A&E’s Intervention on Monday, March 12, 2012 9 p.m. CST showcased Sean, 39 years old, an alcoholic for 10 years drinking ½ gallons of vodka per day. Sean is one of 3 brothers from his divorced Mom and Dad, David Jr., 13 months apart from himself, and Sam. Sean says the alcohol “works for him every time, that it makes him feel good.” His brothers describe him as being “homeless for two years” but being taken in by an older woman 58 years of age. His brothers describe the older woman as taking care of him by buying his food, alcohol and providing a roof over his head. They both feel he wouldn’t be in the condition that he’s in if it wasn’t for her. They also state he wouldn’t ever call her again if she decides one day to not provide alcohol, food and a place to live. Sean says:
“That’s never been the case. I’m interested in her for her conversation, for the person she is and also for her great body.”
Sean suffers from liver spots. He’s lost weight and he also has a pre-cancerous condition of his esophagus which he refuses to let the doctors operate on as it would mean he couldn’t drink.
His Mom and Dad describe him as an adorable baby that never cried. His mother says she and her husband were two kids trying to raise children. Sean suffered from fears and anxieties even as a small child and was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. He had to “touch everything within site and hold hands when he crossed the street.” His mother frequently touched him saying “release the demons from him.”
At eight, Sean and his brothers got to live with their Dad. This was great for Sean for several years. His connection with his father was sports and competition. Outside of sports, David Jr. describes their relationship as “negative.” He feels the verbal lashings from his father and feeling like the “misfit of the family” fueled Sean’s rebellion. The father smacked Sean on his legs and arms, slammed him against the wall and put enough pressure on Sean to remove all his imperfections.
Sean says of his father.
He never said, “I’m proud of you son. Never heard it.”
At 13 he got drunk for the first time and got a “hell of a buzz.” Sean liked the feeling. Sean felt it was a way to make the pain and anxiety go away. It made me feel normal. “
Sean got married young also and for a time was a good Dad to “Lyndsay,” his only girl child. At 21 Sean found his niche in DJ’ing. He enjoyed himself but fell into the rock and roll lifestyle, drinking and partying like there was no tomorrow. He says, “I let the drinking get out of control.” But that’s what alcoholics do, they let the drinking get out of control.
“I was pissed off at life and decided alcohol was going to be my answer to everything in life.”
His brother says,
“I know he doesn’t want to be who he is today. If he doesn’t stop drinking, he’s gonna die. I don’t think he know’s he’s dying.
Sean says, “I loss my fear of dying. I want my misery to be over with.”
“I always wanted to be in the spotlight. I always wanted to be the center of attention. The search for the next fix of attention or love.”
His brother says,
“His whole persona is a fake face. He feels unloved and rejected. Very high insecurity, a little child inside of him controlling him.”
“He won’t open up his mind to living without alcohol or without bars.”
Sean describes a very close relationship he has with his daughter. She’s the number one female in his life on the face of the earth. Lindsay gives ½ of her income to Sean. Lyndsay says:
“He needs me to survive. I’m trying to save my Dad.”
Sean says of his daughter:
“Your are the perfect daughter. I’m the luckiest man alive to have a daughter like you. Let’s not lose site of our bond. You have taken my responsibility of our life for us, but that’s okay because I love you.”
“He needs to get better so that I can get better.”
Sean’s Dad had high expectations for Sean. Sean says of his father.
“To this day, my father means the world to me. Even though he is different, I have accepted everything about his life.”
Sean is inferring about his father coming out as a gay man when he was in his teens. Kids would laugh at him and make jokes and comments about Sean’s gay father.
Sam says, “If my Dad doesn’t change his relationship with Sean, I think that he will be voided completely. I don’t want to watch Sean kill himself cause that is what he is doing.”
David Jr. says, “Your problem is my problem. I want to shake him. I want to beat him into the straight path. All I can think to do is to preach at him.”
“Give me a break,” says Sean.
“I’m tired of giving you breaks,” says David Jr. “We’ve been giving you breaks for 30 years of your life. We’re tired of it. It’s about time you start dealing with this because you are a drunk.”
“He is so at rock bottom, he is barely holding on by a thread. My brother is going to die soon.”
Sam: “He’s decaying like cancer.”
Seth Jaffe, Interventionist, speaks with the family.
“The purpose of this intervention is not to get Sean treatment. The purpose is to get the whole family healed together. I’m going to educate you on how you got sucked in. The bottom line is whether or not Sean gets healthy or not, we’re going to get ya’ll healthier.”
Lyndsay: “My life is not my own. I’m waiting for the phone call.”
Seth, Interventionist: You are under the illusion that you’re helping Sean, but trust me you are not. You are helping him stay addicted.
Seth goes on to say:
“Everybody thinks that they can’t be a loving Dad, brother, friend, wife, sister and Mother without completely letting go of boundaries but it’s not true. You can be that great daughter by showing and telling them you love him by keeping your boundaries.”
The Interventionist next turns to David Jr.
“Dave, you are the “fixer.” You are essentially responsible for fixing the family. Dave, when you try to “fix” someone, you are trying to control them. The difference between a “fixer” and a “helper” is the “helper” does the loving action, but has no control over the result. The “fixer” has control over the result. In essence, Sean needs his family to NOT give him the kind of help which is killing him.
Sean thinks he is going to his final interview.
Seth says, “Everyone has been damaged by this. But this is the moment.”
Sean enters with a bottle in his hand. “It’s not my birthday or something? What’s this surprise about?”
Sean sits down and pours himself a drink.
“Ok. What are we doing? Are ya’ll gonna try and make me cry? It’s not gonna happen. I’m not in the mood.”
Sean turns to Seth. “Who are you affiliated with?” he says.
Seth: “I’m an Interventionist. I’m an addict, a heroin addict for 19 years. I‘m “you.” Sean, I’m “you.” But, I got out, you see. Give your family a chance to tell you how they love you.”
“I remember this happy-go-lucky guy who I used to love hearing about his dreams and goals. At one time in your life, I thought you might take over the world. You’ve always been a very gifted person and I have always loved bragging about you. But watching you spiraling down is the hardest thing I had to do as your brother. I worry about you every single day. I feel that one day I will get a call saying you died from drinking too much or something like that. I know you can turn this around if you get the right help.”
“I’m not crying,” says Sean.
“Hey, show some respect here,” says David Jr.
Lyndsay is up next.
“My rock. You showed me how to love and what it is to be a human. I want to hug you so tightly my arms go numb. I love it that I can call you at any time and you talk to me thru my anxiety attacks. I want to be able to do that five years from now. There is no pasT that will break the bonds that we share. You are a beautiful person that deserves a beautiful life. There is a way out and a new beginning. Accept this help and come back to your family. I love you.”
Sean appears unaffected thus far.
Sean says, “Hold on a second. Time out. Everybody knows I’m the boss of me. Is there a straight jacket in this room?”
“Your choice Sean, your choice,” says Seth.
“It doesn’t feel like it. I feel threatened,” says Sean.
“Nobody is holding you down or anything. It’s your choice,” says Seth.
Sean leaves the room.
Seth follows Sean and speaks to him. “Everybody tells me you’re a great guy. Everybody is nuts about Sean. Say you’ll go and make everybody happy and give them a good Christmas this year.”
The Dad speaks last.
“People have always told me I was too competitive. I loved that about you. You always showed me how much you loved me even when I turned into that hard core father that was trying to yell my way into your head. It is time for a change, a change in me. I want my love for you to be expressed in my words of encouragement, not harmful hurting words of anger and pain. I want the painful part of our past to vanish for you and me and for our present and future to be filled with great expressions of love.”
This brings a few tears to Sean’s eyes and he grabs a tissue.
Seth says, “Become the guy you can be, live up to your potential.”
Sean finally says, “Yes.” He hugs everyone.
Lyndsay says, “I feel really good. I feel I can make it in my life.”
Sean says, “If I would have said “no” they would have been hating on me.”
Six hours from the Betty Ford Treatment Center, he makes them pull on side the road. Sean doesn’t want to go. He wants “one more day.” He’ll return in the morning, he says.
“Don’t do this,” Seth says. “I don’t want to call Lyndsay to say you bailed out. Don’t do this to your kid. You’ll break her beart. At least give it a shot. Don’t punk out before it happens. At least you went least you did what you said you were going to do. At least you went. You did it. This way, you aren’t doing nothing.”
“I’m bailing now. I want to do it in the morning,” says Sean.
“You said you were going to do it today, but you’re bailing now,” says Seth.
“I promise to return in the morning,” says Sean.
Sean did not show. He went back to his 58 year old g/f.
The staff at the Betty Ford Treatment said of Sean. “Hopefully, they can cut off the emotional and financial support to Sean. There is always hope for Sean.”
“In order for him to come to treatment he needs to experience the consequences of his behavior. His family needs to keep their boundaries with Sean right now and keep their expectations they have of him to move forward.”
Sean’s father is not in contact with him.
Watch the full episode here. The next episode of A&E’s Intervention next Monday, Channel 39, Cox Cable at 9 p.m. in Lafayette, Louisiana CST. Keep watching.
There are several programs in Lafayette, Louisiana offering the Intervention style process. There is also Al-Anon for the families and AA for the alcoholic/drug abuser.
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