Season 16, Episode 7
Location: Beuna Park, California
What’s Memorable: Ken knocked this one out of the park. He developed a strategy for getting her to say yes based on what he knew about the family dynamics, and it worked. He knew exactly what she needed to hear. Well done Ken.
Official Synopsis: In three years, Diana’s alcoholism has gotten so bad that it has led her to being diagnosed with Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, an alcohol-related brain disorder, which recently landed her in the hospital with temporary paralysis and a feeding tube… which she poured vodka into! Diana’s addiction has destroyed her career, her relationships, and now her health. Her parents know that if she doesn’t get help now, she won’t live to celebrate her 30th birthday. Ken Seeley is Diana’s Interventionist.
Date Aired: Jan 2017
Season 15, Episode 6
Location: Central Square, New York
UPDATE: Karissa Hilts was killed in a hit-and-run crash in Florida on March 8, 2017. By all accounts she was sober at the time. Here is her obituary.
What’s Memorable: Despite her intimidating and manipulative behavior, Karissa is still somehow very likable. It’s not a mystery why she became an addict given her childhood traumas, but it’s clear that if she wasn’t addicted she would be such a cool person to be around. Also: That family diner has such personality, but it was disturbing to me what the non-family employees had to deal with everyday. I mean that’s a borderline abusive working environment, having to be witness to all that and pretend to not be affected. The idea that Karissa thinks she’s a ‘functional junkie’ because she gets up in the morning to go to work shows how deluded she is about what “functional’ means. Leaving work to go lie to the doctor in order to get Suboxone and immediately selling it for 10 bags of heroin and then needing people to stay up watching you all night with an overdose kit at hand because they’re afraid you’ve taken too many benzos with your heroin and you might die – that is not functional. I’m so glad Karissa made it and as of February 2016 is still sober. She deserves such a better life.
Official Synopsis: Karissa was always a talented cook – so much so, that her mother had one day hoped to pass the family diner down to her as a legacy. But Karissa’s life took a drastic turn when a close family friend fed her Oxycodone, and then ultimately made her a drug courier. From there Karissa was lost. Now, years of self-abuse, self-medication, and a severe addiction to heroin have left her volatile and desperate. Her family fears that if she does not heal from her violent past and the childhood she lost, she will never have the future she deserves.
Date Aired: April 2016
Interventionist: Sylvia (who rocked this one)
Season 15, Episode 4
Digger & Anne
Age: 34 and 29
Location: Weaverville, California
What’s Memorable: Their toxic relationship and what they show to their children – it’s just very, very ugly. There is so much addiction in and surrounding this family and the impact it’s all had on Blaze is remarkable. She’s a truly incredible, unbelievably perceptive person who knows way too much about how fucked up adults are.
Official Synopsis: Digger and Anne are husband and wife–and both are addicted to heroin. Intervening on addicted couples is incredibly difficult; and Digger and Anne’s situation is complicated further by other addicts in the family. Their three young children are in danger of losing both parents if the couple does not get help soon.
Date Aired: March 2016
Season 15, Episode 2
What’s Memorable: Everything is memorable. Her eyes, her bare feet, how the words coming out of her mouth mean something to her and nothing to anyone else. Every person in her entire support system is an addict in recovery and she felt like she needed war stories but then couldn’t handled them when they happened. Sierra’s brain cannot deal with drugs. Donna shows up for this one in a big way. I don’t think that any other interventionist could have done this intervention better than she did.
Official Synopsis: The daughter of a small business owner, Sierra was an honor student with dreams of college and a career in journalism. But when a double-dealing artist charmed his way into her mother’s life, he gambled away their home and the bottom fell out of Sierra’s world, leading to a frightening drug-induced psychotic break. Today, the 19-year-old is a feral junkie, scrapping for a fix on the streets of Northern California.
Original Air Date: March 2016
Season 15, Episode 1
Location: Helena, Montana
Addiction: Alcohol, benzos
What’s Memorable: The opening video diary cam segment, the anorexia photos, how messy and disoriented she gets, the admission to her mom that she sleeps with guys for alcohol money, stumbling down the street after getting booted from a dive bar, trying to convince her ex boyfriend to let her come over. And that cop? Not trained well.
Official Synopsis: Musically gifted, intelligent, and beautiful, everyone assumed Kaeleen was destined for great things. But what nobody knew was that from age four to eleven, Kaeleen was methodically sexually abused. Now Kaeleen lives in her own world of mental anguish. To numb the pain, she self medicates with opiates and alcohol. Her family knows that without help, this girl with so many gifts is destined for an early death.
Original Air Date: March 2016
Season 14, Episode 12
Location: Bradenton, Florida
Official Synopsis: Erin spent her teens and 20’s as an A-list rock-n-roll groupie, but a prescription to relieve neck pain got her hooked on Dialudid. Now her mother raises her 5 year old son while Erin prostitutes herself to mantain her habit. Her family calls on Sylvia Parsons, who was intervened on by Jeff VanVonderen in 2006, and who became the first subject of Intervention to ever make the transition to interventionist.
Original Air Date: August 2015
Season 14, Episode 12
Location: Rocklin, California
Addiction: Heroin, alcohol
Official Synopsis: At the age of 14, Joshua was badly beaten by his girlfriend’s father –
two years later he was molested by the leader of his youth group. He turned to heroin to cope with his traumas.
Update: Joshua Lee Turek passed away on March 23rd, 2017. It was reported to me that he died of a heroin overdose. Condolences to all the people who loved him, of which there were obviously many.
Note: Joshua commented below that he was not molested by his youth group leader and resents A&E’s inaccurate depiction of him in this episode.
Original Air Date: August 2015
Season 14, Episode 10
Location: Victoria, Texas
Official Synopsis: When James first tried meth, he’d thought he’d found a wonder drug to give him the energy for a demanding job, marraige, and fatherhood. But the resulting addiction and sprial took all of those things away from him. Now his ex-wife is trying to save his life so their sons will have a chance to know their father.
Original Air Date: August 2015
Season 14, Episode 8
Location: Brandon, Florida
Addiction: Alcohol and spice (I just had to add a new category for this first time in years)
What’s memorable: Well that was quite the ride. Bryceton seems like a pretty fun and interesting person trapped in the life of an addict, treating people like crap and in full denial about how his behavior is affecting the people who love him. I think this episode may have had more bleeps that any other in the history of Intervention. Man is he a scary dude when he’s high. On spice. WTF, SPICE? Is he just doing it instead of actual weed because it doesn’t show up on piss tests? I loved the follow up, and I will remember this quote forever: “When I look in the mirror I see a loser; a loser trying to convince himself he’s a winner.” That gave me chills for some reason.
Official Synopsis: A talented singer-songwriter, Bryceton’s addicton to alcohol and spice (synthetic marijuana) is completely out of control. His wife struggles to raise their son while coping with Bryceton’s erratic behavior, but she’s fighting a losing battle.
Original Air Date: May 2015
Interventionist: Jeff (JVV!)
Season 14, Episode 7
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
What’s memorable: Her parents not understanding how a 3 year old could even be molested, and not doing anything to support her when she finally told them about it. The things she said to her sister in law were awful and insenstive – there’s gotta be some amends to make there. I loved that she met Sam (from the last episode) in treatment and they became fast friends. Having someone there that just went through an intervention (televised!) must be so comforting. I hope they continue to help each other through recovery.
Official Synopsis: Suffering post-traumatic stress after being molested as a child, Mindie developed a drug habit in her teens that gave way to a full-on meth addiction in her 20’s.
Original Air Date: May 2015
Season 14, Episode5
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Addiction: Alcohol, some meth
What’s memorable: This kid had a rough life, no surprise he drinks too much. But wow does he drink too much. And the way he gets when he’s drunk: self-absorbed, messy, emotional, intimidating, dominant. I’ve known a lot of people who get like this when they’re drunk and they’re incredibly difficult to be around if you’re not just as drunk as they are. Which brings us to his relationship with his girlfriend Sarrah. He says “I’d give up my whole family for Sarrah” but their connection is probably based more on a shared love of drinking than anything else. (I’ve been in several eerily similar drunken relationships. They were intense and unhealthy and entirely dependent on alcohol to survive. They never ended well). I don’t recall if they show said she got sober too but I really hope so. I love what Daniel said after he accepted treatment: “How am I gonna turn all these people down? Everyone I love?” Seems like that’s the reason why a lot of the addicts on this show accept the treatment. Intervention works, dammit!
Synopsis: Daniel could have pursued a career as a songwriter, but a series of personal tragedies culminating in his father’s death led him to abuse a dangerous combination of alcohol and meth. Recently Daneil resumed a romantic relationship with Sarrah, a fellow addict who supplies Daniel with alcohol, and their booze-fuled nights escalate his already serious addiciton to deadly lows.
Original Air Date: April 2015
Location: Sunberry, Ohio
Addiction: Bath salts
What’s memorable: How she doesn’t really know how to shoot up and neither does her boyfriend but they shoot each other up with these bath salts and it’s absolutely horrifying to watch.
Official Synopsis: Alissa, 19 is a smart and fearless teenager who uses bath salts to mask her inner pain. Alissa must make peace with her estranged father in order to break free from her dangerous lifestyle and her self-destructive cycle.
Original Air Date: December 2012
Sarah & Mikeal
Age: 18 and 20
Location: Centerburg, Ohio
What’s memorable: The nasty bathroom they shoot up in and how sick they seem when they’re doing it, how addicted they are to each other, the moms trying to so hard to save their kids, how completely messed up Mikeal looks and acts in his interviews compared to what he looks like after treatment. He’s like the guy you see on the street that you know on first glance is a junkie, but then all the sudden he’s attractive and healthy looking. Such a transformation.
Official Synopsis: Like Romeo and Juliet on heroin, Mikeal and Sarah are a poor boy and a rich girl who have found sanctuary in each other’s pain. Sarah’s family feels that Mikeal has corrupted their daughter, taking Sarah from a casual pill abuser to a full-blown heroin addict. But now both families now agree that an intervention is their only hope. Will Sarah and Mikeal get help, or help each other tumble deeper into addiction?
Original Air Date: June 2011
Location: Grand Junction Colorado
What’s memorable: Doing drugs with his son, relapsing after 18 years, losing 10 million dollars in the recession, living alone in that mansion, the position he held in his community for so long, the tough childhood, what a likable and self-aware man he is.
56-year-old Terry, a charismatic businessman, spiritual leader and father, was destroying his legacy with his crack addiction and taking his adoring son down with him.
Original Air Date: December 2012
Location: Inwood, West Virginia
What’s memorable: Wow. Lots. I don’t recall any other addict that came from a religious family but where the religion wasn’t a trigger or contributed to the distance between the addict and their family. Tiffany is an addict who actually still fully embraces her spirituality and relationship with God despite her behaviors, which seems to be keeping her close to her family. I didn’t word that very well, hopefully it made sense. Anyway, what else: the relationship she has with her biological dad, the reversal that happened at the intervention (also don’t think I’ve seen that happen before – the intervention addict actually having to give consequences to another addicted family member), the tearful and inspiring followup, the Haiti mission. I mean jeez, Tiffany is truly amazing. She makes me wanna be a better person.
Tiffany is a 19-year-old, doe-eyed, innocent looking young woman who treks to the seediest parts of Baltimore to score heroin while her family tries to pray the “devil” out of her.
Original Air Date: January 2013
Location: Carson City, Nevada
What’s memorable: Her parents. Wow. Yeah they came around and stepped up in the end, but during Megan’s childhood and even throughout the show they were just plain terrible at dealing with things. That a mother would hold her 15 year old daughter responsible for “sleeping with” her own boyfriend, blame Megan for doing it to try and ‘get back’ at her, and then run off with him in order to get away from her daughter’s supposed seductions – holy shit, that’s just unbelievable. Also memorable is how awesome the interventionist Seth was here. He made the parents take responsibility for their part in Megan’s addiction, forcing the mom to accept that she was “1000 percent wrong” and the dad that he didn’t do anything to help Megan when she needed him the most. I have new respect for Seth – he was rightfully hard on them and the outcome of the intervention was positive.
Megan is a 24-year-old addict who turned to drugs to kill the excruciating pain she experienced as a young teen after her innocence was stolen by her mother’s boyfriend. Today, Megan’s life is at a critical point and she is facing a long stint in prison with her next mistake.
Original Air Date: November 2012
Location: Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Addiction: Fentanyl (injected)
What’s memorable: His funny and oddly charming little laughs, the room he keeps for his daughter, his swollen hands and track marks, his seemingly proud identity as an addict, the sexual abuse he suffered as a child and his parents doing nothing about it (that’s a very common experience among addicts profiled on this show, I’ve noticed). “I feel like I’m a shell, nothing inside but emptyiness.” – Terry.
Terry, 32, is a chef who dreamed of opening and managing his own restaurant, but his career, marriage and parental rights to his nine-year-old daughter have hit a dead end as a result of his $500 a day cocaine and fentanyl addiction.
Original Air Date: September 2012
Location: Kingston, Pennsylvania
Addiction: Alcohol (vodka)
What’s memorable: Her chronic weight issues and her turn to alcohol instead of food (a gallon of vodka a day!), her mother’s abusive obsession with Terry’s looks. “I think appearances do make the person” – Mom. Also, how her mom didn’t believe her when she told her she was sexually abused as a child. It’s really no wonder why Terry drinks herself stupid everyday.
Official Synopsis: Once a stunning model and devoted mother, Terry binges on vodka every day to escape her mother’s taunts and her father’s neglect. She ignores her doctor’s warning that she will be dead in six months if she doesn’t stop drinking.
Original Air Date: April 2012
Location: Miami, Florida
What’s memorable: This whole story is about women. Ladies everywhere! Ok there’s the junkie boyfriend who never actually speaks to the camera and the totally absent father who Courtney met when she was 10 and who quickly abused her and she never talked to again. But other than that, this is a story about a family of women horribly affected by their precious girl’s addiction. 20 years old with abscesses and scars all over, hooking for heroin. Also memorable: The crazy, breathless, on-the-go intervention and the surprising followup.
Official Synopsis: Nicknamed the “junkie princess” by her drug-abusing friends, Courtney, 20, injects heroin up to eight times a day and prostitutes herself to finance her own and her boyfriend’s addiction. But now Courtney’s mother, sister, and grandmother are planning an intervention in one last-ditch attempt to convince her to leave her boyfriend and accept treatment.
Original Air Date: March 2012
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
What’s memorable: The pain and abuse he suffered as a child, how delusional he is about how meth is affecting his life and what he thinks it does for him, the non-intervention, the icky and sad predilection toward incest-themed sexual encounters. “I’ve been anticipating the desires of adult males since I was 5 years old.” – Richard.
Official Synopsis: A 34-year-old gay man, Richard grew up knowing he was different and never feeling accepted. His stepfather disciplined him severely for his effeminate behavior. Today, Richard lives in subsidized housing and has done everything from dealing to prostituting himself to support his meth addiction. Richard’s family will have to make amends to him if they hope to get through to him.
Original Air Date: January 2012
Location: El Centro, California
What’s memorable: What a great dad he is, other than the whole heroin addict thing. “I love my family to death, it just seems that heroin comes first, above all.” He shoots up before seeing his little boys because he’d rather be high around them than not see them at all. I don’t think he knows that his boys know exactly what’s going on. Ugh. Sad.
Official Synopsis: Growing up with an abusive mother, Dionicio turned to crime and drugs as a teen. He became a father, but couldn’t handle the pressure of providing for a family. Now he spends his time panhandling and shooting heroin.
Original Air Date: August 2010
Location: Don’t remember
What’s memorable: How needy and depressed and downright annoying she gets when she’s drunk, the childhood abuse that still haunts her everyday and that she is obviously self-medicating to deal with.
Official Synopsis: Pam is a 49-year-old alcoholic who has suffered a string of abusive, failed marriages and horrific molestation as a child. Drinking is her only way to cope. Her frightened family has already lost one sibling to cirrhosis of the liver. Their greatest fear is that Pam will fall to the same fate unless an intervention can save her life.
Original Air Date: August 2007
Location: Wendell, North Carolina
What’s memorable: Richard is the epitome of the self-loathing addict. He positively hates himself and what he’s doing to his family, but his pain is so great that he just can’t stop. He is so very, very sick. And so is his wife. She and their daughter have sacrificed their livelihoods to take care of him and keep him alive.
Official Synopsis: Now 53, Richard has kept a traumatic childhood event secret all his life. As early as age 11, he used alcohol to numb the emotional pain. As an adult, he was diagnosed with diabetes, and his health problems were exacerbated by his drug and alcohol abuse. He was able to keep his addictions in check while he and his wife, Sandy, raised two children. But when he was injured at work, Richard abused his prescriptions and eventually became addicted to crack cocaine.
Original Air Date: May 2010
Location: New Mexico
Addiction: Alcohol (vodka), anorexia, self-injury (cutting)
What’s memorable: How morose and depressed she is, suicidal to the point of people being tired of hearing her threaten to kill herself. She’s clearly reaching out for help and attention though, and has been for many many years, but her family consistently has ignored and dismissed her. “You shouldn’t have to work so hard to convince your parents that you need help.” Indeed. Oh, and also, her sister telling her SHE SHOULDN’T HAVE GOTTEN HERSELF RAPED. “I warned her not to put herself in those situations.” That’s a seriously messed up thing to say.
Official Synopsis: Amy grew up feeling unloved and unable to meet her parents’ high expectations. She was also molested by a neighbor when she was eight, but never told anyone in her family. She began to self-mutilate and restrict her diet, and by 17, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Now, Amy eats only 500 calories a day, drinks up to two bottles of vodka a night, and regularly self-mutilates. Amy’s family is ready to give up on her, but they still don’t know about Amy’s sexual abuse. Only Amy’s friend, Jessica, knows the truth, but will she have the courage to tell Amy’s family before it’s too late?
Original Air Date: December 2009
Donna & Josh
Age: Josh is 20, Donna is 47
Location: Covington, Washington
What’s memorable: The very unhealthy mother-son dynamic. The awesome followup.
Official Synopsis: Every day, Donna, 47, and her son, Josh, 20, cause a storm of drinking, fighting, and chaos in the overcrowded home they share with Donna’s sister, mother, and a stable-full of dogs and cats. Raised by alcoholic parents, Donna was exposed to violence and abuse at an early age, and later drank so heavily that she lost custody of her two children. Josh, now an adult, has moved back in with Donna, and they have become drinking buddies. Both mother and son need help desperately to save themselves and to stop the cycle of alcoholism from being passed down to another generation of their family.
Original Air Date: June 2010
Addiction: Self-injury (hits herself), plastic surgery, shopping
What’s memorable: Sharon hits herself with her hairbrush in the head, in the stomach. She tried to kill her dog in the toilet, and she still spends everyday with her grandchildren. No one has any idea what’s going on her her head. It’s hard for anyone watching to know what’s going on in her head. Needless to say, her self-esteem issues have seriously affected her life, yet she seems like a really good, caring, sympathetic person.
Official Synopsis: A 51-year-old grandmother, Sharon is a compulsive shopper who has undergone numerous plastic surgeries to feel better about her appearance. She also feels she must hit herself. She has bruises on her thighs and stomach and repeatedly hits her head with a hairbrush. Now things are getting even worse. Sharon recently got the urge to drown one of her Chihuahuas; she didn’t harm the dog, but now Sharon’s daughter is terrified that Sharon might try to harm her grandchildren. Sharon’s dangerous compulsions need to stop.
Original Air Date: March 2009
Location: near Portland, Oregon
Addiction: Alcohol, sex
What’s Memorable: A gallon of wine a day! The glamorous drug dealing life she had before, the crusty old boyfriend, what a hot crying mess she is ALL THE TIME, the amazing followup.
Official synopsis: At age 6, Janet was molested. She was also bullied by other kids, making her extremely self-conscious about her looks. At 18, she married a drug dealer who made her rich, but her husband was sent to prison, leaving her alone with two sons. She turned to drugs and alcohol, and had multiple affairs. Her husband discovered one of her affairs and divorced her. Janet remarried and had two more children, but she missed her old luxurious lifestyle and began drinking heavily. Now she frequently passes out, threatens suicide, and puts herself in life-threatening situations.
Original Air Date: December 2008
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
What’s Memorable: Oh this poor messed-up girl, living her whole life under the shadow of her older sister, to the point that her mother thought she may be the reincarnation of her. She was also molested as a kid and gang raped as a teenager – it’s not a mystery why she needs to numb out. I just hope she was able to find her way out and figure out who she is.
Official synopsis: Brittany was born five years after the brutal rape and murder of her 9-year-old sister, Terry. Brittany struggled with the pressure to live up to her mother’s perfect image of Terry. At 12, Brittany was molested, and she began taking drugs and sneaking out at night–anything to get out from under Terry’s shadow. Now she shoots up Dilaudid six times a day, begs family members for money and prostitutes herself. Brittany’s mother scrambles to give Brittany enough money for her fix. Desperate and on the verge of bankruptcy, Brittany’s family prepares for an intervention.
Original Air Date: December 2008
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Addiction: Dyspahsia- not swallowing, also pain pills
What’s Memorable: She hasn’t swallowed food or liquid in 14 years! I mean seriously. Not even saliva. That’s disturbing enough, but her inability to swallow is a traumatized response to being forced to perform oral sex on her friend’s father when she was a child. The man who did is admitted to it, got probation, and still lives in her neighborhood, triggering her over and over. Her parents did nothing when it happened. And now everyone just tells her she should get over it and move on, that she’s just looking for attention. No one in her life seems to have any kind of sympathy for her, they just think she’s disgusting. I mean she clearly needs help, she’s very unhealthy, and she’s been resistant to getting that help, but I just think that if her family could get a grip on WHY she is the way she is, and that she needs their support and not their judgment, she would be more willing to get better.
Official synopsis: After being molested as a child, Nicole developed an unusual eating disorder–she was unable to swallow. By age 16, she weighed just 68 pounds, and doctors inserted a feeding tube into her stomach. The tube was supposed to be temporary, but 16 years later, Nicole still relies on the tube and can’t swallow any food or liquids. She also abuses prescription drugs and neglects her two daughters. Her husband plans to divorce her if she continues to neglect their children.
Original Air Date: December 2008
What’s Memorable: “I’ll probably die on the streets, and I hope it’s sooner rather than later.” The scene of him shooting up in the fast food restaurant bathroom is disturbing. What a life. The followup is amazing.
Update: Sadly, Charles died of an overdose on March 10, 2014. My heart goes out to his loved ones and everyone who was touched by his story.
Official synopsis: A talented motocross rider, Charles, 23, is still dealing with terrible childhood memories. When he was seven, his father went to jail for molesting him and his younger brother, and his mother became an alcoholic. Today, he uses heroin and alcohol to blot out his memories, but he’s pushed most of his family away. Now, his half-sister, Lindsey, is reuniting the family in one last attempt to help Charles with an intervention.
Original Air Date: July 2008