History and Background
A&E’s Intervention featured ‘Gabe’. It is the end of the season rerun as the new season starts next Monday night at 9 p.m. Gabe’s parents were a Christian God fearing family with middle class values. All six of their children were fair of face and hair except for the one brown child (as he describes himself). Gabe was a child from Calcutta, India left on the streets, abandoned by his family. He was probably left as a baby and picked up by an orphanage over there. He was found by this Christian family in America and adopted at three and one half years of age. It seems certain that Gabe’s family had the best of intentions but it does seem as if they had no thought into how the child would feel fitting in with them, especially since all of them were so fair. Immediately, Gabe stands out from his family and he gets questioned from a small child on as to “how does he fit in with his family.” Even strangers made him feel he didn’t belong.
As a small child Gabe recalls a kid fight with one of his cousins and his Grandfather shouted at him, “I hate you, you are not a part of this family.” He withdrew at a young age. His family eventually sent him to a Christian school hoping they could instill their values into him. At this school he ended up fighting with someone and then being accused of “sucker punching him.” Apparently, he knocked him out and subsequently was expelled. He was 15 years of age here.
At 16 he started using cocaine and marijuana. He said the drugs helped him with his depression. Nothing was mentioned if Gabe was being treated for depression or if any treatment was sought for him. Gabe’s complaint against his father was that he was judgmental and thought God was the answer to everything.
At 18 his family kicked him out onto the streets. He describes himself as “seething with anger.” No mention was made as to where he lived or who supported him for those years he lived on the streets. At 22, unfortunately he received a $37,500 settlement from a car accident he had and used all that money for drugs and getting high, running from himself, his feelings, his past, everything.
Now, Gabe is running out of money and “he doesn’t know what he’s gonna do.” He’s heavily addicted to heroin and cocaine and shoots up several times on the show. He looks grayish, older and his eyes look “dead.” He gets withdrawal symptoms of cold sweats, vomiting, muscular and bone pains. These withdrawals make him do anything to get his next fix. He’s jobless, almost homeless and has sold all of his possessions when the show begins.
The “bottom” that some people have to reach is truly startling.
No matter how many times his family tells him and shows them their love and affection, he just doesn’t believe it. His father states they wanted to adopt because he felt he had gained a certain victory and wanted to share it with the less fortunate. Gabe describes his father as “mind locked, floating on a religious cloud.” Gabe feels his father doesn’t “understand him at all.” He feels his father “constantly judges him.” Gabe says his father “makes him want to use.” It should be noted that the majority of drug abusers and addicts accuse and blame those around them for their drug/alcohol problems. It’s just another weapon in their arsenal to deny their problem and/or project their problem onto someone else thereby separating themselves from responsibility. It isn’t Gabe’s parents fault that he was left on the streets of Calcutta. The early upbringing of neglect and abandonment makes Gabe vulnerable to any small thing.
Gabe’s father says his son has a “victim mentality.” It’s always “someone else’s fault.” “Until he’s willing to take responsibility and quit his habit, he’ll die.” The majority of drug addicts are not afraid of death at all, it’s the people around them watching them die that are afraid. His father says Gabe makes him sad seeing the misery he is in.
Candy, the Interventionist, couldn’t have been a better choice. She’s an adopted child recovering from drugs and alcohol herself. The beauty of Psychiatric care is that frequently the ones taking care of you needed to be “taken care of themselves in their past,” just as Candy confides. Because they can very accurately know what it is like to be in their shoes, they find it easier to help the patient. Candy said that people may look different on the outside but that “the soul is the same.” Absolutely. Candy also notes that Gabe has huge abandonment issues and family of origin trauma. There is no way that Gabe can even have an ounce of hope he can ever relocate his family of origin as he was left on the streets of Calcutta. Candy accurately describes Gabe as a “very sick boy” not a “bad boy” at all. Candy tells the father that Gabe not being connected to God feels like just one more failure in his life.
Because Gabe is onto the Intervention, Candy decides to do something different and surprises Gabe at his house.
Amanda, his closest sister, is constantly worried that she may be breaking Gabe’s confidence by lying to him about the intervention. Fortunately, Candy addresses this and tells Amanda not to worry, that if she doesn’t break his confidence, he’ll die using and missing his chance for rehab.
Amanda tells Gabe she’s constantly worried about him, wondering when he’ll die or if he’ll die and that it would “break her heart” if he did. She further goes on to say, “I love it that you trust me but this has become such a heavy burden for me that I can’t continue this way.”
Dad talks next. “I’ve seen how this addiction has ruined everything and your attitude with authority. Drugs have you, you don’t have drugs. I’ve talked to you about consequences and choices, I’ve talked to you plenty but you have to take control of this problem addiction.”
Candy then shares her story of being adopted and using drugs and alcohol to numb her pain and that she too had to go thru all this pain before seeing a way out.
Mother talks next. She assures him he is loved and that she worries every day about him. She then tells Gabe that though she loves him, it is he who has to follow thru and seek recovery.
Gabe goes off by himself and says, “Part of me wants to run. But I’m done.”
The Psychiatrist at the Pat Moore Detox Foundation in Costa Mesa, California states that there is a “kind Gabe in there” and they just have to “draw him out.”
He followed up treatment at Morning Recovery in Newport Beach, California. It ended saying that Gabe relapsed twice but did complete 5 months of treatment and has been sober since March 30, 2009.
What a heartbreaking story. Let’s everyone remember the 100th Monkey and let’s send loving good wishes and recovery to Gabe.
Watch the full episode here. Catch the next episode of A&E’s Intervention next Monday, Channel 39, Cox Cable at 9 p.m. 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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