Recovering Addict – Now Renowned Interventionist – Kristina Wandzilak Helps Others On New TLC Series “Addicted”
By Barb Oates
TLC is the newest network to tackle drug and alcohol addiction in its new one-hour docu-series Addicted, airing Wednesdays at 10pm ET beginning March 17. The series features renowned interventionist, author and recovering addict Kristina Wandzilak candidly helping families who are profoundly affected by addiction. Their stories are profiled in this heart-wrenching and unpredictable journey of recovery and struggle.
A journey Wandzilak knows very well. Sober now for over 16 years, Wandzilak spent her adolescence (beginning at age 13) indulging in alcohol and drugs, which eventually led to her leaving her family and upper-class home in favor of living on the streets to fuel her addiction.
“Addiction happens — people need to know that,” Wandzilak told us. “It is an equal-opportunity disease. It doesn’t matter if you live in a multimillion-dollar neighborhood or you come from the inner city. Addiction happens and there isn’t an equation to keep it from happening.”
And the number of people needing help is continually growing. “Addiction is everywhere. In fact, that’s one of my hopes for the show and that people have a new understanding of addiction and how it affects good people and decent families all the time. I’m never surprised at how many people need help, because I see it all the time — families struggling and hurting. I think what makes me sad is that families could reach out for help and intervention so much earlier than they do. They go on suffering — they prolong suffering much more than it needs to.”
Wandzilak describes addiction as an isolating disease and says many times family members feel ashamed and don’t reach out for help. ‘“People feel shameful — parents with addicted children in particular. And, I think parents admitting they don’t have control and don’t know how to help their child is profoundly challenging. That’s why it goes on for so long. By the time I get the call for intervention, it’s a very difficult call to make and I know that things must be very difficult for them. It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s humbling to say to a professional, ‘I don’t know how to help the person I love most.’”
Fortunately, Wandzilak learned the equation to recovery and sobriety long ago and has been living it ever since. She took the disease that nearly killed her and turned it into a career.
“I know addiction better than I know anything else,” Wandzilak says. “I know how to recover better than anything else. So I consider it a gift and a privilege to be able to pass this message on to those who want it. I consider it a privilege to live a life of service.”
A service she finds completely fulfilling. “I consider it such a privilege to watch addicts recover pieces of themselves. It’s like building a person.”