Season 15, Episode 3
Location: Garrison, North Dakota
Addiction: Alcohol (vodka)
What’s Memorable: Given the dramatic spiral from success to rock bottom, non-functional alcoholism, it’s a shame the show didn’t spend a little more time on how Kacy got to this place she’s in now. The trauma she endured and how it affected it her deserved more than what felt like a mention in passing. Seemed like the producers were overly focused on the shock factor of how bad her addiction was. Anyway, a few things she said gave me chills. “I’m scared to death…of not having the next drink.” And when she’s walking home from the liquor store in her pajamas, talking about how just having the alcohol in the house calmed her down and made her feel like it was gonna be okay. Yeah. I can relate to that. The followup was brutal, I wish there was more information given about what put her in the hospital.
Official Synopsis: A successful businesswoman who became a multimillionaire in her 20’s, Kacy tragically lost her infant child to SIDS. She then lost her fortune, her marriage and a healthy relationship with her surviving children as she spiralled into binge drinking. Now penniless, she is hospitalised multiple times a month, and her family is desperate to save her life.
Date Aired: March 2016
Location: Harbor City, CA
Addiction: OxyContin and meth
What’s Memorable: The man who raped when she was a kid (her sister’s boyfriend) went to jail for raping someone else and is about to be released. Her need to escape is understandable. The way she talks about what happened is excruciating. She has so much pain and reasonable resentment. It seems from the followup like she had found some measure of peace in her sobriety. I hope that continues.
Official synopsis: Kelly, a 27-year-old mother of three, mixes pills and meth to forget the man behind bars who destroyed her childhood. Can Kelly’s family come together to help her face the painful past that consumes her?
Original Air Date: November 2012
Age: Early 20’s
Location: West Virginia and Baltimore
Addiction: Heroin mostly, also coke
What’s Memorable: This is the episode I think I will remember more than any other in 20 years. The insanely dangerous time she spends in Baltimore and what she has to do for drugs, how much her mother loves her, the amazing follow up. She’s one of the addicts from this show that I actually would like to know in real life (sober). I really hope she’s well now.
Ed and Bettina
What’s Memorable: Dear god, this one. I’ve seen it probably 12 times and the dysfunction/codependency gets me every time. Married almost 30 years, became alcoholics together only 5 years ago, and now they’ve lost almost everything. Their kids break my heart.
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: Los Gatos, California
What’s memorable: She weighs 80 pounds, first of all. A smart and beautiful girl from an upper crust traditional family with decent parents: it’s hard to understand what went so wrong that she has to go to such extremes in order to feel loved, but no one knows what goes on in other peoples’ heads. Kaila literally has days to live, but she feels powerful “going against the laws of nature.” It’s all very sad.
Official Synopsis: As a young girl, Kaila, 19, was raised in an affluent, image-conscious community where she felt teased for being overweight, and overlooked by her parents. Now, at a mere 80 pounds and eating only a few hundred calories a day, Kaila is literally starving herself to death to have what she’s always wanted–to be the center of her family’s attention. Her distraught parents have been told by Kaila’s doctors to prepare for her death, “Intervention is truly our last option,” says Kaila’s mother, “Please help us!”
Original Air Date: July 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: Saugerties, New York
Addiction: Alcohol (beer)
What’s memorable: Damn. Now THAT’S an Intervention. Memorable stuff in Ryan’s story – being disabled, his good deeds, his terribly low sense of self-worth, his pregnant fiance getting arrested during his fight – but that Intervention, that he found out about and STILL went to, willingly (although fully prepared to say no thanks), was just awesome. You could just see him slowly realizing that they were right and he desperately needed help. The stuff his parents said obviously had a huge impact, and the fact that the fiancee who was pissed about the whole thing actually came around and ultimately convinced him to go – it was all just incredibly powerful and amazing. And that followup, sheesh. Glad I had tissues.
Official Synopsis: Ryan, 25, is a sweet, sensitive man whose alcohol addiction is spiraling out of control as he and his fiance are expecting their first child in a matter of months.
Original Air Date: October 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: Los Angeles, California
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.
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
What’s memorable: His lifetime of risk-taking, his total apathy about what he’s doing to the people around him, his sad frustrated co-dependent mother, the dilapidated trailer he lives in with his addict father, the completely insane intervention. Dillon’s story has an exceptionally tragic ending, which you can read about here.
Official Synopsis: Growing up, Dillon showed tremendous promise. But after a bitter divorce, his mother, Tammy hoped that Dillon wouldn’t follow in the footsteps of his violent, alcoholic father. But today Tammy’s worst fears have come true. Dillon, 20, is living with his father in a dilapidated trailer where he injects methamphetamines every day and refuses any overtures for help. Tammy has one final hope–an intervention.
Original Air Date: April 2007
Age: mid 30’s?
Location: Northern California or Southern Oregon coast, near Arcata and Humboldt County
What’s memorable: This one hits close to home more than any other. I come from a poor Pacific Northwest logging town, raised and surrounded by loggers and mill workers who snorted crank like other people drink coffee. Coley, his lifestyle, the way he uses, is intimately familiar to me in a way that actually makes me uncomfortable to watch. ANYWAY, since this isn’t about ME…Coley and Francine’s story is powerful. Their love is so strong, and they’re such good people. What else is memorable – Coley so focused on finding the burl, risking his life for it. Doing lines in the garage. (Again, a personal connection to that). The amazing and inspiring follow up.
Official Synopsis: As a timber cutter, Coley has one of the most dangerous jobs in America. But instead of taking serious precautions, he increases his risks every day by snorting crystal meth. Because of his addiction, Coley’s business is falling apart. His wife can barely stand to talk to him any more and his relationship with his three young children is deteriorating. They all believe his only hope is rehab, but will he be willing to go before it’s too late?
Original Air Date: August 2007
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Addiction: Alcohol and crack mostly, but also whatever else he can get, including heroin, meth, pain killers.
What’s memorable: I can’t begin to imagine the guilt and pain that Tyler feels over his siblings’ overdoes deaths, considering he was the one who introduced them both to heroin, they died within weeks of each other, and he found them both. This is one of those where I have no problem at all understanding why the guy needs to numb out every day. What’s awful about that is that he’s on his way to dying too, and if or when he goes his parents will have lost ALL of their children to drugs. So unimaginably tragic.
Official Synopsis: A gifted mechanic, Tyler, 26, worked in the family business with his brother, Zach, and his sister, Ashley. Their father built the business to provide his children with a wonderful life. But the family’s dreams turned to tragedy when Tyler found both Zach and Ashley dead from drug overdoses. Unable to cope with his loss, Tyler now fills his days with drugs and alcohol
Original Air Date: May 2010
Location: Camden, New Jersey
What’s memorable: Well, the cry. It may be a “funny” meme, but there’s a whole lotta pain and suffering in that cry, and maybe some relief. And the son who declares that he hates his dad, but during the intervention he cries as he reveals how he really feels. It’s very powerful stuff, all of it.
Official Synopsis: Rocky Lockridge, once a world champion lightweight boxer, is now a homeless crack addict living on the streets of Camden, New Jersey. He began abusing cocaine whilst the champion, but switched to crack after his boxing career ended. His addiction has alienated him from his twin sons and his brother, and his only support left is from his best friend Joey, an aspiring boxer who provides him with food and money to finance his addiction. When short of cash, Rocky panhandles to finance his $75/day habit. In spite of Rocky’s long-term crack addiction, it’s clear that he still has a heart and a soul and wants to get well and reconnect with his family. Can an intervention save him before he loses his life to this disease?
Original Air Date: April 2010
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
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
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
Location: Sacramento, California
What’s Memorable: “At the end of the day I love being on the street. Best times of my life.” Chad’s a voluntarily homeless panhandler who teats women like shit and makes like 2 grand a month and spends it all on crack. To be honest, I think Chad’s kind of an entitled self-righteous ass. He was a jerk before he became an addict and he’s way more of one as a crackhead. I wish him well though.
Official synopsis: After a troubled childhood that sent him to juvenile hall for felony arson, Chad’s father introduced him to cycling at age 15. Chad went pro and cycled on the same team as Lance Armstrong. But after getting kicked off the team for “personality conflicts,” Chad was crushed and turned to drugs. Now homeless, Chad spends his days panhandling, smoking crack, and drinking. His family’s many efforts to get him off the streets have failed. Their last hope is an intervention.
Original Air Date: June 2008
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: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Addiction: Pain meds & muscle relaxers
What’s Memorable: Poor Brooke. Such a sad story. She’s in unbearable physical pain EVERYDAY and wants so badly for her family to understand that, and they just don’t. All they see is an addict that inconveniences them and requires too much attention. It’s hard to watch how horribly they treat her and how much emotional pain it causes her. The intervention, oy vey. I cried so hard.
Update: Brooke died on December 21, 2014 of an apparent overdose. Our condolences to her family and loved ones. Read Obituary
Official synopsis: Brooke, 26, was a beautiful teenager with a magnetic personality. An elite gymnast on the cheerleading squad, she looked forward to a successful and athletic life. But tragedy struck in her senior year when she was crippled by Still’s disease, an early form of rheumatoid arthritis. Her doctors prescribed narcotics to ease her pain, but Brooke soon became addicted. Her heartbroken family has sought new treatments to help Brooke, but she denies she’s an addict. Now her family has turned in desperation to their last hope–an intervention.
Original Air Date: January 2008
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
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.
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
Location: Toronto, Canada
Addiction: Bulimia, exercise
What’s Memorable: Her parents basically locking her in the basement so they don’t have to see her food issues. Her severe body dismorphia. The way she believes that bulimia is her “thing”, what makes her special and unique. Her 100% focus on her eating disorder.
Official synopsis: Amy and her family escaped the violence of apartheid-era South Africa and immigrated to Canada 22 years ago. But Amy suffered from anxiety and low self-esteem, and she became anorexic and, soon after, bulimic. Now she lives alone in the basement of her family’s house and steals from family members to pay for her eating binges. Weighing only 92 pounds, Amy is on the brink of death.
Original Air Date: April 2010
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: Denver, Colorado
What’s Memorable: This is a sad one. Trent is a decent guy who just can’t stop, even though he’s lost everything and everyone. This is one of those episodes that powerfully hits home how the need to get high and the belief that it’s impossible to stop can completely take over a person’s life.
Official synopsis: Trent, 33, is a four-star chef who’s served U.S. presidents and Hollywood stars. But as the child of alcoholics, Trent’s formative years were marked with violence and abuse. He ultimately turned to drugs to cope, and today he is homeless, sick, battling freezing temperatures, and has an insatiable heroin addiction. His friends and family fear he won’t make it through the winter on the streets, but will Trent be willing to listen to the family he feels deserted him?
Original Air Date: April 2007
Addiction: Bulimia, Food
What’s Memorable: This was the first episode I ever saw and it just blew me away. Her binges are absolutely epic – 3 days worth of junk food in 3 hours. She throws it up so that she can eat more. The food garbage in the back of her truck. She works as a stripper in order to afford food. Her parents had to put a lock on the fridge. It’s hard not to feel really sorry for her, and for her family. She is so very sick. I hope she’s okay now.
Official synopsis: Jessie is a beautiful young woman who once dreamed of becoming a doctor. But that was before bulimia trapped her in cycle of despair.
Original Air Date: December 2006
Location: North Carolina
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. I think she ended up becoming an addiction counselor. Good for her. I’m sure she’s really good at it too.
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
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