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Episode 222: Sturgill

Season 16, Episode 6

Sturgill
Age: 23
Location:  Sissonville, West Virginia
Addiction:  Methadone, Alcohol, Benzos

What’s Memorable: I’ve watched every episode of Intervention, many of them multiple times, and after 16 seasons in 12 years, it’s become more and more difficult for me to get emotional. Maybe it’s because I know the show’s formula so well and I’ve seen all the possible endings – from successful treatment to relapse to death – that it’s hard to surprise me. I don’t even try to guess anymore if an addict is going to be successful or even survive. You just never know until you get to that final black screen. But it bothers me that it doesn’t make me cry so much anymore. I mean this is sad, heavy stuff and I used to cry at every pretty much every episode, now it’s 1 or maybe 2 per season that does it to me. Anyway, this was apparently that episode. I can’t say what it was exactly that cause me to cry like a little baby at the end. Maybe because Sturgill was such a good and warm-hearted guy. Maybe it was how much he and his family cried in pain and in joy, or how hopeful but honest Sturgill was after getting sober. Maybe it was that he wanted to get into Drug & Alcohol counseling to help other people because that’s just the kind of person he is. Maybe it’s just my own issues with addiction being triggered by his story. I don’t know, but this was an excellent episode of Intervention and it gets placed in the Most Likeable Addicts and Most Uplifting episodes. Because that’s how I felt when it was over. Uplifted. Hopeful. Happy. Like Sturgill.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oX5zvExzSCk

Official Synopsis:  Sturgill was a promising young golden gloves boxer and wrestler who dreamed of the Olympics. He was also an academically gifted pre-med student. But a broken arm and multiple surgeries led to a pain pill addiction, which soon turned to heroin. Now, Sturgill’s drug habit includes a dangerous combination of Methadone, benzos and alcohol. His family fears that he’s on the verge of mixing that one fatal dose. Sylvia Parsons is Sturgill’s Interventionist.

Date Aired:  Dec 2016
Interventionist: 
Sylvia

Episode 210: Daniel & Robert

Season 15, Episode 7

Daniel and Robert
Age: 30 and 31
Location: Westfield, Massachusetts 
Addiction: Heroin

What’s Memorable: Oof. This is a tough one but also hugely satisfying. The ugly situation at their dad’s house, the bedroom Daniel & Renee live in, the heated custody fight between the grandparents in the intervention room, Renee refusing to admit to using drugs but still going to treatment (no surprise that she had to address an eating disorder, she was scary skinny). These three people were all so damn sick, and all of them went to treatment and got healthy. Intervention saves lives.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0mQumAHzLM

Official Synopsis:  Brothers Daniel and Robert were on the road to success. Daniel was headed for a career with the NY Yankees and Robert was an aspiring civil engineer. Injury ended a once bright career for Daniel who slid into using pain pills and then heroin to cope. The constant insecurity of living in his younger brother’s shadow lead Robert down the same path. Now the brothers spend their days injecting up to 21 bags of heroin per day–each. It is only a matter of time before this family loses both boys. Jeff Van Vondernen is the Interventionist.

Date Aired:  April 2016
Interventionist:  
Jeff

Episode 201: Erin

Season 14, Episode 12

erin14

Erin
Age: 36
Location: Bradenton, Florida
Addiction: Dilaudid

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcWOsE98v38

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 maintain 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
Interventionist: Sylvia

Episode 195: Samantha

Season 14, Episode 6

samantha2

Samantha
Age: Late 20’s?
Location: Randolph, New York
Addiction:  Heroin, Xanax
What’s memorable: The crazy webs of lies she gets herself into to get money for drugs, the “friend” Rich who is definitely NOT a friend, the horrific rape she suffered as a young teenager, the dad saying “I wish you’d die” and her responding with “me too.”  So glad she made it through treatment, she looked awesome.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZgP6UHe2Wg

Synopsis: When Sam was 6 her life took a drastic turn when her parents divorced and her father moved away. At 14, Sam’s life changed forever when she was sexually assaulted.  She turned to a life of partying, fueled by alcohol and Ecstasy. A fast downward spiral into heroin followed and today Sam is a full blown addict.
Original Air Date: April 2015
Interventionist: Ken

Episode 146: Penny Lee

Season 10, Episode 6

pennyless

Penny Lee
Age: 48
Location: Waipahu, Hawaii
Addiction: Alcohol (beer)
What’s memorable: The crazytown drunken rants, how she quit her long-term job because she wanted to drink, how guilty her son feels about going to live with their dad, how she’s forced to babysit her grandson and has to beg to get paid for it because her daughter knows she’d buy beer with it. “If they feel they can’t trust me with money, then why trust me with my grandson?” Penny Lee does make sense sometimes. The intervention is a powerful one.

“We’re gonna do our very best to heal your whole family. You don’t ever have to live this way again” – Candy

“Thank you.” – Penny Lee

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6948A1pZh4

Official Synopsis: Living in a small Hawaiian village, Penny-Lee has an infectious laugh and loves to have fun. But despite having a good family life and four children to be proud of, she’s an out-of-control alcoholic who spends most of her time alone, screaming and crying out to no one as she downs beer after beer. An intervention is her family’s last hope for their beloved family matriarch.

Original Air Date: July 2011
Interventionist: Candy

Episode 154: Zeinah

Season 11, Episode 7

zeianh

Zeinah
Age: 24
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.”

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3DQ6NLo0cE

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
Interventionist: Jeff

Episode 41: Hubert

Season 3, Episode 6

hubert-alcohol

Hubert
Age: 50
Location: Los Angeles, California
Addiction: Alcohol

What’s memorable: By all accounts an amazing, happy, fun, cool guy that is now homeless on the streets of LA and drinks all day. Hubert’s story is the episode that made me realize what it is I learned from this show that makes me love it so much: That every addict you meet is so much more than what they seen. It’s harder to appreciate an addict’s humanity when you see them living at their rock bottom – homeless, panhandling, prostituting – but people like Hubert remind you of it. Also memorable: his bipolar homeless friend John who really tries to take care of him despite wanting to walk away but caring too much to that. The neighborhood real estate officer who saw Hubert’s humanity and called the Intervention producers. The awesome, caring family who loves him so much. Hubert’s need to please his father.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvgHNHyLjbg

Official Synopsis: Growing up Hubert, now 50, never felt truly loved by his stepfather. And his stepfather admits giving more love and attention to his three biological children. Meanwhile, Hubert protected his brother and sisters from hearing and seeing their parents screaming and hitting one another. Forty years later, it’s Hubert’s siblings’ turn to help him overcome a horrible alcohol addiction that has left him living on the streets of Los Angeles for the past six months.

Original Air Date: April 2007
Interventionist: Ken

Episode 83: Tiffany

Season 5 Episode 14

Tiffany
Age: 20’s
Location: Undetermined
Addiction: Alcohol (vodka)

What’s memorable: Hospitalized 20 times for alcohol-related injuries – Yikes! How her parents are both alcoholics but deny that that has anything to do with Tiffany’s problem. How AMAZING she looked after treatment – her followup video is a must watch.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfM95gt3Mag

Official Synopsis: A tall, beautiful brunette, Tiffany maintained a perfect GPA in high school and played Varsity basketball. But despite her achievements, Tiffany’s childhood was plagued by her parents’ violent marriage and their drug and alcohol abuse. She married at 19 to escape the pain of her youth, but her controlling husband forced her to move back in with her mother. Battling feelings of worthlessness, Tiffany self-medicated with alcohol. Now, she has been hospitalized numerous times for alcohol-related injuries and has attempted suicide.

Original Air Date: July 2008
Interventionist: Candy

Episode 61: Tom

Season 4, Episode 17

Tom

Tom
Age: 50’s?
Location: South Boston, Massachusettes
Addiction: Heroin

What’s memorable: The mobster life, the late introduction to heroin, the odd relationship with his ex-wife.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_H2FkqIpGas

Official Synopsis: Tom got caught up in a gangster lifestyle while growing up in a South Boston neighborhood run by an Irish mob. By the time he was 20, Tom was holding down a job in the day as a Boston fireman and dealing drugs and running with the wiseguys at night. But through it all, Tom remained a loving, loyal father to his four children. But all his came crashing down one day when he was caught and indited on drug charges, losing his home, his job and his family’s respect. Can an intervention help cement Tom and his family back together again?

Original Air Date: July 2008
Interventionist: Candy

Episode 95: Danielle

Season 6, Episode 9

Danielle Season 6 Episode 95

Danielle
Age: 33
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Addiction: Percocet, Self-injury (cutting, burning)

What’s memorable: 50 percs a day! Damn, girl. But Danielle is severely clinically depressed and suicidal and genuinely believes that she needs these pills in order to not kill herself. Also memorable: the husband who is still there because he made a commitment and will take care of her no matter what, the alcoholic dad who now drinks 10 weeks a year, and the mother who gives her her own legitimately prescribed percocet.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSFa3nHgEA4

Official Synopsis: Although she has two loving children and an adoring husband, Danielle is dangerously addicted to Percocet. As a teen, Danielle felt neglected by her alcoholic father and began cutting herself. Now she spends each day hiding behind closed curtains, ignoring her children, and self-medicating with up to 40 Percocet a day. An intervention is the last chance Danielle’s children have to get their mother back.

Original Air Date: July 2009
Interventionist: Jeff

Episode 68: Allison

Season 4, Episode 19

Allison
Age: Mid-20’s
Location: Looks like New England, maybe Massachusettes?
Addiction: Inhalants (computer duster)
What’s Memorable: This one comes in 2nd as the most famous episode (after Cristy (Season 2), mostly due to the “I’m walkin on sunshine!” soundbite. 10 cans of duster a day is completely insane and she’s just out of it. I think what’s most shocking about this episode is that she survived this addiction.

Update: Allison continues to do really well in recovery. You can follow her on Twitter here. She’s an inspiration.

Legacy Update:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-jp3bgyUCo

Official synopsis: She was a pre-med student on her way to becoming a surgeon, but the trauma of being molested as a child and her parents’ brutal divorce haunted Allison. She started to inhale computer dust remover, which is potentially fatal with each breath. Her erratic behavior and absence from classes got Allison dropped from the pre-med program. Allison is currently inhaling up to ten cans of dust remover a day. Can interventionist Jeff help Allison and her family?

Original Air Date: August 2008
Interventionist: Jeff

Episode 55: Josh

Season 4, Episode 6

Josh Season 4 episode 5

Josh
Age: 22
Location: Undetermined
Addiction: Food
What’s Memorable: How sad he is that he got so big, the incredibly messed-up family dynamic, especially dealing with his father. The followups and Josh’s subsequent youtube videos that shed more light on his situation. Here’s the latest video I could find.

Note: Josh is in the “Homosexuality as possible addiction trigger” category because he came out after the episode aired. I don’t know for sure that being in the closet was a part of his overeating, but it certainly makes sense.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hVbtf5L7O0&t=81s

Official synopsis: Next, a talented singer and the owner of his own karaoke business, 22-year-old Josh is addicted to food and weighs 550 lbs. Josh’s father, Rex, has the same weight problem–at 317 lbs., he’s a diabetic who’s had six strokes. Now, Rex watches helplessly as Josh follows in his footsteps toward an early death. Josh’s mother and two brothers hope that an intervention will be a wake-up call for the whole family to choose health.

Original Air Date: January 2008
Interventionist: Ken

Episode 45: Leslie

Season 3, Episode 10

leslie

Leslie
Age: Late 30’s?
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Addiction: Alcohol (vodka, mouthwash)
What’s Memorable: Ugh. This one is painful to watch. Leslie is completely obsessed with alcohol in a way I’ve never seen before. It almost seems at times that she’s acting like she thinks a bottomed-out alcoholic would act, but I just can’t imagine that anyone would treat their family the way she does as a performance, and not as a result of her terrible addiction. Also, the mouthwash. What the hell.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDtEKRW8oFo

Official synopsis: Leslie is a Sunday school teacher, PTA member, soccer mom of three and a raging alcoholic. When she can’t get her hands on vodka or wine, Leslie resorts to economy size bottles of mouthwash. After countless arrests and DUI’s, her husband is hoping to find help for the mother of his children before it’s too late. It’s time for Leslie to choose: her alcohol or her family.
Original Air Date: June 2007
Interventionist: Candy

Episode 123: Amber

Season 8, Episode 5

amber2

Amber
Age: 20’s
Location: Portland, Oregon
Addiction: Bulimia, Alcohol
What’s Memorable: Trophy wife syndrome: She got the life she always thought she wanted, but wasn’t never happy with it. Also, her family that signed a contract saying they would go to family treatment if she agreed to get help, and never went.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqdm9DtUEpY

Official synopsis: When Amber was molested as a young child, she bottled up her emotions. She began binge eating, and became bulimic because she wanted to be popular and beautiful like her older sister. After high school, Amber had a baby and married, and managed to look like she was living an idyllic family life. But she was actually depressed, drinking heavily, and purging regularly. Her family hopes an intervention can help her confront her problems.

Original Air Date: July 2010
Interventionist: Candy

Episode 32: Sylvia

Season 2 Episode 19

Sylvia
Age: 49
Location: North Carolina
Addiction: Alcohol
What’s Memorable: Sylvia has a truly powerful and memorable story. The crying for her babies, the drinking out of little liquor bottles in her car during work, the drinking at work, the stealing wine in her mother’s kitchen and getting too drunk to go to the game she had wanted so badly to be sober for. She’s also a very inspiring story. She ended up being an addiction counselor and joined the show as an Interventionist a few years ago.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lImvGjHP7K4

Official synopsis: Sylvia had four wonderful kids, a strong marriage, and a successful business. But when family tragedies struck, Sylvia looked for solace in the bottle, and today she is a frail, vulnerable, alcoholic. An intervention is her only hope.

Original Air Date: December 2006
Interventionist: Jeff

Episode 91: Sonia and Julia

Season 6 Episode 3


Sonia (top) and Julia (bottom)
Age: 23
Location: Columbia, South Carolina
Addiction: Anorexia
What’s memorable: Everything. It seems so clear that these two are addicted to each other, positively obsessed with each other, and not eating/being thin is just another way for them to compete. I mean they’ve obviously got a serious eating disorder, but it’s more obvious than usual that it is a symptom of much deeper emotional issues developed as a result of them never having had their own identities apart from being a twin. It’s such a sad story. I really hope they’re doing well now.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmZD_8a1m-8&t=71s

Official synopsis:  Identical twins Sonia and Julia, 22, shared everything as children and grew up in a loving home. Their parents emigrated from Poland and worked multiple jobs to send their children to the best schools. But now the family’s American Dream is turning into a nightmare as Sonia and Julia are withering away from anorexia. The sisters’ competitive spirit has turned to bitter rivalry and jealousy. And they’re so stricken with fear that the other will burn more calories that they never let each other out of their sight. Now their desperate parents seek help.

Original Air Date: June 2009
Interventionist: Ken

Episode 96: Joey

Season 6 Episode 11

Joey
Age: 25
Location: Pittsburgh
Addiction: Heroin
What’s memorable: The sad, action-packed adventure intervention. Also memorable for me – He seems like he was probably a completely awesome guy when he was sober & in the program, before his latest relapse. The kind of guy you’d want as your sponsor, ya know?

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u91CF0-Q4Aw

Official synopsis:  With a terrifying addiction to heroin, Joey’s career as a tattoo artist is in jeopardy. His parents divorced when he was three. At 13, Joey started smoking marijuana and soon graduated to ecstasy, LSD, and heroin. When he stole his mother’s credit cards, she reluctantly filed charges and he went to jail. He has a daughter now, but the girl’s mother is afraid to let Joey be alone with her. An intervention is the only way to stop Joey from overdosing.

Original Air Date: August 2009
Interventionist: Ken

Episode 25: John

Season 2, Episode 12

John Season 2 episode 9

John
Age: 33
Location: Boston
Addiction: Alcohol, cocaine, crack

Update: John sent me an email – he’s doing really well. He’s been sober since his intervention almost 9 years ago and is married with a son. He even gives talks at local high schools, sharing his story in the hopes it can help students. Congratulations for all you’ve accomplished in your sobriety John, and thanks for keeping us updated.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuFlLzRgLOo

Official synopsis:  At 33, all John can see is the loss in his life. His mother died when he was 12. This year, he lost his sister, his cousin and his best friend. His only escape from it all is in his addiction to crack and alcohol, an addiction that has already come close to taking his life. His family and friends cannot imagine losing someone else. Their only hope is an intervention and the possibility that John will seek treatment.

Original Air Date: July 2006
Interventionist: Jeff

Episode 141 – Eddie

Season 10, Episode 3

eddie

Eddie
Age: 30’s
Location: Pennsylvania
Addicted to: Alcohol, gambling
What’s Memorable: That seriously tearjerking intervention.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdWRSyiwRGc

Official synopsis:  Eddie, an All-American baseball player in college with offers to play in the majors, was pursuing two master’s degrees but school pressure and his father’s overbearing expectations pushed Eddie to drink and gamble heavily. His addictions have left him divorced, homeless, and in legal trouble due to five DUI charges. Can an intervention save this once perfect son and hometown hero from self-destruction?

Original Air Date: July 2011
Interventionist: Jeff

Episode 129: Michelle (Felix)

Michelle-Felix

Michelle/Felix
Age: 29
Addicted to: Heroin
Location: California
What’s memorable: Felix’s whole story seems like a pre-transition narrative. His relationship with his girlfriend was very memorable.

Legacy Update:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hrm6hCLIB6M

Official synopsis:  Michelle, a lesbian, was abandoned by her father at age three, molested by a stranger at five, and ridiculed in middle school for her skin color. The love of her life left her when she decided to become a man. Now Michelle is struggling with heroin and desperately needs an intervention.

Original Air Date: December 2010
Interventionist: Candy

Episode 5: Sara

Season 1, Episode 5

Sara
Age: 24
Location: Minnesota
Addicted to: Meth
What’s memorable: How badly she wants to quit, but just can’t.  The follow-up.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6tYSe4au98

Official synopsis: She had everything she ever wanted out of life, including a wonderful husband and family. In fact, she almost had a perfect life until it all ended in divorce. Not knowing how to handle the divorce, she turned to crystal meth. Sara is now a junkie and has lost everything in her life, including her daughter. She lives at home with her parents and continues using drugs. Her family hopes she will get help to get her life back.

Original Air Date: April 2005
Interventionist: Candy

Episode 9: Kelly P.

Season 1 Episode 9

Kelly
Age: 20’s
Location: Florida
Addiction: Anorexia

What’s Memorable: Kelly really helped me understand the thought processes of an anorexic. She’s very articulate about her disease, and she seems like a wonderful person.

Legacy Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSAdBQuaSzA

Official synopsis:  Kelly is an anorexic who weighs 93 pounds and whose young daughter is following in her footsteps, often picking at her food or refusing to eat altogether. Her friends are seeking help not just to save Kelly, but her daughter as well.

Original Air Date: June 2005
Interventionist: Jeff

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