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Episode 184: Eric

Season 13, Episode 5


Age: 31
Location: New Bedford, Massachussettes
Addiction: Heroin
What’s memorable: The things he does for money, how crossed his eyes get when he’s loaded, the ex-girlfriend best friend that he’s hopelessly in love with. And I love that he’s grateful for the intervention as its happening. That’s rare.

Update:  Sadly, Eric McDonnell died of a heroin overdose on August 19th, 2017.  Here is his obituary. 

Official Synopsis: Eric, 31, has been known by his family for being funny, generous and full of life. But his downward spiral into addiction has replaced all of his amazing traits and turned him into a junkie who hustles, steals and pawns.

Original Air Date: July 2013
Interventionist: Donna

Categories: Addicts Who Have Died, Donna, Heroin, Most Likeable Addicts, Most Unforgettable Episodes, Season 13


62 Responses to “Episode 184: Eric”

  1. Just got to see the rerun on LMN network. It was a beautiful episode. Unfortunately the rerun didn’t show the recovering addicts. I would love to see that part. I hope Eric is still doing well.

    Posted by Lissa | November 11, 2014, 8:54 pm
    • Eric has passed away from an overdose. On heroin he struggled with ot.. Hos family shipped him away again i met him on new bedford where he was not in good condition and hoped he would of got it together i pray for his family im a recovering addict myself!

      Posted by Hannah, new bedford ma | August 21, 2017, 2:25 pm
      • I was hoping he’d get better and eventually marry Val!):

        Posted by Shayla | August 24, 2017, 11:04 pm
      • Being that he was in New Bedford pretty much says that he wasn’t doing good. Lived here all my life and if you’re an addict, you’re only in New Bedford for the heroin. Most of the heroin going to Brockton and the Cape comes from here. At least he’s not walking through hell anymore.

        Posted by C faria | September 2, 2017, 11:00 pm
        • Eric was a good friend of mine. He wasn’t living in New Bedford MA, that info is incorrect. Be was living and working in Michigan with his live-in gf, soon to be fiance (not Val, a new girl). She found the ring hidden in their dresser when packing his clothes a day or two after he passed away 💔😭 The wake & funeral were held here in MA in his hometown area. RIP Eric 💕

          Posted by Jessica | January 13, 2018, 9:06 pm
  2. I’m curious on Eric’s recovery and I believe his story would help others with similar background via speaking engagements.

    Posted by Claudette | November 12, 2014, 1:11 am
  3. “The next morning the first thing I said was, ‘Are we gonna cross that sand?'”

    Posted by Sarah Thomas | January 15, 2015, 2:28 pm
  4. Where did you read this news about Eric?

    Posted by BMB | January 24, 2015, 1:53 pm
  5. Bobbie, I think you may have gotten Eric confused with someone else. There’s no mention in the “In Memoriam” section that he had passed away. Unless someone else can confirm otherwise, I think we can consider Eric one of the “success” stories. I certainly do hope so. He seems to have a heart of gold and his “happy ending” was a nice, positive note to end the original run episodes on (his story was the final episode).

    Posted by Gregory Moore | January 24, 2015, 6:03 pm
  6. Eric is very much alive and well (thank god). I am his friend on Facebook. He looks great and is sober :), and is also still with us here on earth 😉

    Posted by jlo27916 | February 27, 2015, 2:08 pm
    • It was so sweet that Valarie understood that for them both to be happy and have a successful recovery, she needed to step back. Are they friends now? Or have they stayed away from one another? It was so unfortunate that they met during his addiction, because it was obvious they both loved and cared deeply for each user.

      Posted by Samantha | April 30, 2015, 4:53 am
    • I’ve never rooted for someone on the show as much as Eric. He seems to have a heart of gold. His attitude during the intervention was surprising considering the length of his addiction.

      I have tremendous respect for his father. I think the key to his success was the very strong values his father taught Eric as a child. Please tell Eric we are cheering for him.

      Posted by Susie | July 28, 2015, 1:47 am
  7. I think this was one of the most moving episodes, in terms of the production and of course Eric himself. There was just something about him that was so incredibly endearing…his absolute honesty, plus he seemed like he would be just a fun person to be around.

    Production wise I thought this episode was one of the best. The out-of-sequence interviews, the camera pull backs and the off-camera conversations with the producers make this one a little different. The music was different from any other episode I can recall. It was very dark and electronic, and a bit louder than in other episodes. I could see how some people might not like it, but personally the music really hit me emotionally and made the storyline that much more compelling. Such a contrast between this episode and the most recent season. I wish they would have continued in this style but oh well.

    Donna did really well here, getting Val to agree to cut ties with him. That was wrenching. All in all this one was so memorable.

    Eric, wishing you all the best. You deserve it.

    Posted by Kat R. | June 10, 2015, 7:03 pm
    • Katie R. I think the very opposite of Donna! She sucks! She was so so so rude, especially to Eric’s father!

      Posted by Christa | February 2, 2017, 11:11 pm
      • **That should be Kat R. Not Katie R.**

        Posted by Christa | February 2, 2017, 11:14 pm
      • She just gives the truth..you have to be stern..you have to remember. The parents are just as sick as Eric..maybe more, there already in full blown enabling mode..someone has to step in a put a foot down..or there just putting nails in his coffin, just like she said, trust me..I’m an alcholic /addict myself. .if saw an opening or weakness when I was doing my thing, it was on..she’s a good in my book????

        Posted by Tony | May 2, 2017, 7:40 pm
      • I agree, my husband and I were high together and when we went to treatment both of our counselors spent all 28 days trying to get us to not see eachother because there was a 100% chance we would get high again, we weren’t married at the time. We didn’t listen and 15 years later we’re still together and never relapsed. Counselors are just humans and can’t see all aspects of a relationship. I wonder if her advice was another source of pain for Eric that was too hard to work through in the end.

        Posted by Francis Strait | August 6, 2019, 12:27 pm
    • wishing you the best as well!!

      Posted by Donna | March 15, 2018, 2:45 pm
  8. I’m just wondering if Eric and Val ended up with each other and got married because the both of them looked truly in love with each other but Eric’s addiction prevented them to move forward. Thanks

    Posted by Joe | July 2, 2015, 6:48 am
  9. Erics story was so moving , a mass native myself I have seen first hand mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters of loving families struggle with addiction in my hometown. It was like a heroin epidemic in my town. I had to move out but saw so many people not being able to overcome their addiction. Eric has a wonderful family it seems like! I actually found his facebook after a carver mass fb page posted about the intervention episode and he commented on it expressing his gratitude for the show and sorrow of so many children in his hometown falling down similar paths. From his facebook it says he lives in west palm beach, fl and has a very beautiful girlfriend pictured with him ! So glad he’s doing well for himself , it seemed like he had a huge heart! Stay strong !

    Posted by Maria | August 27, 2015, 7:46 am
  10. I really like Eric and was rooting for him from the start. Great family too. I’m from New England and can totally relate to his story as I’m a recovering addict as well. You can tell he’s a great guy deep down. I’ve met a ton of junkies like him up around Beantown. A lot of them don’t make it unfortunately. Watching this episode I could totally imagine being right there with him doing the same crap day in and day out. I hope he’s doing great today!

    Posted by joe | September 15, 2015, 8:23 pm
  11. Man, the stupid A&E app crashes EVERY TIME I try to finish this episode, so I still have yet to see the outcome. But agreeing with the majority here, Eric seems like a totally awesome human being, and I really hope he maintains his sobriety. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked the “style” of this episode since it’s so vastly different that any other episode I’ve seen, but the interviews with the family were very poignant and the overall tone of the episode is more tangible because of the high production value. Hope to see more episodes like this in the future!

    Posted by Jordy | November 27, 2015, 12:03 pm
  12. Sadly he’s not sober and is joking about it on Facebook

    Posted by Julie | February 9, 2016, 11:27 pm
    • What is his fb name? I watched this episode last night and I was hoping he was sober.

      Posted by Nanette | March 6, 2016, 11:35 am
      • Just watched this episode… I grew up in Massachusetts and this was so sad to watch. Too many friends that I grew up with have fallen victim to this epidemic. I’m really pulling for Eric and hoping that he stays clean. I checked FB and we have a lot of mutual friends, his name is Eric McDonnell

        Posted by Sam | June 4, 2016, 5:53 pm
  13. Is Eric presently “clean?” And what became of his best friend Val? Did they end up staying together?

    Posted by Mona Estrada | February 10, 2016, 1:18 am
  14. This episode was on again today….first of all, I really think it needs to be said that I believe Donna is a terrible interventionist. I’ve watched this show since its inception and I think she is dangerous. Her approach is so abrasive that I’m honestly surprised she’s had any success. when they got ready for the intervention, I was praying for Ken or Jeff, and I was horrified when I saw how she handled Eric’s dad.

    I looked Eric up on FB and from what I can see, he appears to still be sober and working in roofing. He has a new girlfriend, who looks a bit like a (very) rough version of Valerie. Speaking of Valerie, they are friends on FB and she appears to be single. She is a nutritional and fitness advisor of some kind, so I hope she has moved on with her life. She seemed to be addicted to him….it was a very unhealthy relationship. I’m glad that she was tough with him during the intervention – I don’t think they would have gotten him to go if she hadn’t. I shudder to think how far down he would have gone if he hadn’t gone.

    The fact that he succeeded at rehab shows Eric has a good heart. He is a handsome man, and even though he had the pasty, grey skin color of a heroin addict, he was lucky that he didn’t lose his looks as most heroin addicts do. He was on borrowed time for it happening though – a few more years on the needle and he would have lost his body mass, his hair, his teeth would start weakening, skin get ravaged, etc. He’s very lucky.

    I have nothing but hope for Eric and his sweet father. I think his dad touched me most of all. What a terrific man!

    Posted by Duchess | November 21, 2016, 3:19 pm
    • Donna is one of my favorite interventionists. She stays true to reality. Most of them are sharp, quick, and to the point. She obviously has a style, because it works.

      Posted by MMuah | November 2, 2020, 12:51 am
  15. Thank God, intervention, Eric’s family and Eric himself!

    Posted by Christina | November 26, 2016, 3:00 am
  16. Hope all is well with Eric. Just stumbled onto this page while I was surfing the ‘net. I used to do roofing on the Cape and around the seacoast of NH. Till I started commercial fishing. I could see Eric working on a boat too-probably love it. Hard work like roofing. Good luck to Eric and his family.

    Posted by Joe | November 29, 2016, 7:13 am
  17. he is sober and doing great. my sister works with him at the rehab he is working at and he spent thanksgiving with our family this year!!!

    Posted by katie | December 1, 2016, 3:22 pm
  18. Just looked him up on FB, apparently he’s here in Michigan now. looks like he’s doing all right, no mention of sobriety obviously, and lives far enough away from me that we don’t have any mutual friends for me to ask. Looks good though!


    Posted by J | December 29, 2016, 10:53 am
  19. Hi my name is Shawna I was impressed with Eric I live in northern Michigan was wondering how he is doing ? Did he move to Michigan ?

    Posted by Shawna Herrick | February 15, 2017, 4:07 pm
  20. I’ve seen Eric’s story a few times.. 8t moved me and just wanted to know how he was doing?

    Posted by Melanie | May 2, 2017, 7:17 pm
    • I am very, very sad to say that Eric has just recently passed away. Many, many of his friends are deeply saddened to hear this news. It’s terribly heartbreaking. He fought a tough fight. He fought a long fight. Deeply sorry to hear this news.

      Posted by K | August 20, 2017, 7:38 pm
  21. Valerie,
    You are so cool! I wish I had a friend like you. God bless you.
    Richard Creedon

    Posted by Richard Creedon Jr | May 2, 2017, 10:12 pm
  22. It’s sad to say Eric passed away today no mention of it be drug related as I’ve seen thru being facebook friends with him and thru small chats he was clean and doing well . RIP

    Posted by Des | August 20, 2017, 1:23 am
  23. I have a friend who was very close with eric. Just found out he passed today. This disease is ruthless and will attack whenever you let your guard down. If anyone is struggling with addiction please seek help. This is no joke.

    Posted by Kat | August 20, 2017, 8:38 am
  24. Unfortunately Eric has officially passed away this weekend. Even though he lost his battle with his demons I know he impacted thousands of lives in a positive manner. RIP Eric you can now fly free of your disease. I pray that his passing can yet be another impact on others who suffered with the same demons he did. Praying for his family and close friends.

    Posted by Na | August 20, 2017, 10:40 am
  25. Eric passed away this weekend. I don’t know what to say.

    Posted by Mandy | August 20, 2017, 6:42 pm
  26. I’m friends with Eric on Facebook & unfortunately he has passed away. Not sure if it happened yesterday or today. Everybody on his Facebook page are posting messages & RIP. So very sad!!!!! I loved his episode & was truly rooting for him to be one of the survivers from this awful disease! It seemed like he was doing really well & had been clean for a while. But I’m not sure maybe he relapsed recently after reading some of the post. My sincere condolences to all his family & friends!!! My heart breaks for all of them especially his parents & girlfriend!!

    Posted by Amy | August 20, 2017, 7:27 pm
  27. So sad to hear about eric passing i met him in new bedford where he wasnt in the best of shape and needed a place to stay and said his family kicked him out i tried finding him a place but he needed help but being a recovering addict i know why his family did what they did.. I know they are suffering right now and this disease is the hardest thing to live with… I could only imagine as a parent of an addict.. I hope i never have to go through this im so sorry to his family and i wish he could of got this but it is soo hard rest in the sweetest peace Eric xo

    Posted by Hannah, new bedford ma | August 21, 2017, 2:32 pm
  28. Very sad. He was such a positive guy and tried to help so many people. I will always remember his smile.

    Posted by Kay | August 21, 2017, 6:43 pm
  29. It is so heartbreaking that Eric lost his battle, Eric fought long and hard, this disease just gets its claws in you and sinks its teeth in your neck and you want so badly to rip that monster off your back and you try and you try and sometimes you win, but it’s always there, always waiting for the first chance your not on your guard so it can once again get its hellish grip and starts to steal your life. Eric fought this disease hard. He wanted nothing more then to be the person he really was, not to be addicted to drugs just be good old Eric Using or not Eric was amazing, He made friends easy and had so so many. The friends he had who had children most of them thought of him as uncle Eric. He made them all feel special in their own way. Many hearts are broken today. But Eric no longer needs to fight rest easy my friend. You will never be forgotten. XoXo forever in our heart

    Posted by TMZ | August 22, 2017, 4:39 pm
  30. One of the things that was noticeable from the get go this episode that shocked me was how buff he was for a heroin addict and considering how long he’d been into the substance I couldn’t see how. I just got into this show and am hooked and all the other heroin addicts were tiny from lack of care I guess. Never been addicted to anything though so I have no idea.
    R.I.P. To this beautiful man.

    Posted by Johnathan | August 23, 2017, 11:11 pm
    • I agree . That dude was a monster . I have been on and off with this disease for 30 years . Never have I seen anyone stay they buffed and his face still had meat it. I fall apart in months . And that Cole weather tearing those AC units apart dope sick. #STUD . I thought the exact same thing though . He was a beast . Wish I would have known him . Been clean 4 years now . Wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy

      Posted by Landon Jackson | January 28, 2018, 12:49 am
  31. I wish you all could have known Eric. He was a jokester, a hard worker and a great friend. He was my brother’s best friend. You only get a small piece of Eric and not an everyday portrayal of what he was from this show. This show temporarily saved his life. For all if you that followed him and cheered him on, thank you. Today was one of the hardest days of our lives.

    Posted by GH | August 25, 2017, 7:32 pm
  32. He was my co-worker in FL, I truly liked the man. Humor, honesty, introspective. He had his demons, but I always encouraged him to stay on the right path. In his short life, he saw more and did more than most people. RIP.

    Posted by Douglas D Popolow | September 4, 2017, 11:36 am
  33. Damn hearing this news hurts. This episode stuck with me because of Eric’s likability. I kept thinking damn, heroin is a scourge if it can get to a guy like this. Good looking guy with a work ethic and hands that could rip a phone book in half. Heroin just snuffed out a hell of a guy. Fuck that drug is a menace.

    Posted by Scott | September 23, 2017, 8:17 am
  34. RIP Eric…just saw a re-run of the episode he came out in a few days ago. What a handsome guy. My condolences to the family, especially his father who loved his son very much.

    Posted by Julissa | February 1, 2018, 1:19 pm
  35. I want you all to know eric was the greatest person I have ever knew he was my best friend since we were little we were inseparable and like brothers from different mother’s .my life has been torn apart since his passing but I know he is up there with our other best friend pj looking out for me .

    Posted by Nick | April 26, 2018, 7:27 pm
  36. I just watched this episode again and I cried so much. I feel so sad for his family, especially now that he is no longer alive. He seemed like such a good guy.

    Posted by Jessie | November 25, 2018, 9:31 am
  37. I just watched his episode on Ramoins channel. With knowing that he had passed away and watching his episode, my heart literally aches. He was a good person with a bad addiction. And the emotions that poured from his father so utterly reminded me of how I feel for my own children. Such a sad shame. Very attractive man with a good heart. I send his family my condolences.

    Posted by Toreigh | November 26, 2018, 12:44 pm
  38. I feel for the family i know how the brothers feel it happened to my brothers one to they drug and one to alcohol it hurts for a good while that is one of my favorite episode the only reason i know he passed because i got one Google to see if him and val got to<uh kigether and i seen he overdosed and never made it i don't even know how his parents and brothers are going thru i feel for them so much after the show aired it feels like i got to know Kevin and the family I just want the family know i feel their pain going thru it myself and now my kids are doing it too they are 31 and 22 the older one injects it and the youger one smokes it wont be long before he gets tired of smoking it won't be enough anymore and move to the injection and thats a killer sooner or later but enough of that this is about ur son im so sorry for what happened i hope dad is ok his boys still need their father thank you for sharing what has happened

    Posted by Betsy Allen | May 26, 2019, 9:11 pm
  39. Val got engaged! It’s on her instagram! I’m so happy for her!

    Posted by Halley | October 5, 2019, 8:38 pm
  40. Really enjoyed this episode. Eric seemed like such a fun, stand up guy who just fell down and struggled to get up. Its rare to see an addict that is so aware of what is going on, yet doesnt blame anyone else for their situation.

    His brothers that were cops seemed pretty standoff-ish like they were just done with the situation. Although it has to be awkward/embarrassing to have a brother that is committing crime around town and using drugs

    Glad Valerie is getting on with her life. She was clearly waiting for him, and he wasnt able to shake the addiction. Not to be disrespectful, but besides your family and your life, her waiting for you to clean up is a hell of a motivation to get sober in my eyes.

    But anyway hope the family is doing well and the father stayed sober.

    I still think Donna is too abrasive, but at least it didnt hold anything back in this episode.

    Posted by cowboyz89 | August 11, 2020, 4:56 pm

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