Emily, 26, grew up struggling to meet her parents' high expectations. Despite winning many academic and athletic honors, Emily suffered from depression and low self-esteem, and her shameful feelings intensified when she became a date-rape victim in college.
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.
Jason, 23, was born into a strict Southern Baptist family. His father, a preacher, and his unstable mother doled out excessive punishments. But when Jason's mother revealed she's a lesbian, Jason's father was banished from the church and had to take several jobs to feed his family. Left with no
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.
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.
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
As a former clean-cut track star, John's life used to revolve around athletics. Now, after a leg injury ended his running career, John spends his time abusing his body with alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy and hallucinogenic drugs.
The chaos and bloodshed that Brad witnessed as a young soldier in Iraq, including the death of a close friend, left him emotionally damaged. He now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and uses alcohol and marijuana to quell the endless nightmares and flashbacks that haunt him.
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.
To the outside world, his life may seem ideal. Dan, 40, is married and has a beautiful daughter, Ava. He loves music and works as a first mate for a snorkeling and whale-watching boat company on a stunning Hawaiian Island. But everything is not what it seems.
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.
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
She sits in her garage every day, popping painkillers, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and sleeping pills. Sandra's pill use is so bad that her two sons, 17 and 11, have left the house. Her best friend, Julie, moved in with her, and although Julie suffers from multiple sclerosis, she takes care of
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
A Sophia Loren look-alike, Marie was born into an Italian mob family. When her parents' marriage end, Marie and her mother struggled with extreme poverty. Marie's three marriages ended in divorce, but she was still determined to give her children what she didn't have growing up.
Born into a mixed-race family in a predominantly white town, Asa struggled with low self-esteem and body image growing up. Classmates teased him because of his size, ethnicity, and effeminate manner. Desperate to loss weight, Asa became bulimic. He came out as a gay man at 19 and started using
He was once a championship bodybuilder and successful property owner. But when he turned 30, Derek felt he was over the hill and became severely depressed. He started drinking to cope with the pressures of marriage and the responsibilities of getting older.
A 44-year-old singer and songwriter, Phillip used music to escape the pain of an unstable childhood. He gained fame due to his charisma and musical talents, but Phillip now consumes up to four pints of peppermint schnapps a day.
Mike, 67, was a police sergeant, avid outdoorsman and respected citizen. After he was injured while apprehending an addict, signs of Mike's obsessive-compulsive disorder started to emerge. His fear of germs caused him to wash his hands over 40 times a day.
Jenny, 32, is a talented hairstylist from a close-knit Mormon family. When a diagnosis of endometriosis crushes her dreams of having a family, she turns to prescription drugs. Her addiction quickly escalates to IV heroin and meth use.
When Kristen was 3, her parents divorced and soon after her grandparents died, and Kristen somehow felt responsible. Then Kristen's mother married an alcoholic and addict, whose daughter introduced Kristen to drugs. By 15, Kristen was getting high.
Ed, 53, and Bettina, 49, had a picture-perfect life, including three adoring kids, a dream home, sports cars, motorcycles, and a respected place in their church community. But six years ago, Ed made a bad career move and ended up unemployed.