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 14, Episode 9
Location: Milford, Ohio
Addiction: Inhalants (keyboard duster)
What’s memorable: This guy will haunt my dreams, and not even because of the demon-posessed voice and psychotic behavior he exhibits when he takes a hit. It’s the absolute vacancy in his eyes at all times. When he’s high, when he’s being interviewed, when he’s been clean for 90 days. He speaks in eerie monotone and stares at the camera without blinking. There seems to be no one behind the eyes, but I know that’s not true, there’s always someone in there. I truly hope that the real Matthew appears behind his eyes at some point soon.
Official Synopsis: A full-blown addict is confronted by his family, who worry that his habit of huffing 10 cans of computer duster a day is going to kill him sooner rather than later.
Original Air Date: July 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!)
Location: San Francisco, California
What’s memorable: Living on the streets with his mother who is willingly homeless just so she can keep an eye on her son. That’s some crazy co-dependency there. The craziness that he spouts when he’s high is disturbing. The intervention and followup is a tear jerker, very affecting. I hope this family is well now.
Official Synopsis: Luke, 23, dreams of a career in photojournalism, but his daily cocktail of drugs has derailed his college plans and left both him and his mother struggling to survive on the streets of San Francisco.
Original Air Date: August 2011
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
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
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: Riverside, California
Addiction: Meth, Norco
What’s memorable: How crazy, violent, and paranoid she gets when high, how abusive she is towards her mother, hallucinating her crying son and bugs crawling under her skin, and a first-of-its kind intervention: Genuine yes followed by a freak out session and violent demand for drugs and refusal to go. (And then a heart-wearming followup)
Official Synopsis: A beautiful 21-year-old addicted to Norco and meth, Christina has violent outbursts, believes that bugs are crawling under her skin, and has threatened suicide. Can an intervention save Christina before she loses her mind entirely?
Original Air Date: January 2012
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
Age: late 30’s?
Location: Chico, California
Addiction: Meth, pain meds
What’s memorable: The seriously high-speed crazy stuff she says that makes absolutely no sense to anyone else. Her in-denial mother and dying brother. How shockingly different she was as a wife and mother just a few years ago.
Official Synopsis: To outsiders, Marci’s family life seemed ideal. But while her mother worked, Marci was left home with her alcoholic father. She endured his abuse while her mother looked the other way. Marci began drinking and doing drugs. Her marriage failed, and she lost custody of her children. But her mother still denies that Marci has a bad problem. Can an intervention help Marci and her mother to stop their dangerous behavior before it’s too late?
Original Air Date: September 2009
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
What’s Memorable: The psychosis, her poor heartbroken sons that love her so much, how quickly she went from functional to homeless crazy person.
Official synopsis: Dawn, 49, was once a model, but today she’s homeless and wanders around town using meth and suffering from the effects of Meth Psychosis.
Original Air Date: December 2007
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.
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
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Addiction: DXM (cough medicine)
What’s Memorable: The psychosis he displays as he walks around the city, the older dude that had a sexual relationship with him and still supports him to some extent, the things this kid could have done with his life.
Official synopsis: Ben, 25, experienced a childhood filled with domestic violence, homelessness and isolation. He never got to fulfill the potential of his 170 I.Q. and found a new way to find comfort when he was in high school–a drug called DXM. Now, Ben spends his days shoplifting, panhandling, and even prostituting himself to finance his drug addiction. Desperate to help Ben, his mother arranges an intervention that’s her last hope for saving his life.
Original Air Date: January 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
Addiction: Alcohol (rum)
What’s Memorable: This is the rich crazy lady who takes limos across the country so she can bring her cat and drink. Her story is much more than that though. Yes, Laney is a disaster; what’s upsetting is seeing how far she’s fallen and how little hope she has.
Official synopsis: Laney is an outgoing, intelligent 36-year-old woman who used to have the kind of life other people dream of: a handsome, loving husband, plenty of money and the opportunity to travel the world. Unfortunately, all the wealth and status in the world could not help Laney escape alcoholism. She lost her husband, her health and is quickly spending what’s left of her sizable divorce settlement on endless bottles of rum. Her organs are deteriorating fast and Laney is too weak to take care of herself. She is so dependent on attention from her frustrated family that Laney will attempt suicide in an effort to win back their love. But will her damaged body survive yet another trip to the ICU?
Original Air Date: June 2007
Location: Fresno, California
What’s Memorable: Miriam’s story and personality are memorable on their own, but just the fact that she’s been doing PCP for 25 years is what’s amazing. I didn’t even know PCP was still out there, much less that someone could do it for that long.
Official synopsis: A charismatic reverend at a wedding chapel, Miriam, 38, is adored by her clients, but suffers inner torment. Sexually abused as a child by someone she trusted, Miriam turned to drugs at a young age, and now she’s addicted to P.C.P. Her family has practically given up on her, and she risks losing her daughter’s love. Can Miriam’s desperate family convince her to get on the plane to treatment?
Original Air Date: July 2010
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
What’s Memorable: Oh, Tim. This is the episode the gave us the iconic image of the crack addict curled up and crying in the storm drain. Sums his addiction up pretty well. Also memorable for the way he treats and is treated by his pretty singing girlfriend and her show biz family, and his intense neediness, mental instability, and violent tendencies when high.
Official synopsis: Tim was an accomplished producer and a talented musician with a lucrative career in the entertainment industry, but a crack addiction nearly destroyed everything he treasures. An intervention is his last chance–but will it work?
Original Air Date: August 2006
Addiction: Alcohol (beer)
What’s Memorable: Your standard West Coast stinky street kid, self-righteous spare-changer who constantly drinks 40’s of malt liquor, hates his parents, and is convinced that he’s totally happy with his life and has no problems. He reminds me way too much of my little brother, maybe that’s why I got so angry at this kid when I watched. I really hope that eventually he got some help.
Official synopsis: Kelly, a man with a 160 IQ who lives on the streets and survives on beer and other people’s spare change
Original Air Date: June 2005