A new season of A&E’s Intervention premiered this week and, as The Ashley previously told you, this season features a different format than seasons past.
To mark the new season’s premiere, interventionist Ken Seeley took to Reddit for an AMA session where he answered viewers’ burning questions about the show and the intervention process.
With this season focusing on opioid addiction in the “Heroin Triangle” of Georgia, Ken explained that it’s a particularly difficult addiction to break; however, he’s confident that it can be done when the right steps are taken.
“ … if you do an intervention and get the family on the same page, the success rate jumps 50 percent according to recent studies,” Ken said. “That’s our job as interventionist is to help the family learn to move forward appropriately.”
Ken added that he believes the United States can overcome the opioid crisis by following doctor diversion programs and aftercare.
“We could make a huge change,” he said.
Below are Ken’s answers to some of the most-commonly asked questions he gets about the show.
Q: The show has been on for years. How do the addicts still not know that they are filming for ‘Intervention?’
“They don’t [know] because of the way it’s set up,” he wrote. “They don’t think it’s a production. It doesn’t seem like TV, they don’t connect the dots.
“They have no idea that they’re on the show ‘Intervention,’” Ken added. “If they do we shut down production. They have agreed to be filmed and are approved by a doctor.”
Q: How do the producers decide which of the show’s interventionists to match with each addict?
Ken explained that all participants on the show are seen by a doctor prior to the intervention process to ensure they are stable enough to handle it and each one is matched with an interventionist after producers get to know the addict’s family and more about the addiction.
“Each [interventionist] is picked by the producers after getting to know the family and getting information about the addict,” Ken wrote. “It’s like picking the treatment center, knowing the family and the addict, which treatment center and interventionist would be best for that family system.
Q: How do the producers decide which addicts to feature on the show?
As for the severity of the addictions and choosing who to intervene, Ken said the selection process can be difficult.
“Anyone that is asked to come in and intervene on someone, it’s that bad,” he said. “If there’s a question at all, it’s that bad. It’s difficult to select who to intervene because so many people need this help.”
Q: What’s the hardest part of being an interventionist on this show?
While he’s been part of many ‘Intervention’ success stories, Ken acknowledges the difficulties that come with what he does, including knowing there were individuals unable to break their addictions.
“The hardest part of my job is helping families understand that they have a problem,” he wrote. “If they change their behavior, they can get a different result from their loved one. Most families believe it’s the addict that has the problem and don’t want to look inside.
“I have many moments and people that stick with me,” he added. “The ones that stick with me the most are the successful ones that have years of recovery, like someone who I intervened just celebrated 11 years sobriety. And some of the difficult ones stick with me, like when family members lose loved ones.”
Q: What’s your most-memorable ‘Intervention’ story?
“One of the ones that I’m proudest of is the episode where he fought us really hard and refused to go to treatment to the bitter end,” he wrote. “But when he surrendered he was able to spend his last few days before passing away from cancer with his loved ones clean and sober.”
Ken admitted he does have some regrets, though.
“Regarding the ones that I would do over, are the ones that may not have been successful and didn’t go into treatment,” he wrote. “I would like to go back and see what more I could’ve done to get the families to get their loved ones to surrender and into recovery.”
Q: How successful is ‘Intervention?’
In a Q& A session on the ‘Intervention’ Facebook page, Ken’s fellow interventionist Candy Finnigan gave some stats on how many of the addicts they help on the show actually stay sober.
“Over 78% of the people stay sober which is incredible. I am very grateful for that,” she wrote.
While Ken admitted that addictions to opiods are hard to break.
“I think the worst [addictions] to detox from are Suboxone and Methadone they have the most painful detox physically,” he added.
Ken stated that for an addict to stay clean, a longer rehab stay is often required.
“I think the treatment industry is changing, where they’re not looking at treatment as 30 or 90 days they’re looking at 1-5 years of case management and supportive help to gain long term recovery,” he wrote.
Ken, who is a recovering addict himself, revealed that he still works to maintain his sobriety, even decades after getting clean.
“Even though I have over 28 years sober, I still have to work a program and do things myself,” he wrote. “There is no destination; recovery is a process.”
To read Ken’s full Reddit AMA, click here!