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Jasmine (Intervention Canada)

Season 16, Episode 10

Jasmine
Age: 26
Location:  Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada
Addiction: Fentanyl

What’s Memorable: Damn, that followup. She looked so much healthier, it was amazing.

Official Synopsis: Jasmine was extremely close to her grandparents, Reg and Pauline, so when Pauline suddenly passed away, Jasmine couldn’t cope and turned to opioids to erase the pain. Amazingly, Jasmine got control of her addiction and her life gained some new additions: a new career, a new boyfriend and a new baby. But when her relationship became abusive, Jasmine descended back into drugs. After losing custody of her three-year-old son, her use escalated to smoking fentanyl, a habit that costs her $1200 a day. As her family readies themselves for the intervention, they get devastating news: Reg has cancer.

Date Aired:  January 2017
Interventionist:
Maureen

Latest Post

Poll: Who Do You Want to See A Followup On? Part 1

Ok so they don’t do whole followup episodes anymore unfortunately, but they do the Skype “Legacy” updates.  So let’s say we have a say in who Intervention reaches out to next. Who do you most hope to see on a future Legacy segment?

This will be done in four parts so that there aren’t too many to choose from.  I couldn’t include every single person that’s ever been on the show, so I had to narrow it down. The people who will be listed in these polls will have 1) not already had a follow up episode or Legacy update  2) have not provided updates here (meaning we know how they’re doing based on their comments) and 3) are the ones who have gotten at least a few “where are they now, does anyone have an update” comments.  If there’s someone you know meets those requirements and they aren’t listed, let me know and I’ll add them to the poll.

If there’s someone listed here that DOESN’T meet those qualifications, just assume that I know that and I included them for a reason.

Vote!

Who do you most want to see a followup on? (Seasons 1-4)

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Latest Post

The End of Intervention and The Element of Surprise

As anyone who has been regularly watching Intervention for the last few years knows, the show is struggling. Ever since it was cancelled in 2013, picked up by LMN, and then re-picked up by A&E, things haven’t been quite right. Highly truncated seasons, Intervention Canada episodes being promoted and treated as “all new episodes,” wildly inaccurate marketing, and a drop in production values. There’s been speculation in the comments about what’s happening that I think should be discussed amongst us, the hardcorest of hardcore fans.

Some of you think these are signs that Intervention is coming to its end and it’s because the producers are having a hard time finding addicts willing to be filmed because they know it’s Intervention.  Here are some comment snippets from readers on a recent post about the 17th season of Intervention:

     “I have a feeling they’re having a hard time finding people here in the U.S. to participate.”

     “They might be finding it more and more difficult to seek out subjects who don’t realize they’re being filmed for Intervention.”

     “The surprise element is gone for US episodes….unless the users have been without tv and internet for the last 10+ years, they’re going to know it’s Intervention from the beginning.”

I totally understand that rationale, but I don’t think it’s true. I don’t believe that the element of surprise or knowing about the show beforehand has anything to do with Intervention’s longevity or the success of the intervention itself. Here’s why:

The show uses the Johnson Model of intervention, which is based on the idea that the addict needs to hit rock bottom by being shown in a confrontational but loving way, with the aid of a trained interventionist, how their substance abuse is affecting themselves and their loved ones, and by being given hard line consequences if they continue to use. Preparation for the intervention is intended to be done without the knowledge of the addict.

The ‘without the knowledge of the addict’ element of the Johnson Model has been compromised since the very first episode of this show.  I’m guessing that a solid majority of the subjects of Intervention knew very well that this “documentary about addiction” was going to end in a confrontation of some kind. They had long lost relatives, ex-lovers, friends they hadn’t seen in years suddenly coming into town for a visit that just happened to be while they were filming. They had a camera crew there documenting their every move for weeks. They were asked to go to family dinners just so they could be filmed either having it out with their families or avoiding the dinner because they got too fucked up.  None of these things is a particularly savvy way to keep an intervention a secret.

Addicts may be preoccupied and out of it a lot of the time, but we’re not stupid. Actually there are quite a few ways in which addicts are way smarter than your average normie. One of them is knowing how and when to be skeptical of offers from strangers promising neutrality, especially strangers with cameras. Another is that we know when our family and friends starts acting weirder than usual when it comes to enabling and co-dependency. Addicts are quick to pick up on attitude shifts and changes in behavior that seem like they might get in the way of getting whatever it is we need. These changes are well-tracked in the addict brain.

But beyond all that, I truly believe that a majority of the addicts on Intervention not only suspected that they were going to be confronted in some way, they wanted something to happen. Maybe not necessarily a filmed intervention, but they agreed to let the cameras document their lives while they were at their absolute worst, not because they were looking for fame or because they wanted to educate others about addiction, but because they knew something had to change. They didn’t want to find a lower bottom, they wanted this bottom right here to be their rock bottom. They wanted to believe it would never get worse than this, what they’re doing right now, on camera. This is it.

I strongly believe that agreeing to have your addiction filmed is a cry for help, whether you think it’s for a documentary about addiction or a popular reality TV show called Intervention. If you’re inviting cameras in to film you shooting up in front of your kids or chugging hand sanitizer from your bed, you’ve most likely arrived at a bottom. It may not be your ultimate bottom, but it was definitely your bottom at the time.

It’s in this way that the interventions on Intervention do not and cannot adhere to the Johnson Model. It’s just not possible. This kind of intervention is in a league all its own;  it follows different rules and has different outcomes. Maybe it should be called the A&E Model of Intervention, which is the Johnson Model without the element of surprise but add in there an invasive camera crew, an editing team, and a massive audience.

There are a whole bunch of addicts that found out that it was an intervention, if not the show Intervention, during filming.  At least 10 that we know about and I’m sure many more that just didn’t make a thing about it on camera. Only one of those people refused to attend the intervention or treatment. That was Marquel, who probably would’ve refused treatment whether or not she found out about the intervention because throughout the episode like she seemed like she was trying to prove she DIDN’T have a problem more than anything else. 4 others chose not to go to treatment, none of them seemed to know they were headed towards an intervention.  There are also a handful of addicts that did NOT attend their intervention but still went to treatment.

Here’s my point: Knowing that they’re on Intervention has minimal if any impact on whether an addict accepts treatment.  There may be no surprise in the intervention but the fact that they’re being filmed increases the likelihood that they will go to treatment, possibly even beyond what a surprise intervention could do. In other words, it seems that agreeing to being filmed is a stronger indicator of willingness to go to treatment than either knowing that they’re on Intervention or even attending the actual intervention.

As to whether this lack of surprise is causing the show’s demise – I don’t believe so, at least not directly. I certainly don’t think they’re having any problem finding addicts willing to participate. This Vulture article from 2015 reported that the show still gets “plenty of leads for good stories, mostly submitted by family members, and more often when the show is airing on television.” I get several comments and emails a week from people asking how to submit their loved one to the show.  Now whether the number of submissions that are good candidates for the show has gone down is unknowable to all but the show runners.

What qualifies a “lead” as a potential episode has a lot to do with how interesting their stories are and how well they can tell them on camera, and also how dire their situation is.  If the producers were to say that not knowing about the intervention was a requirement for filming and airing the episode, I’d say they’re full of shit. They did an intervention on Sarah, who just the year before had featured heavily in her own grandmother Elena’s Intervention episode. They expect us to believe Sarah had no idea this “documentary” was Intervention or that there would be an intervention at the end? Nope.

I know that Candy discussed Andrew’s bulimia episode somewhere (was it the I Was There special episode? I don’t remember), saying that they don’t usually continue with interventions where the addict finds out about it, but that they discovered during filming that Andrew had submitted himself to the show and they continued with the intervention because of how sick he was. I’m glad they did, they likely saved his life. In fact, I’m glad they conducted every single intervention that they did because a lot of those people are alive right now because of it. But if you add self-submitted Andrew to all the other episodes where addicts found out about the intervention and the episode still aired, all the way back to Season 3’s Dillon, and you also consider that they agreed to film an obviously Intervention-aware Sarah, I question how serious they’ve been about that rule for the last 14 seasons. I have to challenge the idea that not knowing that there might be an intervention on the show Intervention is even a requirement for being filmed anymore. Like I said, they stopped strictly adhering to the Johnson Method when they brought a camera crew in. They don’t have a whole lot of ground to stand on if they’re filtering out addicts who know the show exists or find out about the intervention during filming.

If the cause of Intervention’s decline in the ratings has anything to do with the production of the show itself, it might be more about the editing than anything else. Its narrative formula is tired. The structure of the episodes has been the same 227 times (plus 3 seasons of Canada) with some slight deviations in Season 13.  There’s something a little icky about watching something so serious about other peoples’ lives and knowing exactly what the segment that begins with a certain musical cue is going to be about. When a show like this so adamantly sticks to a formula, it feels like you’re watching a scripted series instead of an honest portrayal and when that happens, it’s harder to relate to the people onscreen. The true value of this show, other than getting addicts sober of course, is to help the viewing audience understand addiction and be more sympathetic towards addicts and their families. If you’re unable to do that because you need to squeeze two episodes into one due to programming schedules and you end up cutting out all the things that made those individual stories actually relatable, you’ve failed to accomplish your goal of getting people invested and then they will stop watching. Ratings go down.

The only thing that surprises me about Intervention anymore is how the addicts deal with the intervention and how they’ve been doing since. Those things are entirely unpredictable. There’s no way to know which ones are going to thrive in sobriety and which are going to relapse after a week. There’s no formula for that. Those are the only things that are unpredictable about Intervention now. Maybe the one and only ‘element of surprise’ that matters is the one about whether or not they get clean, the family heals, and things get better for them. The producers of the show have no control over that. So perhaps they should let go of the premise of a surprise intervention and focus more on the surprise of how they’re doing now? Just one idea.

I hope that Intervention continues for many years. I sincerely hope they make changes to keep it on the air, but even if they do nothing I will still watch every single episode and I hope you all do too. It’s one of the most important TV shows that has ever existed, valuable in ways that I think even the producers and interventionists don’t quite understand.

I look forward to reading your thoughts on the longevity and purpose of Intervention in general. Let’s discuss!

Latest Post

Update September 20th 2017

Hello Intervention Fans! It looks like this season has come to a close, or it will after next week or maybe the week after that, no one is quite sure. Not even the people at A&E! (See previous update and comments). I wonder if the network actually knows exactly what’s going on but the folks running the website and social media are out of the loop? Or understaffed by interns? No idea but yeah, what’s happening with Intervention right now and in the future is a real mystery.

During the upcoming off-season I’d love to do some improvements and random cool stuff on this site. I’m developing a FAQ page about the show and the site, questions that come up a lot in the comments. I’m working on getting better info on older episodes that I posted sort of haphazardly back in the day when I was just starting. I want to flesh out the Interventionist category so that all episodes can be indexed by the Interventionist (currently only about 60% of posts have the Interventionist listed). And I’m cross referencing older episodes with the A&E site to make sure the episode number and season is consistent with what A&E has. I need to finish up watching older Intervention Canada episodes.

I also wanna do some new polls, and here’s where you my beloved readers come in. Any polls you would like to see? Commenter Galusha had a good idea for Best Episode by Interventionist (i.e. Candy’s Best Intervention). I like that. Any other ideas?

And if you have suggestions about any other features I could incorporate, please let me know.  I am not willing to add a new category and then go back and watch 227+ episodes to see if they fit in that category, so maybe don’t suggest that. I mean there are some categories I wish that I had added at the beginning, but at this point it’s too hard to go back. But I could add some more “Mosts” maybe?

Anyway if you’ve ever had a burning desire to tell me something you wish Intervention Directory had, now is the time to do it.  WHAT DO YOU WANT?

Also you’ll notice I put a ‘Donate’ button over there on the right.  I considered allowing limited ads in order to cover the costs of hosting/domain registration, and to see if I might be able to get some revenue going since the traffic is pretty high, but I decided you guys would probably hate seeing random ads on here (and so would I) and it wasn’t worth pissing y’all off.  So instead I will just hope that the nice folks who come here will have the willingness and resources to help me out with this thing a little bit. No pressure though, no guilt tripping. Even if donations don’t even cover hosting I still plan on making improvements and keeping this site up as long as the internet exists. Donations would just make that easier on my wallet and give me some extra motivation to hunker down and get shit done here.

Big shout out to Richard who saw the button and donated before I even published this post today. You are most kind sir, thank you.

And thanks to everyone else who comes here regularly.  You give me life.  🙂

-Dizzy



 

Latest Post

Samantha (Intervention Canada)

Season 17, Episode 8

Samantha
Age: 27
Location:  Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
Addiction:  Fentanyl

Official Synopsis: With the birth of her two daughters, Samantha gave up using crystal meth and heroin. But when she began consorting with figures from her druggy past, she fell back into addiction and soon lost custody of her children. Samantha’s family are desperate to help her be the good mother she once was, but now she is addicted to fentanyl and her very life hangs in the balance.

Date Aired:  September 2017
Interventionist:
Jesse

Latest Post

Ashley (Intervention Canada)

Season 17, Episode 9

Ashley
Age: 21
Location:  Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Addiction:  Crack, opioids

Official Synopsis: Ashley was a child prodigy on the TaeKwonDo octagon, headed for international competition had she stayed the course. But when the haunting memory of childhood molestation caused her to turn to the numbing effects of drugs at the age of 15, her athletic career was pinned to the mat. Now 21, Ashley is deeply addicted to crack cocaine and IV opioids. As she and her girlfriend are evicted from their apartment for their disruptive fights, excessive drug use and partying, her family fears that, without an intervention, Ashley will disappear into the streets forever.

Date Aired:  September 2017
Interventionist:
Jesse

Latest Post

Weirdest Season EVER

Well THAT was odd. Intervention’s Facebook page announced that last night’s episodes were the season finale.

 

The ‘all new season’ started on July 31st.  That’s 6 weeks.

 

What’s especially crazy is that there were only 3 U.S. episodes in Season 17.  Katherine, Tanisha, and Joshua.  All other episodes were Intervention Canada Season 3, which airs on the CBC Documentary Channel. The 6 episodes we saw either already aired on CBC or are scheduled to air in the near future. This is a partial listing of Intervention Canada Season 3 episodes:

 

I’m grateful to be getting episodes and all, but come on, this is nuts. Pull it together A&E!

I’ll be posting on the 2 Canada eps from last night later today I hope, and then I guess that’s it for this season.  Although you never know, they could come back in a month with ALL NEW EPISODES.

See ya!

Latest Post

Austin (Intervention Canada)

Season 17, Episode 6

Austin
Age: 21
Location:  Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Addiction:  Heroin, Fentanyl

What’s Memorable:  The family did this intervention just in time, right after he started using needles.  Once that’s the norm it seems like it’s harder to imagine getting clean and being sick feels a lot worse. The whole running away from the intervention and then him calling up mom a few weeks later and her reading the letters from the planned intervention, I think that might be a first for the show. Good job mom! Jesse’s approach to interventions is really interesting.  In the two I’ve seen, he always gets straight to the heart of what the family does NOT want to talk about and basically asks them “what did you to him to make him like this?” In a gentle way, of course, but it’s effective.  Both times the family had to address head-on what their role was and what the addicts’ triggers are. Seems like that’s a pretty good way to get the family to a place where they have a deeper understanding of the addict’s behaviors and know better how they’ll be able to help him during recovery.

Official Synopsis: Austin had everything he could have wanted growing up: the love and support of a close-knit family and an invitation to go to a school for gifted teens. But not wanting to be separated from his pals, Austin turned the offer down in favor of the local high school, a decision that led to a life of partying, and ultimately down the rabbit hole of heroin and fentanyl addiction. Now his family can only watch in horror as Austin wastes his considerable gifts on the relentless pursuit of his addiction.

Date Aired:  September 2017
Interventionist:
Jesse

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Alex (Intervention Canada)

Season 17, Episode 7

Alex
Age: 25
Location:  Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Addiction:  Alcohol

What’s Memorable:  You could just see how desperate Alex was for his talent to be recognized and how much pain it caused him to never feel good enough, and during the intervention he was so self-aware and honest about his addiction, it was all pretty moving. You can tell he was serious about putting everything he has into his sobriety and being healthy, using his music to heal instead of to prove something. He ended up being very inspiring in the end didn’t he?

Official Synopsis: The only child of a single mother and world-class fiddle player, Alex was surrounded by music from birth. His mother married when Alex was five, but after a few years the marriage deteriorated and life became difficult at home. Friction with his stepfather left Alex increasingly isolated and he turned to the fiddle to try and gain acceptance. Alex’s skill developed and he had some early recognition, but living in his mother’s musical shadow was difficult and he began to compensate with alcohol as a young teenager. Just as Alex was beginning his professional career, his mother and stepfather divorced. The combination of his family’s dysfunction and life spent on the road soon turned his fondness for drink into a debilitating, fall-down addiction. Now in his mid-twenties, Alex’s career is at a standstill and his health is rapidly deteriorating. Without an intervention, he could lose his career, his family and his life.

Date Aired:  September 2017
Interventionist:
Maureen

 

 

Latest Post

Robby (Intervention Canada)

Season 16, Episode 9

Robby
Age: ?
Location:  Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Addiction:  Alcohol (vodka)

What’s Memorable:  That was excruciating on several levels. Obviously the level of drunkenness Robby gets to is outrageous and troubling, but I was most disturbed by the fact that her family for the most part is ignoring the major trigger at hand – Robby is struggling in her transition and desperately needs their validation. She needs to know that they will allow her to be a woman, to see her as a woman, and she’s just not getting it from them. I understand that Janet and others think the alcoholism needs to be addressed before the transgenderism, and of course there’s truth to the urgency of the drinking problem, but I also don’t think they should ignore that fact that whenever she’s wasted she goes on and on about her gender and “what” she is, asking them how they see her. I also get how hard it must be for a family to suddenly change pronouns and think of their husband/father as a wife/mother. That’s obviously not an easy thing to do. But it’s been 5 years! Seems like that should have been enough time for them to get used to the idea and start using “she” instead of “he” all the time. The whole genderfluid thing seemed like she was coming up with something to make it easier on her family to accept, not that she was actually confused. She didn’t seem confused about her gender at all, she seemed unsupported and therefore tentative. I don’t know, I just feel like maybe they could have made more of an effort to acknowledge Robby’s gender instead of treating it like an annoyance and avoiding talking to her about it, especially given how much pain that exact thing was clearly causing her. Although who knows, we only saw short pieces of their life together, maybe they’re making more of an effort than it looked like in the episode. And also maybe she’d still be drinking that much even if everyone around her considered her a woman already. Addiction is complicated like that. I was deeply saddened at the end when she left treatment and didn’t communicate with the producers. I really wanted some semblance of closure on this one and that was about as ambiguous as it gets. I hope she’s ok.

Official Synopsis: Five years ago Robby came out to his wife of twenty-nine years and two sons as transgender, exploding their world and Robby’s own in the process. Already a heavy drinker, Robby’s drinking intensified after coming out. Now, terrified of losing her wife, and being alone for the first time in her life, Robby has become a blackout drunk, downing up to forty ounces of vodka a day. Once a fun-loving partier, Robby has become increasingly violent when drunk. The family fears for Robby’s safety as well as their own. Without an intervention, Robby is in danger of losing her family forever. (Canadian produced.)

Date Aired:  December 2016
Interventionist:
Maureen

 

 

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