A&E’s Intervention the week of August 29th 2011 was about “Jeff”, a college graduate that calls himself a “genealogist.” We find out later in the show that his Momma and Dada are the people who really take care of him by paying his electricity, putting a roof over his head, providing his food, beer and cigarette money. Isn’t it strange how some parents who support their children end up doing well and “making something” of themselves, but then other children just turn into grown children living off of their Momma’s teat? The “why of it” doesn’t matter. It just happens due to the complexities of how people react to life’s circumstances. For people like “Jeff,” A&E’s Intervention attempts to examine once again what happened to him. Jeff is a severe alcoholic who drinks 30 cans of beer per day. His wife died of probable seizure brought on by alcohol detoxing, is he next?
Jeff is a 30 year old man from Arkansas. He considers himself a “rock star” and a musician; describes himself as living a “rock and roll lifestyle that has to be lived, not necessarily need to be played.” Wow. Perfect example of the delusions alcoholics suffer from when drinking. It’s been two months since his wife died and Jeff is still obviously grieving. He has morbid regrets and thoughts concerning his wife’s death as in, “why couldn’t he save her?” He apparently found her dead and administered CPR.
Jeff admits to the cameras that he has to, “stay drunk in order to talk to you.” He begins each morning with a beer and has lost 100 pounds over the last year. He also suffers from diabetes; with risks being blindness, kidney failure, liver failure, coma and death. Jeff states that without alcohol, “he’s paranoid, agitated and nervous.” Jeff doesn’t or may not realize those are the withdrawals he gets from not drinking.
The family describes Jeff as precious and cute as a baby. Jeff describes his own mother as “super” and his father as a “hell of a man and protector.” He has no complaints of anyone really. However, his whole family complains about him. Jeff is described as a “highly sensitive child” who was shy, quiet and who was mocked and teased at school. A nurse on the Facebook Intervention site noted that Jeff had a scar on his head which wasn’t eluded to. Could Jeff have slight brain damage? Doctors are aware that patients frequently attempt to treat their own mental illness with drugs or alcohol. At five years of age his father bought him a guitar, which brought the shy Jeff out of his shell. He played continuously and at 16 was able to form his own band Cry Havoc with his younger brother Stan. Randy, his friend and manager, has been with him ever since. To get over his shyness and nerves of touring, Jeff began to “loosen up” with 10 beers before each concert. This went on for 7 years then the band broke up basically due to Jeff’s alcoholism. By now he was married to Ronda and his wife indulged with him until her death 2 months previously. They produced two children of the marriage, Daeron and Blake.
Stan, his brother, is the angriest at Jeff. He wonders what it will take for anything to “get through” to Jeff. Jeff states that “Stan is always mad at him.” Stan feels as if “he doesn’t have a brother anymore.” Randy, his manager and friend, has stood by him for 15 years and has placed him in 6 different bands, which Jeff ends up quitting. He feels Randy has “stabbed him in the back” and says Jeff’s attitude of himself being a rock star as “nothing is there.” Randy, too, is frustrated with Jeff and says on the show, “I don’t want to bury you!” Even the Department of Human Services has gotten involved to “wake Jeff up.” They are monitoring Jeff for child neglect and Jeff cannot be in the presence of his children when he is drunk.
The Interventionist says that alcoholism is a “family disease” and that everyone adjusts to the alcoholic in order to compensate for their flaws. Stan tells the Interventionist that “Jeff is NEVER held accountable for anything.” The family has been adjusting to the “sensitivities of Jeff” since he was a small child. The Interventionist tell the family that this “help you are giving Jeff is killing him” and that it “has to stop.” The Interventionist encourages the family to approach Jeff, not to “light his fire” but to attempt to reach his heart. The mother cries knowing she’ll have to tell Jeff that she cannot support him any longer.
Jeff gets ready for the final Intervention by drinking beer. He doesn’t know he’s on Intervention (but how is this possible?). Jeff walks into the Intervention meeting room demanding a beer “right now.” “I want it right now!” “I want a beer now!” Just like a small child throwing a tantrum.
Randy began the intervention by reading his letter. He got “choked up” and Jeff offered to read the letter. Jeff also got choked up and cried. The mother tries next. She too could not read her own letter so Stan read it for her. Stan was able to tell him that their mother couldn’t enable her son any longer in supporting him in killing himself. This would have implications later.
Stan read his letter. It was most flattering to Jeff.
“The person you are has taken away my brother. If all is said and done, you are my favorite. You are the best musician I’ve ever played with and I’ve played with many. Not many people have a brother who’s a musician and as cool as you. I love you, your little brother Stan.”
Jeff pouts and says that his recovery “has to be on his terms.” Eventually he agrees to try out St. Christopher’s in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The sister is so relieved that her parents won’t be worrying about Jeff for at least a little while until he gets out of the treatment center. It’s their first reprieve in years and years. The Doctor at the center wants Jeff, “to feel good about whom he is so that he doesn’t have to rely on an outside source of help to get him through the day.” Tall order that.
After 22 days Jeff left the center and moved back into his parent’s house with his children (who were already there). He continues to drink. Jeff is young. He’s only 30 years old. What will happen to Jeff when his parents die? Who will take care of him? Jeff will finally learn to “take care of himself” once his parents pass on. What do you think readers? Is Jeff a spoiled adult brat? Did his sensitivities as a small child and his being mocked and teased by other children make Jeff who he is today?
Watch the full episode here. Catch the next episode of A&E’s Intervention next Monday, Channel 39, Cox Cabel at 9pm in Lafayette, Louisiana CST.
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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