Location: Salem, Massachussettes
Addiction: Alcohol (vodka)
What’s memorable: Sean is one very likable dude, that’s what I’ll remember. Also, the condescending, good-life-choices brother, the co-dependent “Drunk Sean is who I fell in love with” wife Jules, the family that all denies that what Sean says happened when he was a kid actually happened. How much must it suck to not have anyone in your family believe you about something so huge? And the way Jules came through at the last minute, after Sean basically said he would disappear into the night with her if that’s what she wanted. Good on you, Jules. Good on you.
A gregarious man with an intense personality, 32 year-old Sean’s alcohol addiction is causing him to blackout and suffer seizures, which have his wife and family on edge.
Original Air Date: February 2013
Location: Fortuna, California
Addiction: Meth, Painkillers
What’s memorable: A lovable lady, this one, despite being pretty damn loopy. This is a very real and touching story, from Elena’s conflicts with her family over being a lesbian and the tragic loss of her partner, to the heartwarming and awesome followup. This is the first Intervention episode about an elderly meth addict.
Official Synopsis: Elena, 63, has no intentions of stopping her daily meth addiction, even though her children and grandchildren desperately want their adoring grandmother to get well.
Original Air Date: August 2012
Location: Bradenton, Florida
Addiction: Oxycodone, Xananx, Oxycontin
What’s memorable: What a messed up family she comes from. Her father pretty much ignored her once he had a son and now he outright considers her an investment gone bad. Also, the mother who writes books about being married to a muslim terrorist, and the creepy boyfriend. Wonder what happened to that guy? They don’t mention him after those couple of disturbing scenes. Also, Zeinah’s intervention is one of the most powerful I’ve seen. “I’m not scared of going to fucking rehab, it’s failing I’m scared of.”
Official Synopsis: Once a successful, outstanding student, Zeinah turned to drugs to deal with the drama-filled divorce between her Christian mother and Muslim father. After her husband overdosed, her drug use increased, and she lost custody of her daughter. Can Zeinah’s family forget their grudges and religious differences to come together and save her from her prescription pill death spiral?
Original Air Date: February 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
Age: late 30’s?
Location: Mastic, Long Island, New York
Addiction: Crack, alcohol
What’s memorable: Did you know that the mix of crack and alcohol results in more deaths than any other 2-drug combination? I didn’t know that before this episode. It’s surprising actually. I woulda thought maybe heroin and xanax, or pain meds and alcohol. ANYWAY, Donald seems like a thoroughly decent and caring guy who just can’t stay away from crack when life becomes just too hard for him to deal with (and things have certainly been hard, no doubt about it). He has a lot to lose and a lot to look forward to, I hope he was able to stay sober.
Official Synopsis: When he was five, Donald’s parents divorced. He longed for a strong father figure, but his father had very little contact with him. Donald became a gifted boxer, but ultimately chose drugs over his career. He joined a violent gang and turned to stealing to support his crack habit. Now his son is angry because Donald wasn’t there for him growing up. Donald’s girlfriend just had a baby and Donald has a second chance to be a good father, but his crack use is spiraling out of control.
Original Air Date: June 2009
Addiction: Alcohol (vodka)
What’s Memorable: Chris and Shawn’s story absolutely breaks my heart. Chris was in so much pain over being treated as less-than because his partner is a man. What he wanted more than anything was for his relationship of 15 years to be recognized as a legitimate one and his family just couldn’t do it.
Note: Chris committed suicide while under the influence of alcohol. Read about it here.
Official synopsis: Born into a family with traditional Catholic values, Chris struggled with his sexuality until coming out at 18. Now, at 34, Chris feels that being gay has cheated him out of the things he wants most–marriage, children, and inclusion in his family. He drinks first thing in the morning to ward off tremors, he’s abusive to his partner, and he can’t keep a job. His father believes Chris should be able to stop drinking by sheer force of will, but his mother believes that genetics is to blame for his alcoholism. Can the family overcome its divisions and work together for Chris?
Original Air Date: February 2009
What’s Memorable: How humble and self-aware she is about how her meth addiction has affected her life. Her father being in denial of her being a lesbian and her whole family believing that she should get over it and have a relationship with a man and with God, that that would solve all of her problems. It’s all kind of tragic really, but Tressa is so strong and a total survivor. I really like her.
Official synopsis: Tressa, 32, attended college on a track and field scholarship and became one of the world’s top female shot-putters, earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. But Tressa’s dreams were shattered when a routine drug test revealed that she had been living a double life as an Olympic hopeful and an IV drug user. With her Olympic career in shambles, Tressa uses crystal meth daily as her life spirals out of control. Can her family step in and save Tressa before she loses not only her career, but her life?
Original Air Date: February 2008
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Addiction: Alcohol, cocaine
What’s Memorable: The huge singing Christian family, the addicted little sister, the terribly repressed and abusive childhood.
Official synopsis: Jason, 23, was born into a strict Southern Baptist family. His father, a preacher, and his unstable mother doled out excessive punishments. But when Jason’s mother revealed she’s a lesbian, Jason’s father was banished from the church and had to take several jobs to feed his family. Left with no supervision, Jason turned to drugs and alcohol. And now his younger sister, Joy, is heading down the same self-destructive path, too. Can a double intervention save them?
Original Air Date: January 2008
Location: Seattle, Washington
What’s Memorable: This is another cautionary tale, like Gabe and Tamela, about what happens when religion gets in the way of truly being able to see a person. Ashley’s father (just like Gabe’s and Tamela’s)is especially incapable of connecting with her on any meaningful level. His response to her addiction is “this is about your relationship to God” and “if you died right now you’d go to hell” kind of thing. You can see Ashley’s pain at hearing “God loves you” instead of “I love you.”
Official synopsis: Growing up, Ashley, 20, was always considered the wild child. While her younger sister was quick to follow the rules and be active in the church, Ashley tended to reject her parents’ strong Christian values. The more her parents tried to guide her, the more she pulled away. By her teenage years, Ashley became a chronic runaway and drug addict. Her family sees an intervention as her only hope. But will Ashley take their efforts as a sign of love or another chance to run away?
Original Air Date: June 2007
What’s Memorable: The intensely dysfunctional relationship with her husband. The dutiful housewife/mother followup was rather shocking to me.
Official synopsis: Erin is a strong-willed Texan who relies on her good looks to get what she wants, which is meth. Erin got tired of being a mother and wife and began a drug-induced party lifestyle. Now Erin’s marriage is in pieces and her daughter has been sent to live with relatives. Can an intervention tame this wild Texas girl?
Original Air Date: January 2011
Season 2, Episode 5
Location: Los Angeles, California
Addiction: Meth, sex
What’s memorable: Sex with 20 men in one night. His understanding that gay meth users don’t ask about condoms.
Official synopsis: After relocating to Los Angeles, Troy had a promising future until his recreational crystal methamphetamine usage escalated into a full-blown addiction. While high Troy reports to having had, “hundreds of homosexual encounters.” Now homeless and unemployed, he sells methamphetamine and claims that injecting crystal meth helps him stay alert, and survive on the streets. Long time friends sought Intervention’s help.
Original Air Date: January 2006
Season 2, Episode 2
Addicted to: Heroin
What’s memorable: The nodding off into the bathroom mirror. Man, that was horrifying. Also, her reaction to the intervention.
Official synopsis: Audrey, 24, was popular and artistic. Now, she is a heroin addict living on the streets. She has been an addict for 5 years and her family feels like the next time they will see her is going to be in a coffin. Her family plans an intervention to save her, if they can.
Original Air Date: November 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Addicted to: Heroin, cocaine
What’s Memorable: Abandoned Indian street kid adopted by a white Christian couple who think that saving a poor dark boy is their ticket to heaven and their kids should live wholly by the Word of God. Who wouldn’t feel sorry for this guy? The dad is especially infuriating in his inability to connect with Gabe on any meaningful level due to his religious beliefs.
Official synopsis: When he was three, Gabe’s mother abandoned him on the streets of Calcutta, but he was adopted by a young American couple. Gabe seemed happy in America, but he secretly felt like an outsider. In high school he started to rebel and resent his Christian upbringing. He began using marijuana and cocaine, and later graduated to heroin. Then he squandered all of the $37,500 he received after a car accident to support his drug habit. Now the family fears that without an intervention, Gabe’s addiction and depression will soon lead to his death.
Original Air Date: May 2009
Age: Early 20’s?
Addicted to: Self-injury – Cutting
Addiction Trigger: Childhood sexual abuse and a religious family that ignored it and just prayed.
What is most memorable about this episode: The incredibly graphic episodes of cutting.
Official synopsis: Tamela, a 24-year-old artist, cuts herself with razor blades. As a child, she was molested and has a hard time getting over what happened. Her family hopes she will go into treatment.
Original Air DateMarch 2005