Today I have the honor of interviewing a friend of mine who has just written a compelling memoir, The Interventionist, about addiction from the perspective of both an addict and an interventionist.
You begin your book with the quote from Khaled Hosseini’s book, The Kite Runner: “And that, I believe, is what true redemption is … when guilt leads to good.”
Do you believe your work with other addicts is partly what keeps you clean and sober? Why compels you to enter into such hopeless situations and try to fix things?
Joani: I think as the quote infers “when guilt leads to good,” my work with addicts and alcoholics assuages my own continued ambivalence about my responsibility about having this disease. It is not at all logical. There is no “choice” about having this disease. That has been proven by medical science.
But the behavior that is manifested during the active state of addiction is not pretty and I think that is where the lingering guilt comes from. So sometimes my frenetic work with other alcoholics is an atonement of sorts, turning guilt into good!