Season 16, Episode 6
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.
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
Season 15, Episode 13
Location: I missed the location. Accents sound like New York City though. Staten Island maybe?
What’s Memorable: The nodding off, the going to work pretending to read papers that were blank, answering the phone with eyes pretty much closed, the family dinner. I’ve seen and experienced this before but it really hit home for me in this episode: addicts understand that they’re affecting their families, they just prefer not to think about it and when they do, it makes them want to be high. Addiction is a sick self-perpetuating cycle. The more addicted you are the more shitty you get, the more shitty you get the more guilty you feel, the more guilty you feel the more drugs you think you need to do. Repeat Repeat. Also Jeff nailed co-dependency with this simple line: “She’s being protected from the negative consequences of her actions.” And that followup, it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen.
Official Synopsis: With a booming family business that could one day be hers, Alicia’s future looked bright. But reconnecting with her biological father sent Alicia down a path of pain and self-destruction that has led to a full-blown addiction to heroin and Xanax.
Date Aired: July 2016
Season 15, Episode 7
Daniel and Robert
Age: 30 and 31
Location: Westfield, Massachusetts
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.
Date Aired: April 2016
Season 14, Episode 11
Location: Roseville, California
Addiction: Meth and alcohol
What’s memorable: His meth-induced paranoia and psychosis, how much his friend Jessie loves him and would do for him, the bizarre, enfuriating intervention and the awesome followup. Ken was amazing in this one. And by amazing I mean “Good god how does he deal with this relentless abuse and keep his composure?”
Official Synopsis: The sons and nephew of Major League Baseball stars, David struggled not only with being compared to his athletic family, but also with his own sexuality. Acting out turned to alcoholism and meth addiciton, and it wasn’t long before David found himself dumpster diving and sleeping behind stores in his family’s upscale neighborhood.
Original Air Date: August 2015
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.
Location: Inwood, West Virginia
What’s memorable: Wow. Lots. I don’t recall any other addict that came from a religious family but where the religion wasn’t a trigger or contributed to the distance between the addict and their family. Tiffany is an addict who actually still fully embraces her spirituality and relationship with God despite her behaviors, which seems to be keeping her close to her family. I didn’t word that very well, hopefully it made sense. Anyway, what else: the relationship she has with her biological dad, the reversal that happened at the intervention (also don’t think I’ve seen that happen before – the intervention addict actually having to give consequences to another addicted family member), the tearful and inspiring followup, the Haiti mission. I mean jeez, Tiffany is truly amazing. She makes me wanna be a better person.
Tiffany is a 19-year-old, doe-eyed, innocent looking young woman who treks to the seediest parts of Baltimore to score heroin while her family tries to pray the “devil” out of her.
Original Air Date: January 2013
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: Roseville, California
Addiction: Meth, Alcohol, Norco
What’s memorable: How far she’s fallen, with the homelessness and prostitution and abusive boyfriend. Her emotionless and seemingly uncaring mother (i.e. “There are times I should have pretended to care more than I did”) and how she refused to tell her she loved her even at the intervention. Most of all, her kids. How much they adore her and care about her, how emotional they are about seeing where she’s at now. The post-rehab airport reunion at the end was so full of love and joy, it was beyond heartwarming. This was a truly powerful family story and reminded me of why I love this show so much. “I can’t believe my family gives that much of a shit about me. Unbelievable” – Diana. That is the point of Intervention right there.
Official Synopsis: Former ‘Super Mom’ to her three children, Diana has exchanged her apron for an alcohol and meth addiction and is unraveling her marriage, family and sense of self-respect.
Original Air Date: September 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
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: Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Addiction: Alcohol (beer)
What’s memorable: You know, what’s interesting about Jeff is that his addiction was so clearly a direct result of a traumatic work-related incident. It wasn’t just exacerbated by it, it was CREATED by it as a response to the trauma. He was a hero and family man until this one thing, and now he’s lost everything. It’s lovely how much his firefighter friends are looking after him even as he pushes them away, and it’s harrowing how he can see himself losing everything and can’t stop it. This is one episode that truly frightens me, in that any one of us can experience something so profoundly traumatizing that we can at any time become a sad tragic person in need of an intervention.
Here’s an interesting article about Jeff’s story in relation to firefighting PTSD.
Official Synopsis: Forty-year-old Jeff was once known as a heroic firefighter after he saved his partner’s life. But Jeff was traumatized by the harrowing event, and his drinking increased drastically. Jeff has received two DUI’s and been rushed to the hospital numerous times for seizures. Jeff’s alcoholism has also forced his son and wife to move out. Now his family’s last hope is that an intervention will stop Jeff from drinking himself to death.
Original Air Date: June 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: Sacramento, California
What’s Memorable: Jacob is a sad angry mess, but he’s so incredibly smart and self-aware and open about how he feels and where he’s at in his life, it’s very easy to like him. You root for him to get his shit together because you can tell he’d be an awesome and happy sober person. The followup is pure joy. I found myself wishing I could track him down and try to be his friend. If you’re reading this Jacob, email me. Let’s hang.
Official synopsis: By day, Jacob, 25, is a banker. But most nights, Jacob is drinking, driving and often engaged in barroom brawls. He recently overdosed on alcohol and prescription drugs. His heart stopped and he had to be revived with paddles. Jacob blames his mother — a drug user and former dealer — for his addiction. But will he be able to hear her when she pleads for him to get help?
Original Air Date: March 2007
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
Sonia and Julia
Location: Columbia, South Carolina
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.
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
Season 2, Episode 5
What’s memorable: Throwing up into plastic bags, using a toothbrush. Eating until she physically can’t anymore at all-you-can-eat buffets. The relief after the intervention about not having to worry about hiding her disease anymore.
Official synopsis: For the past eleven years Salina has been suffering from severe bulimia. She also struggles with a shopping addiction and recently began battling a new urge, self-mutilation. Her family is desperate to help her break this cycle and is hoping she will take this lifeline.
Original Air Date: January 2006
Addicted to: Heroin
What’s memorable: Michelle’s whole story is a pre-transition narrative.
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
Addicted to: Meth
What’s memorable: How badly she wants to quit, but just can’t. The follow-up.
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