Joani Gammill, a registered nurse, recovering addict and mother of two has just written an account of her career as a professional "interventionist" after an appearance on the Dr. Phil Show that sparked her own recovery. The Interventionist, published by Hazelden, recounts some of her most dramatic and frustrating interventions, arranged by addicts' families, and how they have furthered her understanding of the disease of addiction.
Rosenberg: You describe many different types of addicts in The Interventionist. Some are poignant and pathetic, others are likeable but some are downright scary like Jeff.
Gammill: Yes, during transport to the rehab facility, I was afraid he would force the car over, strangle me or assault me. I feel I have post traumatic stress from that to this day; I feared for my life.
Rosenberg: Even though Crystal is streetwalking and has infections on her arms, face, ankles and in her eyes, you let her stay in the family home and are devoid of an attitude toward her.
Gammill: One of the biggest successes of my recovery is I immediately like and love the patients and see beyond the person to the disease which I suffer from too. In the case of Crystal, if I had not let her stay in the house, she would have been shooting up in some back alley in the hood or with some john.
Rosenberg: Still, do you think so-called normies, people who are not addicts, understand harm reduction? Or would this look like enabling?
Gammill: An addict isn't going to give up their drugs or alcohol on the spot because of something I do. I don't have that power.