Is it time for an intervention?
I’ll admit it – I have been an enabler.
Knowing that someone seemed to me like a substance abuser, I have helped in that pursuit – because, well, I really didn’t want to rock the boat, and I was partying and having fun, too.
I’m also pretty good at spotting substance abusers – when something doesn’t add up, and excuses mount, you can generally point the finger at drug and alcohol abuse - I learned this from reality TV. Seriously, I have watched some of the celebrity rehab shows in wonderment and have marveled that my wife thinks Dr. Drew Pinsky is hot. Really?
But I’m no clinician or substance abuse counselor.
There have been times that I’ve wanted to step in and confront someone I thought had an addiction that was having an adverse effect on job performance, relationships, responsibilities, friendships and the ability to function within what we’d call “normal” parameters, but I haven’t quite known what to do and I didn’t want to be seen as a butt-inski.
But what if I did?
What if I made a difference?
What if I had a chance to save someone’s life?
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the rock band, The Who, which lost two of its original four members to substance abuse, most notoriously drummer Keith Moon who indeed died before he got old at the ripe young age of 32. I bring this up because having recently read guitarist/composer Pete Townshend’s memoir, he laments that he could have done more to save Moon the Loon from his addictions and compulsive behavior and the swirling sycophants around him who only made things worse.
“Instead of helping him, I got caught up in his great parade, and almost forgot why I’d gone over to see him in the first place,” Townshend writes (p. 308 of “Who I Am”).
Much has changed since 1978 when Moon died from an overdose of a medication that was supposed to wean him off alcohol – programs for recovery have advanced, and addictions are now more widely seen as diseases – and less of writing the abuser off as simply being an asshole and unmotivated to quit his debilitating habits.
And in some cases it’s more socially acceptable these days to admit you’ve got a problem and seek help. Rehab doesn’t have the same sweep-under-the-carpet stigma anymore - although it has become a celebrity cliché.
But what do you do if a family member, colleague or close friend can’t seem to stop their destructive behavior tied to addictions and you don’t know what to do - or you’re at the end of your rope and feel like you can only step away and wash your hands of the situation?
Enter Ken Seeley. He’s one of the nation’s foremost interventionists, featured on the A&E show aptly titled “Intervention” and he’s bringing his wealth of knowledge to the Grand Strand to speak to local college students and also to give the keynote address at Horry-Georgetown Technical College’s Addiction and Recovery lecture series tonight.
Surge correspondent Derrick Bracey scored an interview with Seeley to discuss the intervention process, its successes, addictions and recovery in general, and ways you can help someone you know struggling with any type of addiction - including gambling and sexual to eating disorders - and he also talked with the man responsible for bringing Seeley to town, Casey King, a physics and science instructor at HGTC, who is also a recovering addict, to draft this week’s cover story.
Back-story: A few years ago, King got in touch with me wanting publicity for the Addiction and Recovery series, which we featured a few times in our now-defunct feature Quit Yer Bitchin’, which was designed to highlight local cultural events outside the party-type fare. More intellectual, if you will, despite the sophomoric handle.
Then, last summer, he contacted me and said he was working to bring the aforementioned doctor-of-the-stars Pinsky to town - and I circled the date on my calendar.
Pinksy, it seems would have cost too much and his reputation began taking a hit as his celebrity rehab patients began dropping like flies, so King shifted gears and nabbed Seeley instead, who he feels is going to be much more accessible - and I have to agree to that as Seeley was easy to track down, responded quickly to e-mails, and made himself readily available to our scribe.
The intent in publishing this story is the hope that at least one person will get the help they need.
Kent Kimes, Editor