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Episode 56: Tressa

Season 4, Episode 7


Age: 32
Location: Nebraska
Addiction: Meth
What’s Memorable: How humble and self-aware she is about how her meth addiction has affected her life. Her father being in denial of her being a lesbian and her whole family believing that she should get over it and have a relationship with a man and with God, that that would solve all of her problems. It’s all kind of tragic really, but Tressa is so strong and a total survivor. I really like her.

Official synopsis: Tressa, 32, attended college on a track and field scholarship and became one of the world’s top female shot-putters, earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. But Tressa’s dreams were shattered when a routine drug test revealed that she had been living a double life as an Olympic hopeful and an IV drug user. With her Olympic career in shambles, Tressa uses crystal meth daily as her life spirals out of control. Can her family step in and save Tressa before she loses not only her career, but her life?
Original Air Date: February 2008

Interventionist: Candy

Categories: Athletic/Competition Career End, Candy, Homosexuality, Meth, Most Likeable Addicts, Religious Family, Season 4


31 Responses to “Episode 56: Tressa”

  1. I wish only the very best for Tressa. She reminds me of someone I know, so that makes me feel close to her. I grew up in Iowa and am gay as well. Although I am older than Tressa, I can understand what growing up in the Midwest is like. I wish I knew her, or at least meet her via internet. She seems like such a beautiful soul…

    Posted by Marcy Williams | October 18, 2014, 9:01 pm
  2. Hasn’t Jeff Van Vonderen written several books about spiritual abuse? Because this is a fine case study right here.

    Posted by Clementine Danger | December 23, 2014, 10:14 am
  3. Favorite episode. Tressa seems wonderful. I must admit I was developing somewhat of a crush on her by the end of the show!

    Posted by m | April 29, 2015, 4:39 pm
  4. Sadly, I think she’s relapsed, from what I could find online (twitter/youtube accounts)

    Posted by M.E. | August 11, 2015, 7:05 pm
  5. Watching Tressa’s episode was painful. I’m slowly making my way through past seasons of Intervention, and this episode hit me really hard. It’s painfully obvious to anyone outside looking in that poor Tressa does not have a family that cares about her because she is gay. They simply cannot accept a major part of their daughter.

    There are so many Intervention episodes where the family is awful. I know that’s not a reason to use, but I honestly don’t know if I’d be strong enough to deal with the horror that some of these people go through.

    Tressa, you’re a cool lady and it’s not your fault.

    Posted by Rachel | October 26, 2015, 1:17 pm
  6. Met tressa back in 2010. She was working in a fitness business I was a part of. Saw her episode of intervention but kept it to myself in fear of people in the company misfairly judging her. She seemed to have it together living in southern California.

    Posted by Zach | February 20, 2017, 10:20 pm
  7. Hope you’re doing well, Tressa!

    Posted by Amanda B | September 18, 2017, 6:49 pm
  8. One of Tressa’s biggest obstacles to her recovery (and biggest triggers when she was using) was that her father was unable or unwilling to grasp that addiction and homosexuality are not moral issues. He, like many religious fundamentalists, sees everything in terms of right and wrong. The truth, however, is that addiction and homosexuality are biological issues and have little or nothing to do with morality, right and wrong. Tressa’s dad is incapable of accepting his daughter for who she is, and unfortunately Tressa had to cut off ties to him in order to maintain her sobriety.

    I’m so glad Tressa left Nebraska for SoCal and seems to be doing so well with her recovery.

    Posted by Janelle | October 2, 2017, 11:12 am
    • since when is queer identity an “issue”, and why are you equating substance use disorder with romantic orientation?

      Posted by Laura | October 2, 2017, 9:39 pm
      • I see no problem with the word “issue.” Lighten up.

        Posted by Janelle | October 3, 2017, 7:57 am
        • NO! it IS a problem. homosexuality is NOT an issue. and do NOT equate it with addiction. that is UNACCEPTABLE. you are BORN gay, straight, or somewhere inbetween. addiction is a SICKNESS. you do NOT tell someone to lighten up; even if they were incorrect, which she’s NOT.

          Posted by Brooke | June 28, 2019, 4:19 pm
    • “Issues” may not have been the appropriate word to use, but yes, I work as an alcohol and substance abuse counselor, and those who identify with being other than heterosexual (gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, asexual, etc.) have a much greater risk of developing an addiction. The show has highlighted this many times (think David, Chris B., Gabe) over the years. Also, identifying with other than heterosexual AND having an immediate family member who is an addict puts that individual at an overwhelming statistic. There are groups and programs specifically catering towards this population. My own sister is a lesbian heroin addict. By God’s good grace, she’s been in recovery for close to a year now, but yes I am very familiar with it. I agree with you, Janelle. Tressa needed to separate herself if she was never going to get the acceptance she needed.

      Posted by Amanda | October 3, 2017, 7:13 am
  9. I am watching Tressa’s episode now and it breaks my heart that her family has not been accepting of her sexual orientation. OMG, really? People are born into that part of their lives. This is the down side to evangelicals.

    Tressa, you are who you are. Embrace yourself and live your fullest best life which includes having relationships with women JUST LIKE YOU!!! You deserve what everyone else deserves and this is what the fight for equality is all about.

    Best of luck to you. I hope your family will come around, but I don’t think that will happen. You can, however, find support elsewhere. BE YOU!!!

    Posted by B | January 6, 2018, 12:53 pm
  10. I added Tressa on Facebook not that long ago and I messaged her to ask her how she’s been since the show and if she is still clean. I saw that she seen the message but she did NOT answer. So I’m ASSUMING she isn’t doing well…

    Posted by Anonymous | February 25, 2018, 6:48 pm
  11. Looks like she was arrested again in June of 2017. So sad 🙁


    Posted by Anonymous | March 17, 2018, 2:41 pm
  12. This made me so sad. I was really pulling for Tressa.


    Posted by Nickel | March 22, 2018, 6:36 pm
  13. Oh no! It’s so sad to see that she’s still struggling a decade later.

    Posted by Andy | March 23, 2018, 2:16 pm
  14. She posted back in February that she completed treatment in December 2018. Looks like she’s back living in Nebraska.

    Posted by Andy | April 15, 2019, 9:31 pm
  15. her family makes me physically ILL. they’re worried she’s going to burn in hell?? if there is a hell: THEY will wind up there. they just don’t know it yet. i would be surprised if she HADN’T ended up an addict with a family like that. i really wish candy would have addressed that and made them apologize for it. she needed that and surely does to this day.

    Posted by Brooke | June 28, 2019, 5:28 pm
    • also, the sinning divorced adulterer father should NOT have had his mistress there and tressa’s girlfriend should have been included but pshh they probably would have stoned with rocks you know bc she’s the devil.

      Posted by Brooke | June 28, 2019, 5:33 pm
  16. she is not clean. she is terrorizing her current ex girlfriend and her son. she is a constant problem we have called the police several times they have found so much meth in her purse this last weekend they think she is dealing and have put out a felony warrant. she has been doing this the last 3 years here

    Posted by anon | July 15, 2019, 3:22 pm

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