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S22.E03: Amanda

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Devastated when she lost custody of her son, Amanda began drinking heavily and moved to Las Vegas for a fresh start. Once there she became seduced by the city's notorious party culture and started using methamphetamine. Her family encouraged her to seek help, but she cut off all ties with them. She is now homeless, living in the flood tunnels of Las Vegas, and smoking meth daily. Her family is concerned that Amanda's dependency on meth is only escalating, and the dangerous lifestyle she leads will result in her death. 

Original air date 2021.03.29

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Was pleasantly surprised that she made it -- the later it got, with not much time remaining in the episode and her "missing," I figured she was a lost cause.  The world of the tunnels was fascinating (and horrible). I've seen it depicted in a ton of TV fiction, but not often in "reality" shows like this -- I'd watch an episode following the folks from the nonprofit around for a day as they navigate through that world doing outreach.

Glad she left Vegas -- I can't imagine staying sober in that kind of environment.

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Stunned that the mom allowed Amanda to be involved with who was obviously a very grown man when she was 14. Perhaps ot was due to her alcoholism? She did say she’d been clean for 20 years. So I think that would mean she was still drinking when Amanda started dating the older man.

Horrible what happened to her son, absolutely disgusting the abuse he suffered. I kind of find it hard to believe that she had no idea the father of her child would be abusive towards their child. She supposedly took a nap and the father beat the child so bad that he became paralyzed and brain damaged. Why didn’t he just wake her up if he didn’t want to deal with a fussy baby instead of nearly beating the child to death? I could understand why the child was removed from her and the father and put into foster care, but why didn’t she try to get him back? Was it because she couldn’t deal with a now disabled child? And/or because she was suspected in the abuse case as well?

Despite them explaining the trauma that happened with the abuse and subsequent removal of her child from the home I feel like Amanda’s story was missing a lot. 

Anyway, I’m glad she went to treatment. She looked so much better after 75 days. She seems to have friends and family who love her. So hopefully she can stay clean.


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 I've worked in foster care and that system for a long time and there is absolutely some information missing about what happened to her son. I'm sure it was cut down for time, but there are so many things that have to happen for her to have her son removed permanently and placed for adoption. It can take years, even in the worst cases. The initial plan when a child is taken into care is always reunification. You have to fail at that before they change the permenancy plan. Information was definitely missing there. 

@tljgator, I would love a show like that as well. That outreach seems like a great organization and the tunnel world is indeed fascinating. Despite Amanda living in a tunnel and being on drugs, her little home with the shutters was actually well cared for, as much as a tunnel home made of boxes can be. Those outreach people seemed really great, I'm going to have to look more into that organization. 

She should never go back to Vegas. Ever. She looked great at the end of treatment and I hope she stays on that path because she looked not only physically healthier, but so much happier and freer as well. 

I really did not like that interventionist and I hope we don't see much more of him. He was arrogant and seemed to care more about bragging about his accomplishments than helping the addict and the family. He wasn't touting his own sobriety, he was touting his business abilty. And we all know that treatment is not 100% effective for everyone all the time, so out of those many people he treated, not all of them remained sober. He seems to think that he was the perfect treatment center. Maybe I'm wrong, but his attitude really rubbed me the wrong way. 

Edited by sara416
I had more thoughts
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I'm relieved I'm not the only one who thought there was... more... to the horrific abuse case. I'm also relieved that she went to treatment because she was already pretty close to rock bottom and I didn't think bottom lines from people she has no contact with was going to matter much. Another thing I was wondering is why everyone seemed so enthusiastic about her becoming a Vegas street performer. I mean, it sounded like it went well at first, but if my loved one washed out of a nursing career due to drinking (and trauma) and decided to run off to Vegas, I would be hugely worried, but they sounded like they were really happy about it.

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Amanda said that this was the first time she had left the baby alone with him.  I’m not going to fault her for taking a nap or going for a shopping trip ( or work or whatever).   The man was her baby’s father and he should have been able to care for him without abuse.  It happens and you’ve seen the newspaper articles about incidents like this.  The older I get the more I realize that you don’t really know anyone as well as you think you do. My guess is that since  the baby definitely couldn’t be released to the suspected abuser and couldn’t be released to her because Amanda didn’t have the resources to provide for the baby due to the medical needs he now had.  Amanda rattled off the issues the baby has - even in her addicted state - so it’s obvious she has thought about that baby daily. 

I liked her sister and the friend.  The mom not so much. Existential crisis - that’s the phrase she used at least twice  in her letter to a woman who was living in tunnels and just got released from jail.  Her letter sounded cold and impersonal. 

Edited by mythoughtis
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