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Episode 249: Tom and John (Family of Addicts)

Season 19. Episode 7


Tom and John
Age: 23 and 21
Location: Paterson, New Jersey
Addiction: Heroin

What’s Memorable: Wow. That was freaking intense. This was about so much more than the brothers. 6 people went to treatment! It’s definitely one of the most complicated episodes of the show ever, and I would like to that say it’s also one of the best episodes ever because it almost is, but I can’t get over the fact that the producers didn’t step in when cousin Sean shot up his uncle. They knew that he was asking for a rig earlier after a year of shaky sobriety, why did they let him do that without saying anything? I don’t like that, not at all. The camera was right there in the room, did the operator not see that John gave him a bag and rig? Why didn’t they tell Donna what they heard him say so they could try to prevent the inevitable relapse? I mean I’m sure there’s stuff we don’t know here, but it sure seemed like the producers were almost willing Sean to relapse on camera and that makes me really uncomfortable. I feel like there are some instances where the producers of this show have some level of responsibility beyond just documentation, and this is one of those situations. Saying something would have been the right thing to do. It’s possible Sean would have relapsed even if he wasn’t involved in this intervention, but I don’t know, it sure seemed to be what triggered him right back into using. To be honest, Sean’s craving and relapse makes me sadder than anything else I saw on this episode, and there was plenty to be sad about here. All that said, Donna was amazing yet again, there were so many shocking reveals and suspenseful cliffhangers, so many people in pain desperate for help who were visibly relieved to finally get it, and holy crap, Paterson New Jersey needs treatment. I was hoping to hear that at the end they all uprooted and moved to some other place because going back to that city isn’t gonna be good for anyone. Damn, that was one crazy episode.

Official Synopsis: John and Tom are brothers who spent their formative years working with their parents and grandparents in a successful business. While they appeared to be a close knit, hard-working family, a dark family history of drug abuse entrapped the brothers. Their mother realizes that without help, all could be lost.

Date Aired: May 2019
Interventionist: Donna

Categories: Addicted Parent, Childhood Violence, Donna, Heroin, Most Disturbing Episodes, Most Unforgettable Episodes, Season 19


17 Responses to “Episode 249: Tom and John (Family of Addicts)”

  1. Jesus Christ. That was an emotional roller coaster the whole way through. Was so sad about Sean Getting sucked back in after being clean for a year. Also for John jr.

    Posted by Courtney | May 15, 2019, 3:01 am
  2. Holy shit. What a doozy of an episode. I hope everyone can stay clean and that John Jr was able to ultimately get himself on the right track. The most memorable part of this episode for me is the very end with the cousin Sean. I thought he was going to end up relapsing because he was asking Linda if she had a spike cause he hadn’t dont one in a long time. This intervention was great for everyone but him. Something that was meant to be helpful ended up being the worst thing for him to go to.

    Posted by Toreigh | May 15, 2019, 9:20 am
  3. yeah, there was way too much going on with that family for that intervention to not be messy for at least one person.

    SO much going on…

    …the grandmother on oxygen AND vaping.

    …even though the mother was acting like no one really knew about her heroin use, the cousin (who had a year’s sobriety) got her alone and pretty much the first thing he asked her was inf she had a needle, so he obviously knew she was using.

    …no one on the intervention team stepped in and suggested someone other than the cousin put together the father’s shot???

    …did anyone on the intervention team try to arrange for some sort of detox/rehab/therapy for the younger brother’s girlfriend? it seemed pretty obvious that he’d use needing to be with her as an excuse to bail from rehab.

    on the documentary geek side of things, i thought this episode was EXCELLENT! well structured and decently shot. really gave us a good look at donna and how she manages the process.

    Posted by beelove | May 15, 2019, 10:48 am
  4. This as an adult male had me in tears… my god. You’re right, so much right documentary wise but that preachy “sober” but unrelentingly jonesing cousin could have derailed things even more… wow

    Posted by Wil | May 15, 2019, 11:52 am
    • Lemme be more clear: I meant he was clean but his recovery was not at the point I suppose mine is now but I’ve been there… and I think that was unprofessional actually they kept sticking him in those situations and Donna was not even aware the FIRST meetup that he was jonesing and caught on camera speaking about it… Poor family. Such a tortured family…

      Posted by Wil | May 15, 2019, 11:58 am
  5. Also, by far the most interesting episode I’ve ever seen. And Donna really shined. She had to be there, I just wish the camera crew had been more vocal about the cousin

    Posted by Wil | May 15, 2019, 12:07 pm
  6. Donna completely sabaroged Sean’s recovery! Why would you take someone 1 year sober into their old neighorhood to run around and find aomeone, and then have them monitor their uncle’s using at the intervention?

    Posted by anna | May 16, 2019, 11:08 am
  7. I agree that Sean did appear to be on something…look at his eyes in several scenes prior to the steps of the intervention. Still, bad call taking him into Paterson, involving him in the search, letting him go out of the car unaccompanied, leaving him alone with his Uncle…bad, bad, bad calls. I like Donna, but didn’t she invited him to be the one to take her around Paterson? The mom was already a known active and it seems she would have been more appropriate. Even without being a specialist, knowing that addiction has really be the head of that family and the cause of such devastation is enough of a red flag that the show should have been vigilant that no member of the family be put into those situations without physical, in-person accountability. I share the disappointed in the show for the Sean situation and hope it wasn’t for ratings.

    Posted by MommaNinja | May 17, 2019, 12:16 am
    • She invited him because he knew he was already high. If you get high once, you don’t panic about going through withdrawals. Thats not how it works. So he was lying about being clean the whole time.

      Posted by jojo | May 17, 2019, 3:20 pm
  8. This was a powerful episode and maybe some of the best content Intervention has put out so far! I appreciate them experimenting with the format of the show, but I’m glad they are mostly back to the “old” way of doing episodes with some added elements. With the opioid epidemic raging like wildfire, this show is needed more than ever.

    Posted by MB | May 17, 2019, 12:22 pm
  9. Does anyone know the final outcome of the family’s sobriety? This was a riveting episode. I could not believe that John gave that dope to Sean. Hadn’t it caused enough misery for his family? He really did not know how to be a father or protector. I hope those boys are ok. They really didn’t have a chance. Every adult in their lives was some kind of an addict except Christa.

    Posted by patricia mcmahon | May 17, 2019, 8:39 pm
  10. Why did they even let Sean go into the bathroom with John Sr?

    Posted by CC | May 17, 2019, 9:08 pm
  11. I’m also not sure about Sean. Even if he wasn’t sober it was a bad call from Donna to lure him to use again and then offer him an opportunity.
    I’m a social worker and personally I’m all for open communication. They could have talked it through in private or if that doesn’t work, with the family. But not this way. They could have intervened when he asked the mom on camera if she has a spike. That could have been a chance to take him aside and talk. If I’d do this to a client I’d betray him and I don’t think that’s right.

    Anyway…this family has so many layers of different problems that I’m surprised even 2 of them could stay sober. I hope they’ll be alright although it seems unlikely.

    Posted by A | May 18, 2019, 1:24 am
  12. in general, the film crew (FC) is not supposed to intervene unless for safety reasons, as seen with Alicia the NY heroin addict, who shot up before the FC arrived and damn near caused two accidents because she was nodding. this is common with most television shows, such as LivePD, Dr. Phil etc. i think its because its a “documentary”, and the FC is a “fly on the wall”, simply there to film.

    Posted by cosmicexplosion13 | May 19, 2019, 3:43 pm

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