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Intervention Episode “Richard”
Intervention Episode “Richard” 2/21/11
This episode may have been a repeat; however, it was one I hadn’t seen, hence my writing.
Drug of choice: crack cocaine.
His name is Richard.
Richard has 30 years experience as an electrician. He is the executor of his mother’s estate, the father of three kids, one from a previous marriage, and two from his current marriage. He has type 1 diabetes and has been hospitalized over 13 times this past year due to complications from his drug use and his diabetes.
Richard is a thin, dark haired, white older man, with wrinkles that speak of a hard life across his face. He looked absolutely helpless and full of pain in front of the camera. The pain that poured from his eyes, I couldn’t help but absorb through the TV screen. (What I’ve learned from watching shows about addiction or obsessions, and from my own training as a counselor, is addiction is generally rooted from some painful and/or heinous event. So when I watch these shows, I tentatively listen for the source of the person’s inner turmoil.)
The source: Richard grew up briefly in an adoption agency, with his biological younger brother, and the two of them got adopted by some well off parents. However, their new parents did not show them much love. Further, one day as a young boy, Richard was sent to visit his uncle who lived on a farm. (This visit led to a secret Richard had been keeping from his children, and tormenting him throughout his entire life.) While roaming the farm with his uncle, Richard saw two pigs mating, and when he asked his uncle what were the pigs doing, his uncle told him he would show him, and to bend over and pull his pants down. Richard said he vividly remembers the rape, and feeling the blood trickle down his leg during his awful ordeal. As instructed, he told no one under the threat of death by his monstrous uncle.
This incident led to a life of abusing drugs and mischief (no surprise). Richard began drinking alcohol at 13, then progressed to smoking marijuana, and using acid. He said he did the drugs to escape the thoughts of what happened on that farm. He never told his parents either, he figured they wouldn’t believe him if he did (so sad). At 17, Richard moved out even though he was leaving behind his brother, the only person he was closest too.
Out on his own Richard continued his drug use. He had a crew of buddies, and they all did drugs and robbed and stole from people. His reckless and irresponsible behavior subsequently led to his arrest and getting his girlfriend at the time pregnant. At least Richard did marry his baby’s mother; however, they soon divorced upon his release from prison. Further, Richard chose to keep his distance from his little son Shane, and chose to continue to live recklessly (poor Shane, during the episode, Shane spoke about his troubles with the law, and how he felt his dad had abandoned him as a child. Plus! Richard’s other son Justin was currently in prison for robbery and drug possession - the terrible cycle).
Later on, Richard fell in love with a nurse who had actually treated him in the hospital once, and decided to give the drugs a rest, and pursue a life with her. The two of them had a girl and a boy, and life was ok according to the wife Jane (I forgot her actual name), and his daughter Jenny. They said Richard was a great dad, and a great husband for a number of years, but then there was the accident.
Richard injured his back on the job, and this injury along with the death of a dear family member, laid the ground work for his current crack cocaine addiction. He had gotten prescribed painkiller medication for the herniated disk in his back. However, he eventually began injecting the pain medications for an intense high. Thankfully the doctors discovered this abuse, and ceased his prescriptions. But! This is how he discovered crack cocaine, and began surpassing the high he felt from the pain medications. Then to top things off, Richard’s only brother died from colon cancer, and Jane stated that was when Richard gave up. She said he didn’t care about anything or anyone. Richard himself said: “I stopped caring after I lost my brother.”
This brings us to the current point of Richard’s life. The show of course filmed him smoking his crack cocaine in his little room away from his family. Richard would cry while he smoked, as if he wished he didn’t have to. He'd cringe after every inhale, like he was inhaling puffs of burning fire. He’d also write on the walls and talk incoherently; and all that was probably some form of psychosis (in my opinion).
There was this gut wrenching scene with Richard rolling around on the bed, shaking, his face all flushed in red, and the screen read that he had been on a 3-day binge of crack cocaine. I was like oh my gosh, they are going to have to take him to the hospital, he’s talking nonsense and looking like he was going to die or something. But then Jane and Jenny calmly came in, and tested his blood, made him take some pill, and injected him with some insulin, like it was nothing. That’s when I knew they all needed to receive treatment, because that incident was out of control, and they acted like they came in to brush his hair or something.
Intervention time! And it was with my favorite interventionist Candy (she always makes me cry when she shares her own experiences). Candy broke it down straight off the back. She said Richard’s secret is poison to him, and he has to forgive himself for punishing himself so severely. When she said that, I immediately returned to the scenes (in my mind) of him crying, and him cringing, and his look of helplessness. This is the sad part of addiction (as if there was a good part), the self inflicted damage from the usage, which is irreversible sometimes. (I sat there hoping Richard would accept the treatment that was to be offered to him.)
Thankfully, a heartfelt “yes” exhaled from Richard’s mouth, upon listening to the letters written to him. It did not take a lot of convincing at all, I believe he was ready for the help. Moreover, Candy shared with him that the rape was not his fault, and he did nothing to deserve it, (this is why I love Candy), and I believe those words were his first tastes of freedom from his pain.
Ok! Time for the nitty gritty: did Richard complete treatment? How long has he been sober? Did he relapse?
Richard completed his treatment! Yay! Even his wife Jane and daughter Jenny received treatment! Hooray! They filmed the two gals headed over to visit Richard at the facility. And Richard looked well! Boy oh boy, he had gained some weight and said he was ready for his new life! I was happy for him. Jenny was ready for a new life too, but I could tell Jane still seemed a little melancholy. I hope she can remain supportive and stay on board with the new life that awaits them (perhaps she's just not convinced of his change yet, who knows). In any case, to me, it seemed like Richard and his family were on their way to being a healthy and healed family.
The last update read: Richard has been sober since February 4, 2010.
Tremendous! No relapses! Tune in Monday evenings on A&E to watch episodes of Intervention.
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