I love watching the show “Intervention”. I was a “good” kid growing up and was never once tempted to try drugs or abuse alcohol. David says that if I were a super hero my super power would be an immunity to peer pressure. Indeed I have a sort of impervious attitude against what other people think of me. You combine that quality with the fact that I hate feeling “out of control” and you can understand why drugs and alcohol never held an allure for me. That makes “Intervention” fascinating to me. Why? Why do people do this to themselves? Why do they consciously choose to escape their own reality? But since becoming a mother the real underlying reason I watch is to answer the question, “could that be my kid?” I have this unquenchable desire to understand why people start drugs. What drives them to that choice? What could their parents or family done differently? How can I create an environment that shields my children from that same life choice?
Within the last month David and I have received the news that four of our friends are starting or finishing divorce proceedings. These are friends for whom we stood at their weddings. We bought presents, attended parties, wished them well and shared in their joy of marital happiness. We all started at the same gate with presents and dresses and ceremonies of one kind or another but we won’t all finish. The same fear and curiosity that drives me to watch “Intervention” makes me obsess over my friends’ divorces. What went wrong? How did two seemingly happy people grow apart? How did they end up hating each other? What happened? But the most important question is “am I next”?
It’s weird how we all get married, have kids, start careers and the tracks of our lives seem to run smoothly and parallel. Oh, we get busy and perhaps we don’t spend as much time together but we assume that our life experiences remain similar. Until one day you find out your friend’s life has taken a major detour and you never saw it coming. I’m not angry at my friends or even disappointed. I am sad. I am sad for them and fearful for myself.
Inevitably while watching “Intervention” it will come out that during this person’s past something traumatic happened. They were abused, molested, neglected, etc, etc. Some life-altering event happened that started this person’s downward spiral into drugs and alcohol. It is always easy to identify and point to the source of this person’s addiction and bad choices. But with divorce, there is no clear reason. Even an affair is not the reason for the divorce the problem started long before the affair. How do any of us know if we are doing the right thing? How can I avoid this happening in my own marriage? Overall I think David and I have a good marriage. We talk, we hang out, we care, we’re respectful, but didn’t everybody start off like that? When does talking and loving dissolve into resentment and distaste?
I wish I could fast forward to the part of the show where they tell me if the person stayed sober or fell off the wagon. I’m always hoping for a happy ending and perhaps the idea of divorce really messes with my desire for life to have neatly squared off corners.