Lights, Camera, Recovery
Lights, Camera, Recovery
Pine Rest Foundation
Celebration Cinema North
September 13, 2012
BY :: THE SPARKLY STELLAFLY
PHOTOGRAPHY :: TIM MOTLEY / TERRY JOHNSTON
Not a word that is used lightly. In fact, often time we will find ourselves avoiding the topic. But it is very real. A 2009 study showed that there were 23 million people in the United States (ages 12 and up) who are dealing with an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Only 2 million were getting the help they need. They may not want the help. Their families might be ignoring it and not encouraging them to get help. Or, they might want help and their families want to get it for them, but it is too expensive. Those are just a few reasons 40,000 people write and share their stories with producers of the A&E reality show Intervention every year. It is their last hope. They are desperate.
On Thursday night, the Pine Rest Foundation hosted an event at Celebration! Cinema North called “Lights, Camera, Recovery.” Kurt Schemper, a West Michigan native and producer of Intervention, was there to talk about the reality of addiction and about the show, which puts the topic of addiction in the spotlight. And since September is National Recovery Month, it was perfect timing.
In talking to Schemper prior to the evening’s event, he told me that of the 40,000 families that write to the show, only a handful of them are able to be a part of it. “Intervention” films 26 episodes each year. To date, the show has taken 238 individuals to treatment centers, with 77 percent still sober today. Intervention works with 150 treatment centers across the United States.
Over 400 people came out for this event, and before the main event started, they were treated to a cocktail hour with delicious hors d’oeuvres, a carving station, and a variety of cake pops. The reception took place in the lobby of the theater which had been transformed into a spectacular lounge by Jenn Ederer and the team at Modern Day Floral & Events. The centerpieces of orchid and hydrangea were the perfect complement to beautiful linens, and there were plenty of large sofas and chairs. As you were sitting there it was easy to forget that you were in the middle of a movie theater lobby.
From the reception, guests were directed into Theater 1 where the evening’s program took place. Pine Rest President and CEO Mark Eastburg, Ph.D. welcomed the group and introduced Dr. Eric Achtyes, a Pine Rest Psychiatrist and friend of Schemper’s from high school. Achtyes then welcomed Schemper to the stage, who talked a little bit about what Intervention is all about and how he became involved with the show. He quoted Frederick Buechner, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Schemper said that the place he is now is the place where God called him to.
As Schemper began to show clips from the show that represented the raw emotion that comes out in each episode, it was clear that it was having a powerful impact on the audience. These are real families dealing with very real problems. The clips featured were of Katie, a 25-year-old alcoholic with the binge eating disorder bulimia; and Elena, a 63-year-old addicted to meth. Each of these women had families who were at their last resort and while they love them dearly, they had the difficult task of giving their loved one an ultimatum—get help or lose their family.
The program continued with a testimony by a recovering addict, Melvin Michalski. He became addicted to pain killers, opiates. When Melvin got to the point where he wanted to die because he saw what his addiction was doing to his family and friends, he chose treatment at Pine Rest. After detox and the Intensive Outpatient Program, he has been clean for 11 months, and is now part of their Relapse Prevention Group. His family also received treatment for what they went through and that was a big part of his recovery. Melvin is now in training to be a recovery coach so that he can “give back to the Pine Rest community” that blessed him.
One of the key takeaways from Thursday night’s program was this: “You’re worth it.” Those who are fighting addiction need to know that they are worth it. They are worth the effort of their family to get them help. Their lives are worth living. If you are concerned about someone in your life that may be facing an addiction, you can contact Pine Rest. They have many resources that will help you and your loved one.
Thank you to the Pine Rest Foundation, especially Donna Bova, for the invitation to this event. Congratulations to the Chairwoman of the event, Peg Breon, and to all of those who worked hard to put this evening together. I think the impact of these stories will be felt for a long time by all those who were there.
Pine Rest Foundation on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PineRestFoundation
Intervention on A & E: https://www.facebook.com/intervention