnerable to serve the public's unwholesome desire to be entertained by the heartbreaking personal problems of others. This is offensive even when the shows' producers don't twist reality to increase the drama...but when they do, as they did with Vinnie and his family, it's absolutely unconscionable.

Regarding what would help Vinnie and his family, number 1 on my list would be to get them off the television and into the office of a clinician who works with the dually diagnosed using evidence-based approaches.

ML

Edited by Mona Lisa
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JP,

Your post to Ivana shows much insight and compassion--and sheds light on a difficult truth. I too have found that one of the most painful things in human experience is to be told that I am loved when all the evidence points in the opposite direction. It is much easier to accept that one is not loved than it is to accept that love is shown by abuse. The former is painful but manageable; the latter only leads to the conclusion that one lacks intrinsic value and is not worthy of being treated well even by those who claim love.

ML

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Hello Vinnie,

Based on my understanding of your situation, I suggest that when someone does not receive the support he deserves from those around him, the easiest solution is to honestly give a good faith effort to work with those who are indeed supportive. I have read Allan's article, and your mother's email in response. I sympathize with your story, and find it familiar to a degree with those of my friends and family.

Parents tend to treat their sons and daughters as children even after they have become fully grown adults by relying on the instant respect created by fear. This fear is created through threat of physical punishment or emotional blackmail. In your case, your father often called you a loser, and probably many other things in the hopes that this would somehow help you share his perspective. But, the fear that your father relied upon while you were a young child that may have produced immediate compliance did not have the same effect when you were an adult. In general, when children grow up, there is a learning curve for the entire family. Children mature through experience and eventually become adults. But, in the eyes of a parent, children do not grow up as quickly.

Mothers and fathers will only look to their children as exactly that, children. The only way to change the circumstances is to reach out to others who are supportive, who aim to treat you as an adult, and who have the skills to guide you through rehabilitation. In time, perhaps your friends and family will learn to see you differently. But, even if you change first, those around you will not be able to appreciate the change until much later due to labels and stereotypes. Therefore, I believe you should return to an out-of-state program, and try to start new friendships and “family”.

Certainly I am not suggesting you replace your current friends and family. But, I am of the opinion that you both need time away from each other to reflect.

Additionally, the reason why you would go to an out-of-state program is not to ultimately seek approval of those around you. Rather, the objective is to bring your life back in order for your own benefit. I mention friends and family a number of times, but I do not wish you to misunderstand by inferring that you must ultimately please them. Do it for yourself. From your story thus far, I think you give those around you an incredible amount of authority over you. But, as an adult, you need to develop authority over yourself. Take your life back! It is one thing to share your life with others, and quite another to have it taken away completely. People can only share what they have, Vinnie.

Lastly, on an unrelated point, I ask that the readers focus on providing suggestions for Vinnie. The issues regarding the show itself and others like it merit another thread.

Edited by kaudio
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Guest ASchwartz

HI JP,

I believe that your point about Vinnie not reaching out for help has a lot of merit. It appears that, once again, he is being rendered helpless by his well meaning mother and family while he is treated like an invalid. It is Vinnie who needs to reach out for help.

However, I have another point I want to make to you, JP. When I read what you write, I often get "lost" in the words. So much so that it becomes difficult to clearly see the point you are trying to make. For example, what are you trying to say about TV ratings?

Is this only me, and it can be, or do others have this problem with some of JP's comments?

Allan :)

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Allan:

I, for one, have no difficulty understanding JP's posts. I find them thoughtful, insightful, and deeply compassionate, and I appreciate the time and effort he obviously puts into them.

In particular, JP's comments about television ratings are perfectly clear.

Comments made about the show were, as I see it, motivated by a consideration for Vinnie and his family - considerations which are not offered by those who are motivated by television ratings.

JP is saying that, unlike those who responded to the email from Ivana, the producers of the TV show "Intervention" are not motivated by a desire to help Vinnie. They are motivated by a desire to make money. In the world of television, ratings = advertisers = money.

ML

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Kaudio and others,

Kaudio, I am pleased that you refocused the group on Vinnie and getting help rather than assessing and debating reality tv. That really is a separate issue for another forum.

As a result of the program, an MD has come forward and has offered to treat Vinnies ADHD which, if it continues to be left untreated, will cause him to quickly relapse.

Let's hope this helps. Of course, its up to Vinnie to do this, if he is ready and if he wants to.

Allan:)

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Hello,

There seems to be some confusion concerning my post. The issue is not whether it is more appropriate to address posts to Ivana or to Vinnie. Rather, the question is under a mental health forum meant to offer support, is the discussion of television shows and ratings appropriate to this particular thread?

I don't think so. The points raised so far are indeed insightful and interesting, but are not all relevant to Allan's intended purpose to offer support to Vinnie. However, I do not believe this thread intended to offer support exclusively to Vinnie. Certainly posts addressed to Ivana will be more than welcome.

But, it is important to note that Vinnie and his family have already been filmed for the episode of Intervention. The rationale of a number of posts on this thread appear to be to convince others that there are other means to help people besides participating in or watching Intervention. If this is the case, then such posts are intended for a different audience of whom have not yet chosen Intervention as a means of human healing.

It is not fair to this thread when members mix their support for people with comments about the 'masses', and how reality television shows exploit audiences. For Vinnie and Ivana, the deed is done. They are more than able to assess the experience of the show for themselves as they participated directly in making the episode. If they sought political discussion about this experience, I imagine they would have asked for it.

Finally, I appreciate the time and effort everyone gives their posts.

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I agree wholeheartedly with JP's statements.

I wish to add only one point, which was that I read Allan's initial posting as suggesting that we make comments directed at Vinnie and his mother in the comments section of the place he posted her email. He posted a link to it, after all.

So if we were directed to make our comments to Ivana/Vinnie THERE, what is wrong with posting thoughts about the Intervention genre HERE?

ML

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Guest ASchwartz

JP and ML,

Sorry to remind you that, as a writer and administrator for this website, I am hardly what you characterize as a "third party." I also want to remind you that we do not need you to inform any of us about the ambience of this or any forum. People are free to post issues they wish to discuss.

JP, you have much to say that has a lot of value and a lot of merit. However, you, from time to time, become rather harsh and lecturing, at least, that is MY opinion.

ML, no one is stating that there is anything wrong with criticizing reality tv. However, it was not the main point, that is all.

Its a curious thing, and I need to point this out: If I answer an E. Mail under "Reader Questions," others are allowed to critical if I mention AA. There is not question of my being a "third party." However, If I point out a very real issue about very real people and ask your help for these people in this forum, I am under criticism for being a "third party" and for not adhering to the ambience of this forum. It seems I cannot win.

Why is there so much negativity here?

Allan

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Conflict. :)

I think that whenever there are a lot of intelligent folks who have strong beliefs and opinions, there will be occasional disagreements now and then. I also think this is a sign that some feel things deeply and that is also a tool we can use to help one another. But differences of opinions and disagreements aside, we are all on the same side here, right? Maybe then, let's let this go? Forgive it and move on. Everyone on here is valuable in their own unique ways. Let's appreciate that and use it to help support others. Maybe?

Still don't like conflict... :(

Edited by IrmaJean
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There is no conflict going on here, but we do need to come to a common understanding. The general idea I want to communicate is that this forum, like any other social setting, has conventions to facilitate the flow of ideas.

The problem here is merely one of organization. My only request is for everyone to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. There is an etiquette for this forum as there is for any other social setting. When a member begins a thread in any of the forums here, the substance of the first post serves as the basis for further discussion. What Allan and I have been trying to point out is that the call of this thread is to offer support to Vinnie and others. Certainly, discussion of relevant topics that do not directly touch upon this call are most welcome because conversations are often used as a tool to explore different ideas. But, once these indirect topics gain sufficient interest from others, the discussion should be brought to another thread.

The primary focus of the first post is one of support. Allan asked for supportive thoughts for Vinnie and others. The political issues that have been raised so far concerning audiences, television ratings, public impressions of the show Intervention, Survivor, etc., are valid. Clearly, there is a great deal of interest in these issues, and I think more discussion about them is healthy and awesome. Yet, these issues are not really what this thread is about.

These political issues deserve another thread. We understand the main points about Intervention and reality television. When I made note that these discussions of indirect issues should continue elsewhere, I get the impression that some of the members felt I was directly referring to JP and his character. This is wrong. I understand that JP has been most helpful here. As mentioned above, I also appreciate the effort everyone makes to write posts. But, no matter how the show Intervention may possibly relate to Vinnie and others, the thought has already been submitted. I am sure everyone understands the points made thus far.

The request made from my first post here is not that much to ask for. Can everyone discuss these political issues in another thread please?

Lastly, with respect, I agree with Allan that the negativity of these recent posts are uncalled for. Allan has been doing a stand-up job reaching out to others, writing posts, and being supportive. He did a great job introducing this thread; and I can only wish and hope to just pretend to have as much heart as he does.

Edited by kaudio
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