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Episode 214: Brian N.

Season 15, Episode 14


Brian N.
Age: 43
Location: Miami, Oklahoma
Addiction: Alcohol

What’s Memorable: How much Oklahoma City still affects him, the strength it must have taken to do the job he did, his wife having to drive herself to the hospital when she was in labor because he was passed out. Also, the distant vacancy on his face when he’s drunk and the way he reacts to his mother taking care of him. Some of the things she said really struck me – calling him ‘white trash’ and his internet date ‘some floozy’ – and make me wonder if there were class expectations set for Brian that he struggled to live up to.

Official Synopsis: Brian had it all. He married his high school sweetheart, had two beautiful children, and became the owner/director of his family’s successful funeral home in Oklahoma. But while assisting with the recovery of bodies during the Oklahoma City bombings – including those in the building’s nursery – Brian fell apart and turned to alcohol for comfort and never turned back. He’s now lost his wife, kids, and career due to his addiction, and his family feels that at the rate he’s going, the next funeral will be for him.

Note: The above ‘official synopsis’ from A&E has some details and the sequence of events out of order, and it really creates a different story than reality. He didn’t start drinking heavily right after Oklahoma. He was a 21 year old apprentice when the tragedy happened and became owner/director of his own funeral home years later, and that’s when the drinking got bad.  I feel like that’s an important difference.

Date Aired:  July 2016

Categories: Addicted Parent, Alcohol, Jeff, Season 15, Traumatic Incident


42 Responses to “Episode 214: Brian N.”

  1. I just finished watching this heartfelt episode and was curious if he continued with his sobriety ? I know it takes a lot of strength and will power. I hope He hit his own rock bottom and not everyone else’s. That in its own makes a life or death situation. It would be great to know he has been successful and is hopefully finding himself and rekindling his relationship with his kids.

    Posted by Teressa | July 18, 2016, 2:29 am
  2. This one got me. Hard. Knowing folks who have had an experience like his and seeing him medicate with alcohol just broke my heart. He seemed like a good guy. Just salt of the earth, good dude who worked hard, married and had beautiful kids. I felt sorry for his wife, but didn’t understand that she had an affair when he went to treatment the first time. It almost seemed like she kicked him when he was down. And his mother, good Lord. What a piece of work. She definitely resented his alcohol abuse. I couldn’t believe she kept putting her hands on him. Shoving and slapping him. She needed some real help. I loved the ending. I’m rooting for him for sure.

    Posted by AprilG | July 18, 2016, 9:58 am
    • The mother.. What a piece of work. I was shocked to see her slap him on the face. NOT OK. Brian might frustrate her, but it is NOT OK to put hands on someone like that. There is nothing Brian did to deserve that. I hope Brian can understand that.

      Posted by Gloria | July 18, 2016, 7:03 pm
      • Right?? The mother was insufferable to watch. She seems to thrive on drama and doesn’t do much to endear herself to other people.

        Posted by Anna | July 19, 2016, 11:41 am
      • My mom is just like Brian’s and makes everything all about her. Watching her at the intervention was so uncomfortable for me bc it reminded me of the insincerity my mom shows for public display. The letter was so superficial, all words, no depth. Then she had “mixed feelings” about him going to treatment, proving the insincerity. If he is healthy she can’t belittle and blame everything on him anymore. He needs to be sick for her to be happy. And happy for a narcissist means getting attention. She uses his mental illness addiction for attention and sympathy as well as the accolades for taking care of him. She hates that she needs him for her own sick gain. My mom is the same way about me and recently wrote in a letter to a disability judge that she only lets me stay at her house because it would be “unfair to make others suffer” due to my presence. My mom makes comments like calling me a “junky loser” and won’t let me go shopping w my little sister bc “I already have one daughter that looks and dresses like a slut. I don’t need another one.” And “you and Tyler are my two wors– I mean most difficult kids.” I know the impact these comments have on a person because I am living proof. Brian seemed to shrink away into the shadows around his mom. It was heartbreaking to watch. And here I am doing what my mom does making this about me when it’s about Brian. I am sorry if I’m doing that. The similarities between our moms are uncanny and literally it hurt my heart to watch this episode. I hope he is able to break free of his mom. I know it’s hard bc I’m trying to break free from my own mom and it seems impossible some days.

        Posted by Nicole | July 26, 2016, 4:51 pm
    • I’m so sorry that I (Brians mother) came across like such a b—-! I love my son with all my heart and soul. I always have and I always will Please understand that I took Brian to rehab after rehab. And to places for detox. I have gone to Alanon and personal counseling. He came to be on Intervention because I kept reaching out to anyone who might be able to help Brian. I was totally at the end of my rope. Unless you have been there, you cannot imagine the heartache, the frustration, feeling of hopelessness that a mother goes through as she watches her son slowly kill himself and hurt every one around him. I am not one to cry in public and I hide behind a defense of anger…but please don’t think I don’t love my son.

      Posted by Lynda Nichols | February 9, 2017, 5:56 pm
      • Is Brian still sober? He is one of my favorites on the show. Just seemed like a really good person that got caught up in the hellish cycle of addiction and couldn’t get out. I also hope that ex wife of his is not so nasty towards him.

        Posted by Lana | February 9, 2017, 6:09 pm
      • Lynda, would you please email me..No spaces.. g ahlbrand [email protected]

        Posted by Gina | February 11, 2017, 7:29 am
      • When people see the families on Intervention, they see them at their worst. They don’t see the years of struggles and disappointments. The reality is that families not only affect the addict, the addict deeply alters the family members’ lives. I will certainly pray that you and other family members will rebuild your lives, as well as pray for your son.

        Posted by commenter | February 11, 2017, 7:25 pm
      • I completely understand your responses. Don’t apologize to anybody. My parents and I are in the same situation with my brother, Brian. It kills me to see what he has put my family through… almost identical situations. I pray for you and your family. My brother Brian reminds me so much of your Brian. So painful. I hope he is doing well and I hope you have found peace in your heart.

        Posted by Lisa | February 19, 2017, 1:17 pm
      • Dear Lynda, I think you did what you had to do to make things right. I know because of my mom. I have never touched a drink of alcohol or touched any drugs because of this. It’s hard to know what to do. I hope your son is happy…hes so handsome, seems living and looks like he loves his kids very much. Thank you for sticking up for your family.

        Posted by Debra | February 19, 2017, 4:08 pm
      • my father is an alcoholic/opiate addict, he has been addicted to everything from meth to crack, but for the past 15 years its been alcohol and pain pills, he has had times where he maintained being sober, just to turn right back to either alcohol or drugs, i love my dad and have always looked up to him as a hero, i was your typical “daddy’s girl”, i too ended up becoming heavily addicted to opioids, until i sought treatment, at one time it was my dad, my sister and me all using at one time, and when my dad saw that my sister and I took getting help seriously and that it was working he to, decided to get help, and stayed clean for 3 years, my sister also stayed clean for approx. 3 years, had a short relapse and got right back into treatment and is clean now, and me i have been clean for5 years from opiates and 4 years for alcohol, my dad continues to drink and use opiates daily, i have been to the point where i just want to wash my hands of him, and never allow him to see his granddaughters, nor have any type of relationship w him, i have to constantly remind myself the man that i get when im around him is not who he is, its the alcohol, even so i get fed up and i cannot bite my tounge and so when he pisses me off i say what i feel, knowing he doesnt care in the that moment and tomorrow it will be a distant and fuzzy memory, its hard to deal w someone who is controlled by alcohol, ive seen alot of drugs do alot of things to people but none as devistating as alcohol, to get clean and maintain is a long and winding road, but to have a mother like you to stand behind him as he does his best to remain sober, is something not many addicts can claim so, he is quite blessed to have you there for him, i learned a long time ago, i can say whatever i want to my dad, wether it good, bad or ugly, and all it does it gets me worked up while he sits there with a buzz ignoring everything i say, to try and reason with alcohol is like trying to get water from a rock, but once you can accept that you cannot change him, that nothing you say will matter as long as he is using, and that what he needs is tough love those times when sobriety is too difficult, then you can better live knowing yes your loved one is an addict, and no theres nothing you can do to change or fix it, and the only support he needs is when he is sober and trying to stay that way, otherwise your just making it easier for him to continue his addiction, but stay strong, a know that he knows you love him, he knows what is right, but its his choice and only his choice, that you cant fix him, and wether or not he changes you have to be able to live ur life wether or not he lives his. please just stay strong, lean on God and know that i dont see what some did in ur episode i saw a loving mother that was desperate for ur son to change, and had reached the end of ur rope and didnt know how else to get through to him so thats how u dealt with him, out of desperation, and in my opinion no matter what he is doing, some how u and his exwife need to figure out some way for you to be apart of their life, you should not be punished for his choices, and neither should those children cause then they are being punished too by not being able to see their grandmother, anyway take care of yourself and know that not everyone saw u as a negative voice, God bless u and ur family

        Posted by amber | February 20, 2017, 6:45 am
      • HI I’m from mcalester Oklahoma. Is brian doing okay?

        Posted by Kayli Foran | August 14, 2020, 7:39 am
  3. Like on so many episodes, I think it said he plans to stay in the state where the rehab is in, rather than going back to his home town. That means he will see his children sober now, but less often perhaps. It must be hard for family who had him (and so many other addicts) around so close when they were brutal to live around, but to have him now sober but far away. I kind of see why he and so many addicts may want to remove themselves from the familiar haunts and drinking buddies, and make a fresh start. But he also would not have the same supports in an unfamiliar state – other than access to his rehab follow up, if he is nearby. I bet the “geographic cure” adds up to at least 1/3 of the success stories on Intervention.

    Posted by COMMENTER | July 18, 2016, 7:55 pm
  4. This one was hard for me to watch.. there was something so child like and simple with Brian.

    It must have been difficult for his wife to walk.

    I hope he continues on with sobriety.

    Posted by Vanessa | July 20, 2016, 8:22 pm
    • I felt the EXACT same way… Seeing him cry and his face after his mother slapped him…it was absolutely painful to see. I couldn’t help but really feel for the guy.

      Posted by Tazz | July 21, 2016, 9:05 am
  5. I lost one of my closest friends in life due to alcoholism. I am a recovered alcoholic. Hoping to maybe share my story someday. I pray that Brian gets things together. We are the same age. I know he can do it. Wish I could write him an encouragement letter. May God watch over him and his family.

    Posted by Philip Simmons | July 24, 2016, 5:23 pm
  6. There’s also the bit about the wife cheating when he went to rehab. I feel there was other info left out.

    She remarried 4 days after the divorce.

    Posted by Courtney | July 25, 2016, 9:49 am
    • I definitely think they swept that under the rug and I’m sure it was definitely a trigger. He went to treatment to get his family back only to have them taken away.

      Posted by Nicole | July 26, 2016, 4:56 pm
  7. Maybe it was just me, but I got a bad vibe from his ex wife. She was so bitter and detached towards him. I also got the strong feeling that she was using the kids to punish him and his family by withholding the kids under the guise of the children’s welfare. I was parented by an alcoholic so I get it, he was often not in a state to care for the kids. But some of the language she used was quite telling – that the only reason she was ‘allowing’ the visit was such and such. When his mother referred to her as the GateKeeper she instantly became angry, painting herself as a saint. But if she had banned the kids going to the in-laws only based on him being there, why didn’t she have the in-laws visit at her house? She came off as very controlling and using the kids to manipulate and hurt. Then there was the fact she was more than happy to discuss Brian’s mistakes and trash him, but the moment the interviewer asked about her affair she got petulant and refused to discuss it. She comes across the sort of person that has her public face, then behind closed doors she is a vindictive angry person.

    Posted by Tegan | July 29, 2016, 12:16 am
    • It killed me to see her be so hateful towards him and the family. Seeing the kids, they all know something was up and they were very rigid and uncomfortable. I can’t imagine how she was with him, but the whole cheating thing. She even smirked. She didn’t even look horrified, or surprised they asked her. She smirked like “yea, about that, so this one time at band camp”…. maybe i feel like that, the bombings, his father dying, the continuous years of tough love from not only his mom but ex wife as well, and being that removed from his kids lives…. that all sends pretty significant factors

      Posted by Rae | August 15, 2017, 4:10 am
  8. Brian,

    I am also in recovery because I was inspired by your story, because of you I am also in recovery. Thank you for saving my life.

    You have a strong will to survive. I believe in you.

    Your friend,

    Posted by Robert Whetzel | August 1, 2016, 12:54 pm
  9. What a broken man. This episode kills me…the mother, the ex-wife, the look of brokenness constant on his face…I hope he stayed sober, what a good man. Rooting for you, Brian!

    Posted by Gina | August 23, 2016, 4:04 pm
  10. I’ve seen a close friend exactly go through this. He lost his wife, job, drivers license, and kids. He spent many years recovering. Now he has a new wife, more kids, good paying job, and better outlook on life. There is a light at the end of the tunnel if you can be brave enough to continue. My father dies from alcoholism and so did many others I’ve known. Worst addiction in my opinion. I hope Brian pulls through.

    Posted by Jim halvorson | September 16, 2016, 10:10 am
  11. This episode hits home with me. I understand that it’s about Brian and his addiction, but his wife totally threw him under the bus, but did not want to admit to her wrong doings including infidelity..And much more. I honestly do not see his mother as the bad guy his ex wife should have not made Brian’s mother suffer not seeing those babies. Brian and his children are in my prayers.

    Posted by Georgia | February 19, 2017, 12:53 pm
  12. I have my own Brian… my brother. This Brian reminded me so much of my brother… a good person, handsome, loving dad. My brother lost his way when life became difficult. His mother reminds me of my own… an awesome mom! You can’t judge how people respond to these situations. My brother has broke my parents hearts. Alcoholism destroys families. We have a great family as well. We had a great upbringing also. I pray for my brother everyday and I will also pray for the Brian in this episode.

    Posted by Lisa | February 19, 2017, 1:13 pm
  13. im hopeful for brian, i was him at one point in my life, i lost everything, my husband drowned, my daughter was taken from me due to my in-laws and drug abuse, i lost everything i owned, but then the day came where i finally reached the bottom, the day the court gave my in-laws an emergncy temperary custody order for my daughter, four months after my husband accidentally drown in aa kyak accident, i laid in my bed for 6 days and i felt i was mourning the death of my daughter cause i thought id never see her again, and i gave everything to God, i stopped running and surrendered it all to Him, and in that moment He began to turn my life around, i went to court and the judge dissolved the custody order, i got my daughter back, i had found out the day of my husband’s funeral that i was pregenant with our second daughter, i went on to have her that march, we bought a home, i stayed clean and we are doing great, its a daily fight to stay off drugs, i had to drop all the people i hung around, i mean ALL of them, and change every aspect of my life, i hope and pray brian is able to do that, i feel there was alot that got left out in his episode, he seemed like such a humble, sweethearted person, that held a lot in, and when u hold everything in, as an addict ur using the drug to continue to suppress all that emotion, but in treatment they will allow him room to let things out, as slowly or quickly as he needs, i just hope that he is able to do that, and to regain a woderful relationship with his children and the rest of his family, that he is blessed to still have, not every addict is that lucky to still have a family that cares enough to continue to be there, so i pray that he is able to rebuild those bridges, and to once again do what he is passionate about, he seems like a great person, and the world could stand more people like him

    Posted by amber | February 20, 2017, 7:05 am
  14. I also found this difficult too watch as it hits so very close to home. As the wife of a professional firefighter who is currently battling PTSD it was so blatantly apparent that Brian also was battling PTSD and using alcohol to self medicate. Unfortunately I know all too well the horror Brian would have had to deal with in the aftermath of the Oklahoma bombing and how he would carry it with him always. Brian I wish you all the best and hope you are doing well.

    Posted by Jacquie | April 25, 2017, 5:57 pm
  15. Im not sure that it hit home, but it’s painful to watch this episode. I feel some of Brian’s pain. Loss in general can kill the will to live. Sometimes we wish for suicide or for our lives to end in some unexpected way. We nay not wish it exactly, but we make choices subconsciously. It’s hard to explain. I stopped drinking heavily, and can now control my intake (maybe 2x a month, those being only 2-3 drinks per time). But i remember a time of smoking weed and drinking to a point where i would get sick (7-8 drinks a night once a week, then about 4 drinks a night 2x a week plus a bowl or two) not something in proud of.

    What sickened me the most was not necessarily the mothers anger… it was the complete detachment. I’ve seen my fair share of the world… I’ve been raised on “tough love”. And male or female, even the strongest need love. That hug when we look pained, a simple compliment once inna while, or even an open ear with a closed mouth. I understand getting frustrated. A loved ones addiction can numb you in a lot of ways. My mother is a drug addicted alcoholic stuck in the 70s, and has been using hard drugs for as long as i can remember. It’s not easy to say no, but i had to with her.

    The ex wife on the other hand…. girl, do you have animosity or what… really. She was irate for pretty much the whole damn episode. Like, there was serious serious anger, resentment, cocky, arrogant, and hateful personality and demeanor. I can understand it, but I’ll be honest, for someome who calls themselves a Christian woman, it appalled me. Keep your shield up, but don’t deny that if you couldn’t fully commit to your husband at the time he was in recovery, maybe you should have thought things through ahead of time. Also, any psychologist will say: divorce, patents fighting or saying bad/negative things about the other parent is physiologically damaging to children in early ages. Try filing for supervised visitations where if he isn’t sober, he can’t see them that visitation. Just a thought. And for goodness sakes, let grandma set up days away from the house or something. Saddens me to see kids not seeing and knowing who their real family is.

    Overall i have high hopes for bryan. I know what tough love, loss, and betrayal does. I just hope you can find something to hold onto. It hurts to lose so much, but the only way you have left to go from rock bottom, is up.

    Posted by Rae | August 15, 2017, 3:58 am
  16. Any update? My heart goes out to him.

    Posted by Murray | August 17, 2017, 3:24 am
  17. Any update on this person. I am sorry but I applauded when the mom slapped him. He was a 40 something year old guy living in his moms place and being disrespectful.

    Posted by Sad | September 4, 2017, 6:16 pm
  18. I thought it was strange when his mom was sad that he agreed to go. She said something about losing her boy. I hope she got treatment for her codependency

    Posted by Tobie | September 5, 2017, 5:46 am
    • I am not a parent, but I wonder sometimes how wise it is to use the term “my child” when referring to an adult son or daughter. I know it’s second nature, but can/could it also be a hindrance for someone to face up to adulthood when their parents refer to them as a child?

      Posted by Sue Ellen Hegstrom | September 17, 2018, 9:05 am
  19. Omg I cringed so hard with the scenes with his mom and ex wife

    Posted by Rinna | September 15, 2017, 11:20 am
  20. The only redeeming person who seemed to genuinely love Brian was his aunt. His mother seems to have some kind of personality disorder, she was beyond dramatic and wretched and made watching this episode difficult, I physically cringed through half of it. If I had this woman squaking and picking at me every single minute of every single day I would feel the urge to escape / drink too. And the ice queen ex wife wasnt much better, but not really surprising he chose to marry someone so much like his over bearing mother. Hopefully he stays far, far away, happy healthy and sober, he seemed so kind.

    Posted by Interventionist | April 28, 2018, 12:50 am
  21. This poor man. He was constantly on the verge of tears. He’s seen so much and been through so much. You can just see this softness in him that leaves him vulnerable. His ex wife really bothered me. Her breakdown while speaking at the actual intervention was so gross. She couldn’t even squeeze a tear out. And asking the interventionist at the pre-intervention how to make sure their son doesn’t end up like him…what the hell was that? I really don’t understand why she participated or why they let her participate. I hope he’s sober and happy now. He and his children deserve it.

    Posted by GG | May 16, 2018, 5:42 pm
  22. His step dad passed away. He was 88.

    Posted by Andy | July 14, 2018, 6:12 pm
  23. This one really broke my heart. Brian seems like such a sweet guy, and he looked so broken and sad the whole episode, like he was constantly fighting to hold back tears. The way his face just crumpled and he started crying when his mother hit him…he looked exactly like a little boy. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to literally put people together after the Oklahoma City bombing. I really hope he is doing well and is still sober; I’d love to see an update on him.

    Posted by Jenny | July 26, 2019, 9:06 pm
  24. Just watched this episode and it broke me to pieces. He had so much sadness in life that he was dealing with. No disrespect to his mother but she was over bearing and tried to control his every move. I’m sure he felt smothered by her. Let’s talk about his ex wife. She was cold hearted. While I agree keeping the kids away from seeing their father like that. She needs to take responsibility for her part. She cheated on her husband of 20 years so their marriage failing was just as much her part as it was his. Whatever happened to vows? Because she didn’t hold up her end of the bargain.
    I really hope he’s doing well and has found someone to share his life with. He deserves happiness.

    Posted by Christy | September 16, 2020, 5:35 pm
    • Men think negotiations are just beginning when the woman finally walks out the door.

      Brian felt betrayed by his ex wife remarrying 4 days after their divorce? She likely felt betrayed giving birth alone at 2 am because her husband was blacked out and couldn’t be woken up. Not to mention they already had an older child at that point, Brian was not even in any shape to watch their first while she labored. She likely felt betrayed by all the nights she was left alone with their kids while Brian partied with his friends.

      Who kept house, made sure the children felt safe and cared for, remembered appointments, important dates, paid bills? Probably not Brian. I can imagine how she begged for help, asked her husband what SHE could do to make him care more, why he couldn’t try just a little harder for his own family.

      She was probably mentally checked out of the marriage for a very long time. I’m sure she asked Brian to go to rehab so she could make sure he was sober and able to take care of the children if they ended up splitting custody, not because she wanted him back. How could you want someone back after all of that? His ex was beautiful, smart, and seemed like a dedicated mother. If you do not cherish a woman like that then there are 100 better men willing and eager to take your place. Women are expected to give and forgive and give some more on top of that. We are expected to be endless wells of support and empathy for everyone else in our lives, to sacrifice our own wellbeing and comfort for others.

      Yes cheating is wrong but so is neglecting all your duties as a partner and parent to self-medicate. Brian clearly expected his wife to just suck it up forever. He would have made himself a victim to her leaving, cheating or no.

      Posted by Dolly | September 23, 2020, 12:55 pm
  25. Oh my goodness this episode broke my heart!! What a sweet man, he really needed support and love. His mom and ex wife tag teaming against him, belittling him and talking / treating him like he’s disgusting, They both got me so upset and angry! I really do wish him the best and hope he has found peace and happiness!

    Posted by KK | September 25, 2020, 5:56 am

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