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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

It Is Me, Vinnie's Mom: Intervention, ADHD and the Family Crucible Continued

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Jan 21st 2010

It Is Me, Vinnie's Mom: Intervention, ADHD and the Family Crucible ContinuedTo my surprise and delight, Vinnie's Mom E. Mailed me about the article that was published here at Mental Help Net. After her daughter read the article she alerted her mother, Ivana, who then contacted me. She asked that her E. Mail to me be published so that, along with the television program and the article, people could learn more about ADHD, addiction and how to avoid the tragedy that has torn their family apart so very much.

The original article can be found on this site at the following URL:


The original program can be found on the A&E channel and should be ON Demand if you get cable TV.

"It is me, Vinnie’s Mom." 

"My daughter Michelle found your blog and forwarded it to me.  A lot of what you said is true, but the show also failed to mention a lot of things, mostly because of time I’m sure and probably to get their point across.  They can probably do a whole series just on our family.

I do want to point out to you (and I am not making excuses for myself or for Vinnie) but he was asked to leave the program for non participation in the group counseling. Vinnie fought that program from day one.  Maybe out of fear, maybe for his thirst to have drugs.  It is very hard for Vinnie to open up and share all of his feelings and NO, I did not fly him home FIRST CLASS like the show depicted.  The director of the program called to me let me know Vinnie was being discharged.  He was in the middle of Palm Springs, CA with not a dollar in his pocket.  All he had was a phone card.  I begged with him to return to the program, but I’m not sure if it was his pride or his freedom, but he said he could not return.  So yes, I told him to go to the nearest airport and I would get him a plane ticket home.  But believe me, it was not first class.  But that doesn’t matter, I broke my word and flew him home.  I could not stand to see him on the streets of Hartford, where he knows people and could probably find a place to stay, but in CA he knew no one.  So as his mother, yes, I flew him home.

There is so much more to our family background.  Not only was Vinnie physically and mentally abused by his father, but so was I.  Most people his dad comes in contact with are verbally abused.  But his father is not the evil person depicted.  He is sad, pathetic and ignorant.  He wants to keep us under his thumb so he would always have the upper hand.  I know he loves his children.  Does he know how to express his love?  No, he feels his part as a husband and father was to go to work and make sure we had the things needed, food and shelter and “toys”.  What we needed was a husband and father.  Not a race car driver who cared about spending all of his spare time with his cars.

Vinnie was hyper and out of control from the time he was an infant.  When he was born, and for the first few months, all he did was eat and sleep.  Then the naps became farther apart and he did not want to be restricted.  He would cry to get out of his play pen,  He loved playing in his “Johnny Jump Up”  the little swing that hangs from the door frame where he can jump and jump.  At eight months he was running and has not stopped since.  Both myself and my ex husband would loose patience with Vinnie,  We didn’t know what to do and no one had any answers for us.  My ex husband would say, “Leave him alone, he’s a boy”  Others would say, “Oh he has so much ginger” and so on and so on.  He was uncontrollable in school and labeled the bad kid.  Back then, in order for the school to help, they told me they had to label him as a behavioral problem so he could get into the smaller special classes.  But Vinnie was NEVER a bad kid.  He was hyper.  He would never hurt anyone or do anything bad to anyone.  The school’s solution – RITALIN!!!!!  My ex was against it.  I fought with him. Told him the school insisted we put him on the medication.  They did psychological testing on Vinnie and diagnosed him with ADHD.

He just wore me out.  And I thought Ritalin was going to be the “magic pill”.  But it wasn’t.  Vinnie said it just made him feel dopey.  Maybe my ex didn’t want to admit he had a child who had a problem – “No, not my child”

Maybe if we ignore it, it will go away, maybe he will outgrow it.

My children are all affected from my divorce.  There was so much trauma in our home.  No my ex was not 100% of the blame,  I am to blame also.  And yes, that is where most of my guilt comes from.  Why did I stay, why did I leave my children with an abusive man? Why, why, why!!!  But Vinnie also wanted to stay with his dad.  So I agreed,  I had no control on Vinnie,  He never listened to me, but he had a fear with his dad, and so again, I thought it would be best.  Again, another mistake. 

But I cannot change the past.  When Vinnie was 16 up until he turned 18 I lived in Florida.  When I came back, Vinnie came to live with me.  I had no control over him then either,  He would not follow the rules I set forth, and so again, he went to live with his dad.  He began using drugs, stealing, etc, etc.

A year later he came to live with me again.  Now at this point, I met a man whom I am now married to.  This is when I first found out Vinnie was smoking crack.  Again, I sent him to live with his dad.  Vinnie would do good, then relapse.  This went on for a few years.  He decided to move to FL to get away from everyone.  He went to live with his aunt and uncle there (his dad’s sister) and was doing well.  Working, not sure if he was doing any coke, but I know he was still smoking marijuana.  And he stayed there for 8 months.  Decided to come back to CT, lasted about 1 month, started smoking crack and left again for FL.  This time he lived with his other aunt for a short time, then moved in with one of his friends and his parents.  Again started doing heavy coke.  Lasted there 4-6 months and he came back to CT.  At this point, he was not allowed to live in our home, I bought him a 1 bedroom condo.  After 4 months of heavy crack use, he decided to leave again for FL.  Each time he would go to FL, I would tell him,  Face your problems here, get help, stop running.  Anyways, he left.  Rented an apartment from his uncle, met a girl and within 8 months married her.  To this day, they are still married.  But in June, she left him and went back home to FL.

Also, within all this time period, I tried desperately to get Vinnie into a program, a treatment, but he would not go.  At the time I was a secretary in the Emergency Room.  He would  call me to tell me he wanted to kill himself.  I would convince him to come in to talk to someone.  In the mean time, I would go and tell the psych clinician he was suicidal and needed a program.  When he would arrive, he would tell them he was fine and I was lying so they would discharge him.  I would plead with them, but since he was not a minor and he was not in harm, they would discharge him.  FRUSTRATION!!!!!  Most recently when I had him go to the hospital – because he told me he wanted to be admitted for his depression and addiction – he was sent to ADRC – a drug and rehab facility.  Not what Vinnie or I wanted.  I truly feel he needs more.  But again I was told “He had not attempted suicide and his problem is his drug addiction”  I wanted to scream.  Does he actually have to try to kill himself,  What if he succeeds!!!!!!!!!!!!  So Vinnie went to the treatment, stayed for about 5 days and left and has been living in my home ever since.  Is he still using drugs?  Yes.  Is it a struggle for him, Yes it is, everyday.

Do I enable Vinnie?  Yes.  Why?  Out of guilt and also I would rather give him the money so he doesn’t have to go steal it from someone and get into more trouble.  Should I let him suffer his own consequences?  Yes, I know I should, but my heart will not let that happen?  Am I bad for Vinnie, yes and no.  He knows I love him unconditionally which is why he takes advantage of things with me.  But yes, I am hurting him so much also.  Sometimes I ask myself, If I was strong enough to do the tough love in the beginning, would things have escalated this far??  Probably not. Or Probably so.  Would Vinnie be  better or would he be in jail or even worse, dead.  I do not want to bury any of my children.

In the interview, they asked me a question and my answer was, “Maybe if Vinnie was dead, it would be better.”  Oh what an awful thing to think, never mind say to the world.  It is not what I meant.  What I meant was that he is so sad, so lost, so hurt, that I cannot get thru to him. Let him know life is worth living, things can get better – but to let him be in peace.  Would I or anyone else in my family ever be in peace – definitely not.  I love my children so much, that yes, I am loving Vinnie to death.  I am scared everyday that my biggest fear is going to come true.  I was told by the interventionist when I told her I did not know what to do anymore, her response was, no you are not the professional.  We are sending him to a place where they are professionals and will know what to do.  Well, guess what Dr Schwartz, the professionals could not get through to him either.  Am I blaming them, no.  Am I disappointed, YES.  Again, I thought this intervention was going to be the end, that Vinnie would open up and accept this wonderful gift given to him and FINALLY get the help he so desperately needs.

Why I chose not to go to Betty Ford?  Mostly out of fear ( my excuse which is true, lack of funds – plane, hotel, food).  But then again, I asked myself, yeah I can go, but if Vinnie continues to do drugs and harm himself, how is that going to change things for me.  I will still worry, still want to help him – so I don’t think any program is going to help me.  I will always want to help my children.

OK, so after watching the show, and with the encouragement of my daughter and my friends, I thought, “What do I have to loose”  I’ll give it a try.  I’ll go – I’ll tell them how I feel.  Will it make Vinnie stop using drugs by me going to the clinic?  Most likely not.  Vinnie has to stop using drugs because Vinnie wants to stop.

So today I made the call.  I received a voice mail back from Mary, the director,  States they will still honor the scholarship and to call her tomorrow morning.

So, let’s see what happens.  My husband thinks its going to be a waste of time because he feels I will not follow through with what I learn.  Maybe I will, maybe I won’t , but I will not go there with a closed mind.

Now regarding my youngest son – yeah the show depicted him to be heartless and non caring.  Crying that he was spending his birthday there.  Salvatore also has a wall up – can’t get hurt that way.  But what he was saying that was cut out of the program was “Vinnie, today is my birthday and rather than celebrating, I am here with you, to support you.  As a gift for my birthday, please go and get yourself some help”  He was not feeling sorry for himself because he was there on his birthday..

As for calling his brother a loser, yes that is how he feels.  That is what he hears everyday from DAD. Vinnie is no good, vinnie is a f’in moron, Vinnie is stupid, an embarrassment.

Dad is frustrated, embarrassed.  But yes, he does love his son.  Maybe this is his way of tough love now, but should we have treated Vinnie the way we did as a child – DEFINITELY NOT.  Yes ignorance and stupidity on our part.

Dr Schwartz, I have always and still do tell Vinnie how smart he is, what a great person he is and to ignore what his dad says to him.  I try to build up his self esteem and with one word, his dad knocks it all back down.

Well, enough said –



Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Vinnie - Gen - Feb 4th 2015

vinnie, if you're reading this, please don't give up. Just keep trying. Every day is another chance. And obviously besides just dealing with drugs you have abuse, maybe PTSD, being sensitive/an empath, which just makes the abuse worse. And you need to realize that your family is doing the best they can but they are never going to be the family you want or need. I think that would help you to get better. Just please don't give up. You can have a great life. I promise you. Find a place that can treat a drug addiction AND mental health help. 

laughing - - Dec 7th 2014

i think vinnie is wonderful, and he, the mother, the sister, and the brother are all funny as hell.  vinnie reminds me of myself and their family loves eachother and likes eachother, and vinnie is hyper and smart but cannot stop his impulses, does not think ahead, and he is so gifted intellectually and physically, but his mind just races and it is like i feel, and i laughed my a*s off during the episode, and i feel happy.  but i am sad that he will be unhealthy cuz of the crack, but he is hot and if i were not fifty i would be really hot for vinnie.  i think he is awesome.

Vinnie! I don't know u but I LOVE YOU BROTHER - Freddy - Jul 23rd 2014

Just saw a rerun of the vinine episode and am embarrassed how Vinnies family

(except for sister) don't know how to communicate to this talented, cool, smart, real young man. Vinnie my brother - YOU are the good one in the family. You have a great heart bra- just are crazy sick with a Dad that simply didn't know how to be a dad. Get therapy, go to AA, go to a psychiatrist, start riding again and love yourself. RUN away from your family bro- they're sicker than you.

If you're ever in LA - hit me up- we'll hit a meeting you crazy bastard! 




Brother - - Jul 23rd 2014

I commend the mom, sister, and Vinnie for sticking with the fight you all are SO strong. I hope the best for you.

But I think the person who really needs help is the brother!! What a heartless, selfish, lazy, COWARD!!!! He continoulsy calls  his brother a loser, while he sits around and lets his family struggle and he can't even bother to lift a finger or even offer support. If anyone on that episode is a "loser" it is 100% the brother. Who abondons ther FAMILY because they are too much of a p*ssy or too lazy or self-centered to deal with the situation or offer any help at all?

Sad - Haley - Mar 28th 2011

I'm just so sad for Vinnie - the only thing I can think is that he needs a hug - MANY hugs - all the time.  I do not have background in this area but I've just watched this episode and all I can think of is giving this poor man love.  Probably wouldn't make up for what he has suffered already but it seems to me he's just aching for nurturing and love.  Feel a hug, Vinnie - life is worth living. 

Addictions - A struggle of self - Anonymous - Dec 28th 2010

I have been in a similar situation to that of Vinnie and let me just say that Vinnie is the only one who can help himself.  12 step meetings, and religion do more harm than good.  With the exception of pure medicinal treatment of symptoms, skip everything else. 

If you look at the statistics of these programs, the ones that actually do maintain statistics, more than 90% of people drop out.  They teach you that you are not responsible for your addiction and that you are completely powerless over it.  Nothing is done about the underlying issues that most likely contributed to the addiction in the first place.  12 step programs have not changed over the past 60 or so years despite whatever new evidence has come out.  Worst of all they preach in a cult-like manner and teach you that there is a moral "cure" to your addiction.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  You and you alone made the choice to get addicted in the first place.  Addiction is not a disease, you don't have a choice whether or not to get sick, but you had a choice to make in your addiction.  However clouded that choice might have been by other mental health factors, it was still a choice.  You need to realize that and educate your self about your mental health issues and learn ways of exploiting your own behavior.  Rather than making excuses by believing it wasn't your fault, your family did it to you, you had no control over it, wake up and realize that you do.

One of the things that I learned in my struggle of addiction was that my underlying obsessive compulsive disorder was a stronger force than what I had anticipated.  Over time I learned to how to exploit my disease and use it to overcome my addiction.  I replaced a destructive addiction with a healthier, self-bettering one.  Everyone has addictions, its how the manage them and not let them get out of control that separates addicts from non-addicts.  Find out what you need to do and do it.  Rely on others when you feel you have to, but don’t let that become an addiction either because when they are gone so is your soberness.

issues - Debbie - Dec 27th 2010

As long as this mother makes excuses for her actions and her sons actions, Vinnie will never get better.

I also agree that his ignorant father needs to step up to the plate and show his damn kid some love.

Vinnie is a very very handsome guy, I wish him all the best so he can flourish and have the family that he deserves.

All my best Vin,


Vinnie's Dad - - Dec 13th 2010

I really think Vinnie's dad needs to suck up his pride and tell his freaking son he loves him. So what if you are Sicilian and it's not your "way of showing affection". So what if you think Vinnie should already know that! I think that Vinnie's dad is letting his pride kill his son. I think that if Vinnie's dad came forth and proved to him that "hey son, I care about you and I want you to get some treatment, I want to understand your problems and help you live a better life" then it would be all the motivation in the world for Vinnie. I think that it must have been so difficult for Vinnie to go to that treatment center for almost a month and break out of his 8-year long addiction then to come home and try to work with the father again was a disaster in the making. Shame on Vinnie's a bigger man and show some affection to your son the way HE needs it!

But hey, Vinnie: let's be realistic here, your dad is probably too proud to ever do that, so unfortunately you are going to have to accept him for the way that he is and realize that you are not the one who is stupid or's him, so make your decision if you are going to let his heartlesness kill you.

For Vinnie - Sahri - Dec 13th 2010
Dear Vinnie, I want you to know that I've been where you are at and that life DOES get better if you stop using but you have to give it time. I can tell you are not stupid, not retarded, etc. I think it is terrible if you truly believe that. Please don't give up on yourself...I promise that life is better on "the other side". It may take you getting away from your family to make it happen.

Update on Vinnie? - - Oct 12th 2010

I just saw Vinnie's story, I really feel for him ... I was wondering if anyone has any more information on Vinnie's situation as of now?

Don't work for your father, Vinnie! - Lisa - Jun 29th 2010

Vinnie - I hope you read this or someone tells you - DO NOT work for your father!  Get a job and do it on your own!  Go to 12-step meetings, go back to rehab, get the right meds for your ADHD.  Your father is ill and you need to let him go.  I wish your brother wouldn't work for your dad.  Your brother should stand up for you and tell your dad to stop saying things about you.  Maybe he should quit working there and tell your father he wants nothing to do with him because of the way he has treated you.  You need to live in another town, away from all the triggers of your past.  With the right medication and support, you can beat this and go on to have a wonderful life.  You must have therapy.  Please consider going back into treatment.  I hope your mom stops enabling you.  If you have to make it on your own, without your mom, you may just stay in treatment and get better.  Good luck.  My prayers are with you.

srry this is the only thing that stuck out to me - - Jun 28th 2010

Vinnie is a really sexy guy and if his mom or sister comes on this site will you plzz tell him that many ppl that saw this episode thought he was a total hearthrob!!! I hope and pray he gets the help he needs and I see a light in him that apparently nobody else seems to see. I'm no ex-addict and I don't know much about them I just luv watching the shows evn though they make me cry but he can stop using ur family makes it impossible though I kno u guys dont mean to.Thnks 4 reading.

Michelle - - Jun 28th 2010

My heart goes out to Vinnie. More importantly, I think Michelle is a knockout and I can't stop thinking about HER!! Anyone know more about her?

a form of witchcraft - Ana - May 2nd 2010

Horoscopes are exactly that...Horror scopes, this is a form of witchcraft and yes his Aunt did pronouce a curse over Vinnie's life and Family...Also, most of the time a child that has a history of abuse and emotional needs are not being met, people are quick to diagnose that child with ADHD because they don't want to take personal responsibility. Children don't know how to express what they are feeling well and it is manifested in many different ways...Vinnie has been battling with demons since a child,  and since he has no coverage in the spirit, he was left wide open and the enemy came in strong. Vinnie is a very sensitive person emotionally and has a huge heart, Vinnie also has a strong call...But by faith I break the bondages of self destuction, suicide, addidction(pharmokia), abandonment, rejection, abuse, ADHD, and all spoken curses over his life from his aunt and family in the name of Jesus Christ!  I release his destiny to the devine destiny of the Lord Jesus Christ, and proclaim that he will be a mighty instrument in the hands of the Lord for the salvation of many others. Everything is possible for those who believe...Amen!

from vinnies eyes - Jeff - Apr 20th 2010

This show hit home for me in many ways. I too am a drug addict from Hartford area and have met and used with Vinnie a few times. I'm currently in a sober house and attending 12 step meetings on a regular basis. I, too, was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and I feel in Vinnies case it does contribute but Vinnie ia an addict. He has the disease of addiction which is not anyones fault.Vinnie is not responsible for his disease-but he is responsible for his recovery. I feel for the family-but they need(especially his mom) to cut off all communication with him if he chooses to use. They are loving him to death. My family did the same thing his family does and it did not help.The only way i chose to get clean was because I was sick of the pain I endured. If family gets in the way and alleviates Vinnies pain he will never have the process and feel what he needs to feel. Every meeting I go to I pray for the addicts who still suffer, and I hope that one night I'll get to see Vinnie at a meeting. Until then, him and his family will remain in my prayers.


                                                                      Jeff S.



Spoken words - Tammy - Apr 20th 2010

I think Vinnie's dad needs help. All the years Vinnie heard how stupid he was, how much of a loser he was , it became him. If that is all you ever hear that is how you will become. I know that Vinnie's siblings are not into drugs, but I am sure they too have issues because of the words that were spoken over them. I would love to have Vinnie email me, I have some things to share with him that I believe will change his life forever. You might be saying how do you know that? I have been changed and I am still walking in the new life now for 12 yrs.

Speaking into existence - Tammy - Apr 20th 2010

I watched the episode of Vinnie's intervention, and my heart hurt so bad for him and his family. One thing really stuck out when the Vinnie's mother had said that her cousin or sister had brought over a horoscope that said Vinnie was going to bring her alot of trouble and pain. I believe that is where it all started. Vinnie's mother took that in her heart and claimed it to be true, and that brought curses upon not only her son, but the whole family. That word was spoken over her son and it should not have been that but it should have been a word to bless.

Where is Vinnie now? - Ana - Apr 20th 2010

Trying to find out any info to try and get in touch with this family or Vinnie. I believe I could help him. I have a ministry where he can come to receive healing and deliverance which is what he needs...Vinnie wants to be free and wants to overcome his addictions but until he receives healing and deliverance he will keep falling back. The strongholds and bondages have to be broken in his life first. If anybody has any information how I can get in touch with Vinnie or his family please respond to this with an email I could get back to you with. I don't really like putting my email or personal info on the internet.

vinnie - - Apr 20th 2010

I watched the show and it completely broke my heart.  No child should ever have to fight for their parents love and approval.  That should be a given when it comes to a parent.  Of course your child may disappoint you but having to constantly fight for your fathers approval, and fight for positive attention is no way for a child to grow up.  Of course Vinnie would have issues later on in life, if his entire childhood he was never recognized nor commended for positive things that he did.  I hope that Vinnie does in time realize that there is a whole world of people out there who do sympathize and empathize with Vinnie, and a great deal of people who really do love him.  Ivana, keep strong but don't let Vinnie go.  He has so much potential.  By the way, is there any way that we can get in touch with Vinnie?  Does he have a facebook or myspace?

Where is Vinnie now? - - Apr 20th 2010

Does anybody know where Vinnie is right now and how I might be able to contact him and his family? Either thru a blog that they read or personal? I might be able to help...

Damned if we do, Damned if we dont - - Mar 31st 2010

Gosh, My heart bleeds for this poor woman, I am her. We are torn between the Intellectual mind and the Emotional feelings. The sad fact is the mom could die before the son, I was dying over my son, no question about it, people can die of a broken heart. I grieved the death of my son while he was still alive, I grieved for 3 years, cried for a year, raged for a year and slept for a year, then I let him go. in fact I let everything and everyone go. I live alone in a luxury apt, around the corner from the marital home where dad and the 3 boys live. I focus on my own recovery not smoking, drinking, medical attention for thyroid, depression. Im a sick woman, I did the contracts and the bounaries, nothing worked, so I left it all. I can cope now that I live alone. I like it that way. To all the Moms out there, we are not doormats.  Open the front door and walk out, .... for a while anyway.

Just a little advice - Jillian - Jan 29th 2010

I feel that Vinnie's mother is doing what she knows best, which is trying to be supportive to her son. I really do hope that she does go to the Betty Ford Clinic for some therapy on how she is to cope with her sons addiction, but also how she can help her family handle their feelings in a more productive manner. I was really saddened to watch how disrespectful, ignorant and defensful Vinnie's brother was. I realize that growing up in his family, watching the conflicts between his parents and the constant struggles with Vinnie, has caused Sal to throw up walls. He is blocking his emotions by saying he doesn't feel for his brother anymore. He should watch the intervention show and see what a disgrace his words were and how much that must have hurt Vinnie. He should learn to see things through his brothers eyes as well. As for Vinnie, my heart really does go out to this child. I say "child" because he is still trying to be that child, figuring out who he is, and who loves him. If people say he is a "loser", "stupid", "worthless", he's only living up to those expectations that have been set for him. The more his family ignorantly calls him names and doesn't support him in a positive manner, the more he will live up to being worthless, and commiting stupid choices. It is who he is--right????

 I do feel that Vinnie's mother needs to listen to the professionals and do as they say. I think the family needs to honor Vinnie's disorder of ADHD, and validate his feelings of being emotionally abandoned by his father. These feelings just continue to be reaffirmed with the relationship he has with his brother. I think that the whole family needs therapy, and needs to be able to express how they truely feel in a trusting, open enviroment.

I wish you all the best of luck!

To Ivana - Julian P - Jan 24th 2010



I will preface this by saying my post here is based solely on your email to Dr. Schwartz.  I did not watch the show.  It is unlikely that I ever will.  I am doubtful that watching the show would  provide me with any ability to contribute insight to the situation since shows such as this are not reality based – nor are they presented with any genuine consideration for individuals, truth or humanity.


The most revealing thing I sense in your email, Ivana, is your insistence that Vinnie is loved by his father.  I am not convinced.  Love is not a word that comes to be true because it is spoken.  It is an action.  It is something that is conveyed – successfully conveyed – from one person to another.  You say, “There is so much more to our family background.  Not only was Vinnie physically and mentally abused by his father, but so was I.  Most people his dad comes in contact with are verbally abused.  But his father is not the evil person depicted.  He is sad, pathetic and ignorant.  He wants to keep us under his thumb so he would always have the upper hand.  I know he loves his children.” 


Your statement includes an enormous contradiction.  Being mentally and physically abused is not love.  It is the opposite or the absence of love.  It would be unfair of me to determine whether or not you or Vinnie’s father Loves Vinnie.  However, it feels fairly safe for me to say that Vinnie does not feel loved.  Part of what defines love is the success of its delivery.  If Vinnie does not feel it, then perhaps how it is expressed or conveyed can be reconsidered.  One of the things that may stand between your love and Vinnie, is your demand that his father loves him.  Why is it so important for you to believe that?  Is it possible that it is not true?  I can imagine from Vinne’s point of view, interpreting mental and physical abuse as love would be tragic on its own.   It is not an accurate estimation of love.  It seems that for Vinnie to accept that his father loves him based on his very real experiences, would be enormously self-defeating. 


I am not attempting to bad mouth Vinnie’s father nor hold him in any bad light. I am sure that he has reasons for being as he is and his circumstances, just like Vinnie’s, are understandable.  However, understanding and having compassion for Vinnie’s father does not change the truth about Vinnie’s life.  In terms of changing Vinnie's life around for the better, Vinnie's perspective is all that matters.  Allow him to have his perspective – if only so he can transition into a new, healthier perspective.  Since the truth shall set you free, I am simply attempting to shed some light onto truths that may be somewhat uncomfortable for you to look at or even think of, including the fact that while there was not any ill intent, Vinnie’s father has been incapable of conveying genuine love to Vinnie.  Also, your insistence that his father loves him may be counterproductive and an irritant to Vinnie’s troubles – a little salt in the wound, if you will. 


For you or Vinnie’s father to positively contribute to this situation, you have to look inward, rather than focus on Vinnie’s behaviors.  That is true for everybody.  Perhaps in Vinnie’s father’s case, Vinnie specifically reflects something about his father that his father “hates” about himself.  Therefore, since his father never found his way to accept or love himself, then it is impossible for him to extend love to Vinnnie.  That is just how life works.  You can’t give to others what you don’t have. 


I am raising all of these points as a means to shift your perspective a bit.  I do not mean to question your love for Vinnie.  If I am coming across as such, I apologize.  I am simply suggesting that you attempt to create new ways for you to express your love – so that it reaches him and has the powerful impact that only a mother’s love can have on her child – for both of your sakes.  It seems to me that stepping back a bit and allowing Vinnie to feel unloved by his father, for example (rather than demanding that he was loved), will bring Vinnie one step closer to feeling the love for himself that he deserves to feel.  He can’t let love into a place that is already filled with physical and mental abuse.  Allow him to purge his feelings which are a natural result of feeling unloved so a space is created for him to love and feel love, in the truest sense of the word.


With much compassion and respect,



begging for love and attention - dawn - Jan 22nd 2010

I am a police officer in Texas and I've seen what drugs can do to young people.  I happened to watch Vinnie's intervention, and it tore out my heart.  This guy seems super smart, talented and is BEGGING for love and attention.  I know his parents and family DO love him, but somehow his hurts are too deep and what he's getting now isn't enough, and he supplements that need with the drugs. I send my hopes and prayers to Vinnie and his family, and to his mom, all the strength a mother can summon in an attempt to do what she feels is needed for her child.  I'm not gonna address the enabling subject, or criticize Vinnie's mom, because she's doing a damn good job of beating herself up already.  I'm a mom too; I have a 19 year old son.  He's a good kid, just like Vinnie is/was a good kid. We can only do what we can do, and hope it will be the best for them in the end. 

Vinnie - Mandy - Jan 22nd 2010

First of all I am so proud to see that Vinnie's mom wrote this email. I hope that she has had a chance to read all of the positive things that people have posted about Vinnie. There has been a huge response to his episode.

No one..knows how painful it is to deal with addiction, until they are actually dealing with it. My husband, who's life parallels Vinnie's had nearly the exact same upbringing (strict abusive father)..even Sicilian. (They even look alike).  He has dealt with all of the same demons. He and I watched Intervention together and have not stopped praying for Vinnie since. This program really hit home in a big way.

I understand how difficult it is to be the enabler. Most enabling comes out of fear. What if you don't give them will they get what they are after? Will they be better off in jail, really? What if they owe someone money, and something really bad happens.  I get it. Sometimes, people go a little far with the "tough Love" advice.  My husband, now that he is clean, has told me there has to be a point where you say...I love you so much and you can know that I am here for you no matter what, but I can't participate in your addiction anymore.  He says that as an addict you have to know your options have run out, but that the love hasn't.

The best advice that I can give is pray that Vinnie has a break through and that he realizes that his life NEVER has to be this way again. There is hope in this world for him. I believe that Vinnie is going to make it.  It may be in years to come may be next week. He was blessed with a good heart and seems to be an awesome guy...God knows his heart...regardless of what he is doing.

Please know that Vinnie has people praying for him in NC.



Yes, sad. - JR - Jan 22nd 2010

Vinne is very fortunate in having on his side a brave supporter like his mother.  He may be troubled - but he is by no means helpless, and by no means without help. 

His mom makes one very important statement - "Vinnie has to stop using drugs because Vinnie wants to stop".  Yes, indeed.  This is not, in the end of the day, a matter of "programs", or "helplessness" or "clinics" or "fellowships", or "God(s) as we understand Him (/Them)" or any such peripherals.  The substance abuser will only stop abusing if he or she recognises that they are sick and tired as a result of their abuse; that they are "sick and tired of being sick and tired" and that they wish in consequence to commit to stopping.  How any individual reaches this point will, ultimately, be individual.  Programs, fellowships, clinics - these may help, but it will be a case of "horses for courses".  And some horses may be suited to no course laid out by another, beyond their own "three-acre paddock".  In the end, we all have to decide how to help ourselves, and how we may best (if we are lucky) be helped.

I wish Vinnie and his brave mother all the very best,


Sad Commentary - Lynne - Jan 22nd 2010

I think it was brave of Vinnie's mom to respond to your post, and although she's in denial about the extent to which she's causing more harm to Vinnie by enabling him, at least she will seek help for herself. I hope she truly keeps her mind open, but I know that will be difficult. As a mother, I wouldn't want my child on the street either, but I wonder how she would feel if Vinnie OD'd knowing it was her money that paid for the drugs that killed him. I wish her well in her journey, and I hope Vinnie finds a bottom that gets him into recovery instead of a grave.

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