Location: Fortuna, California
What’s memorable: It’s great to see Elena doing so well, she was one of my all time favorites, but it’s terrible that she has to feel responsible for introducing her granddaughter to meth. Sarah’s in some severe denial, thinking she’s just partying like any other 21 year old. “Gimme a line and I’ll do it. It’s not hurting me really so I don’t know why it’s a big deal.”
Official Synopsis: When her rock and best friend, her grandmother Elena, went away to treatment, Sarah, 21, spiraled out of control. Today, in denial of her own addiction, Sarah is on the same path of addiction her grandmother was on just six months ago. This cycle of addiction must stop in this family now, or unfortunately, Elena will pass on a legacy of addiction instead of recovery.
Original Air Date: August 2012
Age: 42 -ish
Location: South – maybe North Carolina?
Addiction: Alcohol (wine)
What’s memorable: It’s weird how Jackie says she isn’t an alcoholic but hides her wine bottles around the house and wraps them up when she throws them out so she doesn’t have to hear the clinking. Not to mention having completely lost her daughter as a result of her drinking. I mean how many more signs does she need?
Once known as the “the prettiest girl in town,” Jackie had a promising career as a radiation therapist. She became a wealthy doctor’s wife, a country club member, and a proud mother. But Jackie was haunted by childhood traumas. She was devastated when her father died when she was 13. And as an overweight adolescent, she was teased with the nickname “Fat Jack” and felt she was never as good as her pretty sister. After Jackie’s second pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, she turned to alcohol. She’s had three failed stints in rehab and an ugly divorce. Today, Jackie drinks two bottles of wine a day and regularly suffers broken bones and bruises in her drunken state.
Original Air Date: January 2010
Location: Glendale, Arizona
Addiction: Bath Salts
What’s memorable: Bath salts, holy crap! Still new enough to be legal and bought at the store. The psychosis it causes is truly alarming and this guy has completely lost it. The things he does to combat against the hallucinations, how they tell him to kill himself. Also, the teenage reality show he was on, as the unlikeable “geeky Asian kid” that totally demoralized him, and the horrible way he talks to his mother and adores his absent father.
Official Synopsis: When Skyler was a kid, his mother pushed him to do modeling and TV work, but the tension drove Skyler to drugs. Now he uses the new synthetic drug “bath salts,” which cause him to hallucinate. Can an intervention save Skyler’s sanity–and his life?
Original Air Date: February 2012
Location: Elkhart, Indiana
What’s memorable: The huge ass mansion she lives in while drinking herself to death everyday, the way her boyfriend thinks of addiction and of her as an asset to fix up and turn around like he does his properties, and his locking her up in the spare room for 3 days to detox her. “When he let me out, I walked to the nearest liquor store, came back, locked myself back in, and proceeded to get drunk” – Kimberly. Why is this episode on the Most Disturbing list? The follow up. Just watch it. See the vacancy, the superficiality of the words, the complete lack of commitment. You know as soon as she starts talking into the camera that she’s not staying sober for long. So damn awkward and real.
Official Synopsis: To the outside world, Kimberly lives a dream life in an extravagant mansion without a financial care in the world. But the “dream” is really a nightmare because Kimberly is an alcoholic with no limits. She lives with her boyfriend, who has locked her in a bedroom in an effort to stop her from drinking. Kimberly’s father has written her off, but the family must come together or Kimberly will continue to drown her pain in alcohol.
Original Air Date: January 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: Houston, Texas
What’s memorable: “Oh yeah, I’m the party.” Dude’s a super fun guy! And in some serious denial. He’s been arrested 24 times for drunk and disorderly conduct and has been hospitalized more than 20 times. His family thinks he has a death wish. He doesn’t think he has a problem. Also memorable – the profoundly disabled little brother, the obese sister who John thinks should lose weight before talking to him about his drinking, how he was wasted at his mother’s funeral.
Official Synopsis: John is a flight attendant who loves his job, but his lifestyle is fueling his alcoholism. When he was a boy, John’s parents focused their attention on his “profoundly retarded” brother. His mother blamed herself for the disability and turned her anger towards John. Now John’s alcoholism leaves him prone to blackouts.
Original Air Date: August 2010
Location: Mesa, Arizona
What’s memorable: I’d like to have sympathy for Jennifer, she’s been through a lot, but she’s got such a bad attitude and is so ungrateful and annoying, it’s pretty hard. It’s interesting how she believes that drinking alone is a sign of alcoholism, so she drags her reluctant friends around with her while she drinks. Also, her obsession with parties and how she goes to random parties that she finds on MySpace and gets wasted. Sketchball.
Update: Looks like Jennifer is doing pretty well. Newspaper article.
Official Synopsis: Once an effervescent, beautiful young woman, Jennifer was considered a genius by her teachers and was the pride and joy of her parents. But at age 17, Jennifer was involved in a car accident that caused a brain injury and kidney damage. Jennifer survived, but only three days after she left the hospital another family car accident ended in a fatality. Jennifer turned to drugs and alcohol to cope and now spends her days searching for parties or drinking companions. Her parents know that only an intervention can save her.
Original Air Date: December 2009
Location: South Beach, Florida
Addiction: Alcohol, bulimia, exercise
What’s memorable: This episode makes the “unforgettable episodes” category on account of 1) the intervention that didn’t happen as a result of her roommate figuring out it was the Intervention cameras, and telling her about it and 2) Marquel’s serious denial about her various addictions.
Official Synopsis: Working as a fitness instructor at the most elite gyms and partying on the club circuit at night, Marquel seems to have the perfect life. But her family sees her exercise regime as obsessive-compulsive, and they watch her binge-drinking episodes end up in hospitalizations. They believe she is an exercise addict, bulimic, and alcoholic, and they have turned to interventionist Candy for help.
Original Air Date: February 2010
Location: Las Vegas
Addiction: Alcohol (vodka)
What’s Memorable: Oh man, the denial Lawrence was in is absolutely shocking. “Half the time I don’t even think he realizes that he’s drinking.” The bruises all over his body, how weak he is, how he needs his co-workers to totally take care of his basic needs. And, of course, the followup.
Official synopsis: Having graduated high school with academic and athletic honors, Lawrence, 34, became a successful owner of a chain of tanning salons. But he was never able to dull the pain of emotional and physical abuse suffered in childhood. Alcohol took hold and Lawrence became a shell of his former self, often drinking a liter of vodka a day. A recent battle with cancer left him further weakened. Lawrence’s loved ones stage an intervention in the hope that this show of love and support will help Lawrence get the help he needs, and that by sharing his story he might help others.
Original Air Date: February 2008
Location: Los Angeles, California
What’s Memorable: There’s a lot to learn about Chinese family dynamics in this one. The things that her little brother Sam has to do to take care of her at her parent’s request is horrible. The intervention is a doozy.
Official synopsis: After graduating college, Linda found success working as an extra in Hollywood, achieving the glamorous life she always wanted. But her dreams died when she came down with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by joint dislocations. Linda started taking fentanyl, a painkiller 100 times stronger than morphine. As her painkiller use escalated, she claimed that different sources were causing her pain, including electricity, energy, colors, and even specific people. Despite Linda’s wild claims, her mother clings to the belief that Linda’s pain is real and she must do everything to help her, including depleting the family’s savings and sending her son to be Linda’s caretaker.
Original Air Date: November 2009
Location: Bridgeport, Ohio
Addicted to: Opiates, Alcohol, Pain Meds
What’s Memorable: Benny really believes he deserves to be crazy rich, and seems confused about why he’s not yet. He thinks it’s just going to magically happen someday, and all his problems will be solved. Also, how horrible he is to his mother, the intervention.
Official synopsis: An ambitious inventor and entrepreneur, Benny once dreamed of becoming a millionaire. But stress, drugs, and alcohol have turned his dream into a nightmare. Worst of all, he is no longer a dependable father to his six-year-old daughter. Benny, now 38 and living with his mother, has seen his relationship with his family reach the breaking point, and only an intervention can save him now.
Original Air Date: January 2011
Location: LaSalle, Illinois
Addicted to: Methadone
What’s Memorable: How sick Jimmy’s addiction has made his mother Joanie. She’s way more of a mess than he is, and probably the most enabling and co-dependent parent I’ve seen on this show.
Official synopsis: Raised by an absentee alcoholic father, Jimmy joined a gang at 13 and was soon addicted to heroin. The birth of Jimmy’s son prompted him to try to get clean, but when things got tough with his new family, he began using again. Now Jimmy shares a dangerous methadone addiction with his ailing mother that threatens to kill them both.
Original Air Date: January 2011
Location: Norco, California
Addiction: Meth, Alcohol
What’s Memorable: This might be the most famous episode of Intervention. I think it’s also my least favorite. It was hard for me to even watch it again in order to write this. Most of the time I have some measure of sympathy for the addicts on this show, but Cristy not so much. There’s just nothing about her that I can relate to or that evokes my sympathy. She’s unbelievably narcissistic and has zero self-awareness. Anyway, what’s memorable? The constant nudity. The eyebrows. The delusions. The intervention.
Official synopsis: Cristy was born into a tight-knit family and sought a career as a clothing designer before she became addicted to alcohol and crystal meth. Now she earns her money as a stripper, and her desperate family knows she needs an intervention.
Original Air Date: August 2006
Location: Escalon, California
What’s memorable: Girl’s a serious tweaker. I know skin pickers in real life but I’ve never seen an addict pick their face on this show. It’s so jarring to watch. Also memorable: Her grandparents’ denial and the surprising follow-up.
Official synopsis: Tiffany, a former athlete and cheerleader who dreamed of a career in the medical field, has no intention of giving up her IV crystal meth addiction, despite the fact that her four-year-old son is being cared for by her family
Original Air Date: August 2011
Location: Laguna Hills, California
Addiction: Alcohol (wine)
What’s memorable: How desperate she was to be liked when she was a kid, how much her life changed when she got skinny, how she refuses to believe that she has a problem and that she’s just ‘catching up.’
Official synopsis: Brittney saw her food addiction transformed into a raging alcohol addiction after gastric bypass surgery. Now she stands to lose her family as they grow weary of her alcohol-fueled antics
Original Air Date: August 2011
Addicted to: Alcohol, gambling
What’s Memorable: That seriously tearjerking intervention.
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
Addicted to: Gambling
Addiction Trigger: Accident caused facial disfigurement.
What’s memorable: Lives off of her boyfriend, doesn’t work, just loses at gambling day after day in hopes of hitting a jackpot.
Official synopsis: Alissa’s parents and friends try to save her from her gambling addiction. She has lost over $30,000 on 25-cent slots. Her boyfriend has three jobs and makes all of the money, while Alissa gambles it away.
Original Air Date: March 2005
Location: New Jersey
Addicted to: Video Games
What’s memorable: The insane amount of time he spends playing, and his poor little brother that just wants to hang out with him.
Official synopsis: Peter is so addicted to video games that he identifies himself as the characters in the games he plays and refers to other characters as people he hangs out with.
Original Air Date: May 2005