Archive for the Intervention Category

Sharing a name with a saint didn’t help him – The Update

Smitty counseled teens to keep them off drugs, but his own experience convinced them that they would relapse. He thought he might make the revolving door work more efficiently by selling them the drugs himself. Interestingly, his defense attorney claimed that he wasn’t motivated by money, but by his own “powerlessness.”

The story is here (

Slate on “Surviving Straight, Inc.”

Please go read Steven Slate’s piece on the new documentary about the “troubled teen” industry, created by survivors of the Straight, Inc. nightmare. He makes the connection between what some might consider a sort of isolated issue and draws a very clear line to the addiction recovery movement whose psychotic mythologies influence our culture so profoundly.

Here’s Steven Slate’s article. It is essential reading. When you’re done, please friend it:

Surviving Straight Inc, a Controlling Approach To Addiction Treatment Brings Disastrous Consequences

I wanted to also point out that one of the creators of Surviving Straight, Inc. started a website that we linked to in the blogroll. Troubled Teen Industry is a powerful resource and a compelling read.

[UPDATED]: I guess Steven and I were writing posts for ST at the same time, and I just happened to hit “post” before he did! Sorry, Steven… I scooped you on your own story.

Steven Slate says:

As of now, distribution plans for the movie are up in the air, and they’re submitting it to festivals. One thing that may help is making noise about it on the net, and showing that there’s demand for it. I don’t know the best way to do that, but here’s where to start:

The film’s website:

Troubled Teen Industry:

Reddit Troubled Teens:

I can’t stress how much these people have put themselves on the line by making this film and appearing in it. Along the way, one of the filmmakers even received a message ominously taped to his door which read “You won’t survive Straight Inc.” I’d hate to see their efforts go to waste. I don’t know the best way to support them, so I’m just starting by spreading these links around and talking about the movie with the means I have at my disposal. Many of the abusive methods of Straight Inc are still in use in Therapeutic Communities all over the place, and this stuff needs to be stopped.




Dear Abby: For some, a gift of alcohol could be devastating

DEAR ABBY: You advised “Susan in Southern Oregon,” who asked about the appropriateness of giving alcohol as a gift at an office party, that “the only time that alcohol would be an inappropriate gift is when the giver knows the recipient doesn’t use it.” As a former psychiatric social worker, I would say that the only time alcohol would be an APPROPRIATE gift is when the giver knows the recipient would use it, and do so responsibly.

People aren’t always forthcoming about their views and experiences regarding alcohol, so it’s best to play it safe. Many people abstain from alcohol because they are recovering alcoholics or have seen the devastating results that alcoholism has had on a loved one’s life. Others have religious reasons for not imbibing.

Giving alcohol as a gift may not only dismay the recipient, it could also lead to worse results if the giftee is someone who is struggling to stay sober.

– Amy in Dover, Del.

DEAR AMY: You have raised many valid points. Most of my readers disagreed with my answer, and their reasons have made me reconsider my advice to Susan. I was wrong. (Mea culpa.) Read on: Continue reading Choice

Dr. Drew: Recovery Ghoul

Intervention or Exploitation

In this season’s opening episode, Janice Dickinson, a former supermodel and reality TV star, had been weaned off of benzodiazepines, which resulted in a massive panic attack. Sobbing to one of the hospital’s staff members, she revealed she was contemplating going to the bathroom to hang herself. The moment was teased endlessly in previews leading to the premiere.

It’s exactly the kind of moment that Sack says those who sign up for the show don’t realize might later haunt them.

“Our concern is that people who are in the throes of an addiction should not be signing a release for something that will be shown on TV over and over,” he explained. Most reality television shows, he explained, require subjects to sign an irrevocable release contract which states that all footage filmed of them may be used on air, even if they change their mind midway.

Garrett, for one, insisted he was not “coerced” into signing a contract to appear on “Celebrity Rehab.” “I was a functioning addict,” he explained. “I’d made many decisions in business meetings outside of doing this show.”

Still, he said that a couple of weeks before entering the Pasadena Recovery Center, he attempted to get a head start on his sobriety and was four days clean when VH1 producers approached him with a request. “They asked to get some footage of me using, and I said, ‘I haven’t been using,'” he recalled. “They said, ‘We really have to get footage of you using.’ Anyway, I was easily talked into showing them.”

Intervention Coming to the UK

Browsing the internet the other day, I was horrified to find this link describing how the US stepper ‘intervention group’, the Association of Intervention Specialists, is now training steppers in the UK in this appalling and possibly illegal practice:

I had thought that ‘intervention’, i.e., forcing ‘reluctant’ people into stepper rehab, was one thing we were thankfully free of in the UK, and it is an extremely worrying development that UK steppers are now looking to this type of coercion in order to revive their flagging businesses and recruit more people into the 12-step faith. It is bad enough that these people, with their dishonest advertising practices, worse than useless ‘treatment programme’, and their lack of accountability, qualifications, or regulation, have managed to infiltrate and monopolize the rehab industry in the way that they have. It is bad enough that they browbeat and bully their paying ‘clients’ into accepting a nonsensical irrelevant programme that no-one ever gave their informed consent to. Now they want to foist this dangerous nonsense onto people who don’t necessarily even want to stop drinking or using, but whose families (or employers) think they should.

Given the lies, bully-boy tactics and psychological mindfuck 12-step rehab staff already use in order to indoctrinate vulnerable but self-motivated people into the lunacy of Bill Wilson’s made-up religion, it is deeply, deeply disturbing to think about what methods they might use on people who are not even in rehab voluntarily. It is unlikely that they are going to scour the streets working their ‘interventions’ on homeless, penniless alcoholics in the interests of ‘help’. No, the idea is to get the families and friends of addicts, who may be either desperate or just very controlling, to do their recruiting for them. And then to charge them a fortune for the privilege of helping them make even more money out of this twisted and dishonest programme. It is despicable and hugely cynical, just one more manifestation of their attempts to prey on the desperate and vulnerable in the interests of their own profit and in order to perpetuate their crackpot religion.

Note that the ‘founder sponsors’ of AIS International are:

Montrose Place
Betty Ford Center
Proctor Hospital/Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery
Little Hill-Alina Lodge
Palm Partners
Pine Grove.

And more of the usual suspects are named within the article.

‘Ethical intervention’ is another one of those AA oxymorons, like ‘dry drunk’ and ‘rigorously honest stepper’.  We’ve managed to keep this dehumanizing practice out of the UK and Europe so far. I hope with the support of all on Stinkin’ Thinkin’ we can help to keep it that way.

Skeptics take on A&E

I guess the skeptics don’t see anything really wrong with “Intervention,” in which debased and vulnerable addicts and mentally ill people (many of whom are young) are coerced into accepting faith healing, higher powers and spiritual awakenings, instead of sound addiction treatment and real, effective therapy?

Psychics, however, are the real epidemic  — a serious freakin’ public menace in this country.

Of course, speaking out against “Psychic Kids,” an A&E show that seeks to exploit kids is necessary, and I support the letter-writing campaign — as PZ Myers says:

But it’s worse than you think: they’re looking for disturbed kids who think they’ve got magic powers, and then they’re flying in “professional psychics” to coach them in dealing with their awesome powers, i.e., indulge their delusions, get off on feeling superior to unhappy kids, and collect a paycheck for psychic child abuse.

So, I’m not arguing against that. These exploitative assholes need to be called out.

But I have to ask (for the hojillionth time) why 12 Step faith healing is OK. Why does it get a complete pass from the skeptical community? Why no outrage about “Intervention”? This show exploits addicts, young and old, and then “redeems” itself, by offering free publicity for spiritually-based 12 Step rehab facilities, which take these addicts in and fuck with their minds with a religious program that has been proven to be utterly ineffective at treating addiction.

The fact that a spiritual awaking is the gold standard of care for addiction in the country is an outrage; it’s generated an actual crisis, and the evidence of its complete failure effects everyone.

You Stink

The YouStink forum, presided over by BastisWifey, posts all the episodes of A&E’s “Intervention.” I don’t know why I punish myself by watching that show… It never fails to make me really sick. (I just watched a “where are they now” episode, where one of the interventionists admitted to relapsing — I think that’s what he admitted to, because it was hard to navigate the euphemisms — and taking a leave of absence till he sorts himself out.)

I’ve noticed that Alcoholics Anonymous product placing is very prominent when they get to the rehab part of the program: someone will be clutching their Big Book; a 12 Steps and 12 Traditions will be on display on a bookshelf behind the counselor’s head; slogans are spewed… I wonder if AAWS pays for these plugs.

Anyway, I was looking around over there, and found a link to a video by Dr. Doom, who had been featured on Intervention, but had asked Bastiswifey to remove his episode. And he offered an explanation.