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Season 22, Episode 20 (Intervention Canada)

Age: 44
Location: Newcastle, Ontario, Canada
Addiction: Alcohol (wine)

Official Synopsis:  At 29, Maria, a young wife and mother decided to change her life. With her confidence at an all-time low, Maria underwent gastric bypass surgery to lose the 100 pounds she had gained after having her three sons. After successfully losing the weight she decided to have a breast augmentation and a whole new Maria was born. Maria began to socialize and frequent bars on the weekends, which put a strain on her marriage. Eventually, she and her husband divorced. Within a year she was dating a new man who liked to party and drink, but who ultimately left her too. With her self-esteem broken, Maria became dependent on alcohol. She shut herself in her apartment, sitting on her couch, drinking, not eating, and leaving her sons to fend for themselves. Her family is afraid that without an intervention Maria will drink herself to death.

What’s Memorable:  Drinking white wine out of a coffee cup all day every day, her refusal to eat food, her boys having to basically raise themselves while trying to take care of her, the poor neglected dogs having to relieve themselves inside because they don’t get walked enough, the fact that getting gastric bypass ended up ruining her life, how strong her sons were at the intervention, how willing she was to get help and do the work so she could love herself again.

Interventionist: Andrew Galloway

Date Aired: Sept 27, 2021  (Aired as Intervention Canada Season 3 Episode 16, on May 18, 2017)

All comments.

  1. Kitty Katt

    I’ve watched this episode again today because the first time around I missed a few scenes so I wanted to make sure I so the whole thing before commenting.

    I found her to be likeable and was really rooting for her. I was so happy to see her at the end with her son. She looked fabulous.

    I noticed this episode actually stated the statistics about weight loss surgery and alcoholism. None of the other episodes (which I believe were all USA) ever had that information when the alcoholic had weight loss surgery as well.

    I’ve noticed more and more information coming out about that. I’ve been going through the motions of trying to get weight loss surgery (it’s been postponed due to the doctor getting pregnant and leaving her practice for Florida). I’m just curious as to why it’s alcohol that seems to be the addiction that patients turn to after recovering from a food addiction. I’m not a drinker at all and don’t even like the taste of it. I’ve had wine here and there but could live without it as well (can’t remember the last time I even had a glass).

    I’m curious to know if any one on here has ever had weight loss surgery and did alcohol become an issue for you? If and when I do get the surgery, I’m not too concerned about the alcohol statistics but as being a past drug user, it still stays in the back of my mind that it can happen to anyone including me who doesn’t even drink now.

    1. Dahlia

      Its funny because I actually have a family history if both weight issues and alcoholism. Ive had a few people also do the bypass surgery. The answer could be just switching addictions, but I think its probably a lot more conplex tham that. Trauma plays a huge part i think, as well as of course family history and habits. Im not sure though. Certainly is an interesting statistic, for sure.

      1. Stefan

        It’s also because you absorb alcohol MUCH faster after weight loss surgery, so you get drunk faster on fewer drinks.

    2. Sudie

      Many who undergo the gastric bypass surgery often have psychological issues along with it, and many surgeons require it before they do the procedure. My sister worked hard to find a surgeon who didn’t require it, and as a result, she has alcohol problems plus she’s gained weight and she has gastroparesis (where the stomach muscles start to become paralyzed). The counseling before surgery is supposed to help you prepare for how you’ll look once you hit your goal, and how to handle it psychologically. It’s a lot to take.

      1. lhamo55

        Seems like the patient would be better served by therapy that addresses why they overeat: is food a surrogate for something that’s missing from there life? A mechanism for dealing with stress or boredom? Self medication for deep seated trauma and/or depression? WLS doesn’t cure the kind of psychological issues that results in overeating oneself into morbid and supermorbid obesity. The mind and body will just find another way to consume the calories like snacking day and night, bulimia, or moving onto another drug of choice.

    3. Rm

      My mother had gastric bypass in 2007. She had been misdiagnosed as a type 2 diabetic, told it could help her reverse it. Unfortunately she was type 1. She really struggled with her mental health already and things just declined. She developed an eating disorder and became an alcoholic. She only stopped when her kidneys failed (which was a complication from the gastric bypass). She passed in 2016.
      I don’t want to scare anyone from this procedure but I urge everyone to really research it and use it only as a last resort.

    4. Valerie T

      People who get gastric bypass have their primary drug taken away from them — food. And without dealing with the emotional issues underlying their eating, sadly alcoholism can be the result.

  2. Stefan

    My LOL quote of the episode:

    “Friggin…insanely advanced van.”

  3. April S.

    Watching her walk down the same walkway, meet her son in the same Lobby in the same treatment center that Elann made me immediately sad. I hope Maria is still kicking butt at sobriety; she reminds me alot of how my late Mother used to act when drunk.

    1. April S.

      *That Elann attended

    2. Dahlia

      IKR, immediately thought the same thing. I was honestly so scared that Maria would meet the same fate the whole episode.

  4. Xlio

    Please forgive me if this comes off insensitive. I realize alcohol has a lot of empty calories but how is that she never eats that she is still her size? It looks like she was smaller before. Just genuinely curious.

    This is at least the second I’ve seen gastric bypass play a role in alcoholism (Terry). Makes sense, one addiction for another.

    Once again, ignorant on the subject, but is there any overeater therapy offered or recommended to those undergoing gastric bypass by the medical staff? Maybe that would help get to the root of the problem.

    1. April S.

      Not all gastric bypass/sleeve patients have the surgery because of vanity reasons or an “addictive” eating disorder. In fact, the majority of them have it done for health reasons. My husband had the sleeve done because he is over 50 yrs old, has always had high blood pressure and has a military disability that prohibits him from extended exercise, and he didn’t overeat. As for “overeater therapy,” I’m sure it’s available by a psychologist, but it’s more of a nutrition class by a dietician for people who aren’t overweight because of an eating disorder.

  5. Mr B

    Why is the title of this episode “Maria -Rev”

    What is “Rev”?

  6. Mr B

    BTW, when I saw that Andrew Galloway was the interventionist, I knew she would end up being ok. He’s great, and I think — but not sure — he does a great job coaching the family in writing their letters. The letters always seem good when he’s there.

    1. Yora

      Although the dad’s was terrible. I cringed many times. Anytime the family says we want the old (name) back it makes me roll my eyes, because they really don’t get it.

  7. Matthew

    From the way her life story was told, it seems as if the first problematic ‘high’ for Maria was the rush of getting adult male (i.e. inappropriate/predatory) sexual attention when she was old enough to find it exciting but way too young to be able to process it. When she was married with three young children, she was cut off from that first ‘drug’ by her isolation and the responsibilities of parenting — so, perhaps, she attempted to find some replacement solace in food. The bypass surgery and weight loss offered her new access to her primary addiction… but since her need to be desired by men was born of unresolved pain and cumulative trauma, there was no freedom to be found in simply re-trading unhealthy eating for unhealthy sexuality. It all led her to alcohol as her latest and most physically damaging effort to find a substitute addiction and a way to cope with all that early hurt and confusion and dysregulation of her sexuality and sense of self and self-worth. For her sake and the sake of her wonderful kids, I sure hope her treatment team has been able to help her get to the bottom of all of that history over the years, and that she has managed to recover a capacity to feel healthy pleasure and desirability and loveability, free from shame, guilt, brokenness and deficit. If she has, I don’t doubt for a second that she can maintain a healthy relationship with men, food, booze, and whatever else comes her way.

  8. Tom

    Maria I am proud of you for taking the steps you have taken. Please continue your journey to a new life in better health, you are so pretty and such a sweet person I would marry you myself. Please take care of yourself and may God bless you

  9. LA

    We went to treatment together what a remarkable woman hope you are well

    1. Stefan

      I know you mentioned you were there with Elann as well. Did the two of them ever cross paths?