March 19, 1999
I think back to September 13, on that cool early morning when eight of us had such high hopes, feeling so confident that our intervention would end in a trip to the treatment center for our daughter. So many people had traveled so far and invested such love and hope in its success, we knew it couldn’t fail! Within a matter of minutes after such careful planning and professional guidance from you, so much positive energy, so many prayers, so much pain, so many tears, we couldn’t fail. When Tina walked out, I thought my world would end. Even through the debriefing, I couldn’t believe she was really gone and the intervention, ever so brief, was over. I kept thinking she’ll come back. We’ll have another chance to give her our gift of love and a chance, not just for life, but for a well life. We could hug her and tell her we all loved her and would stand by during treatment. I slowly came to realize that she wasn’t coming back, that we had to leave and each go our separate way with our own pain and loss. She had not accepted the greatest gift we had to offer. We had nothing to do but leave our letters of love and affirmation of our gift of life and literature from the treatment center. We were left with the memory of her frail, sick little body going as fast as she could over the mountain with her dog beside her. I felt completely hopeless. This was the end. I firmly believed I would never see my daughter alive again; we had done the best we could. We had given her the greatest gift we had to offer, the gift of life. She had walked away. Now it was our job to let go, to try to pick up the pieces of our lives and go on but the memory of her going over the mountain would be with us forever.
Exactly six months from that day in September, Tina called and said, “I can no longer do it alone. I need help and I have called the treatment center. Will you go with me? I am so scared.” That was six days ago.
This is Tina’s first day in treatment and the first day of the beginning of a new life for her. The most significant thing she told me was, “Not a day went by that I didn’t think of the intervention and all of you caring enough to come so far to help me. I read all of your letters over and over and the brochure from the treatment center. I finally came to realize that if all of you knew my terrible secret of both alcoholism and bulimia and still loved me and wanted me to get better, going to treatment was the thing I should do.”
I am writing to thank you, Ed. It’s been twenty years of despair wondering what more we could do for Tina. Through your guidance, we were able to let go. We had given Tina the greatest gift we had to offer. It was given with love and, importantly in this case, a gift she could accept any time. For her that was vitally important. Even though it took six months to accept, she was reminded every day through our initial letters that we loved her and the gift was available if she decided to accept it. This was comforting for us and finally worked for her.
When Tina decided to go into treatment, she called everyone who had been part of the intervention to tell them she was going and apologized for not accepting their gift at the time. She thanked them for being there and for their continued love and support.
I hope our story will give comfort and encouragement to other families in pain. Ed, thank you for showing us the loving way to help.