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Episode 165: Elena

Season 12, Episode 1


Age: 63
Location: Fortuna, California
Addiction: Meth, Painkillers
What’s memorable: A lovable lady, this one, despite being pretty damn loopy. This is a very real and touching story, from Elena’s conflicts with her family over being a lesbian and the tragic loss of her partner, to the heartwarming and awesome followup. This is the first Intervention episode about an elderly meth addict.

Official Synopsis: Elena, 63, has no intentions of stopping her daily meth addiction, even though her children and grandchildren desperately want their adoring grandmother to get well.

Original Air Date: August 2012
Interventionist: Candy

Categories: Candy, Death of Loved One, Homosexuality, Meth, Most Likeable Addicts, Religious Family, Season 12


42 Responses to “Episode 165: Elena”

  1. This episode was so inspiring- after Elena received the help she desperately needed. Candy was so right. Elena IS worth it! Even though she had to hide her sexuality for part of her life, this grandmother had a good family (beautiful grandchildren) that really did care for her and were so scared and wanted nothing more than for her to get better. I just can’t believe how gnarly this poor lady was at the height of her addiction! 63 years old snorting $20 bag of meth in 15 mins!!! Holy moly! Just.. How?!?? So inspiring to see the follow up and how much she turned around and improved. Elena is so worth it if anything to continue being a part of the loving family she helped create. Woo Hoo!

    Posted by Gloria | August 17, 2012, 9:13 am
    • I totally agree. Elena is an awesome lady and yes, totally worth it. So glad she got sober.

      Posted by Dizzy | August 21, 2012, 1:16 am
    • Being an addict doesn’t mean one is amoral or obnoxious or unpleasant or vain or selfish (ok maybe that one), but it also doesn’t mean an addict *doesn’t* have one or more of these traits. (In other words, addicts can still be asses.) And to me, this isn’t calling those addicts on their BS so much as it its recognizing and appreciating some of the individuals profiled whose positive traits and unique personality shone through the all the chaos and self-destruction inherent to addiction. These people face incredible demons on a daily basis but still manage to retain their core humanity. One bright spot of the show is how many of the addicts are still able to exhibit kindness, humor, honesty, creativity etc, and I think thats what Dizzy is intent is here – to highlight those bright spots.

      Posted by Jess | December 25, 2016, 11:26 am
      • I am not feeling so hot especially after seeing the Elena episode. ‘Worth it ‘is thrown around a lot in this particular show–as soon as I see the specialness of Elena I feel so UNworthit, unspecial, invisible, like I’d disappear and people might pause and say ‘oh where’s M?’ Oh she’s gone? Okay….and move on. Admitting these feelings I’ll also tack on ‘selfish, nothing.’ I don’t understand myself but am I trying? Maybe not…just feeling worthless…

        I’m safe but sad

        Posted by Em | September 11, 2017, 10:09 am
        • Everyone is worth it. And that doesn’t take away from any individual’s uniqueness. To some people or there you are just as special and fun and loved as she was in the episode.

          Posted by Ella | August 29, 2019, 6:50 pm
  2. Great episode! I love how A&E changed the song and their layout. I was getting a little sick of hearing those bell like sounds everytime commercials were over! lol. It’s so unusual to see a woman of her age addicted to Meth. I don’t think she would have survived that long if she had been addicted much earlier in her life. I think if they hadn’t done the intervention when they did, she would probably be dead from a cardiac arrythmia or multiple organ failure or something along those lines. I’ve heard of a lot of women, some older, some not, that try it because they don’t have any energy and they’re depressed and just don’t want to get out of bed in the morning so that they can get everything done and then some and feel great throughout the day. It’s really sad. I can definitely relate. It takes me everything I’ve got to get out of bed in the morning! Thankfully, with the help of A&E’s Intervention, I am aware of what Meth does to people and there’s no way in hell I’d try it, not even once! Not any drug! I’m still in the clutches of opiate addiction but I’ve been clean since August of 2007. I’m currently on a Methadone Maintenance Program and I’m slowly weaning myself off. I know, it wasn’t the greatest of choices, but I couldn’t cope with the withdrawal. I was sicker than a dog. I have a very low threshold to pain. Unfortunately, the Methadone has given me some nasty side effects like extreme weight gain (almost 100lbs), hyperhidrosis, hair loss, anxiety, unrelenting sweet cravings, and chronic constipation! It’s not easy, but eventually I’ll be free of it! Again, this was a great episode and I wish Elena all the best in her -sober- future! ☺

    Posted by Katie | August 21, 2012, 4:45 pm
  3. Want to read more of her. My grandmother was more likely the same as her. My grandmother was a lesbian too but still she was the best grandma in the world for me. She died two years ago of pneumonia.

    Posted by funeral planner | October 12, 2012, 7:23 pm
  4. I want her to write a memoir. I’d read it.

    Posted by HE Pennypacker | October 22, 2013, 6:49 pm
    • Do it. I am so happy they treated a woman who was not in her 20’s or 30’s. Women and men in their 60s and 70’s and 80’s are worth saving too. More seniors commit suicide than any other age group, yet we only hear about young people.

      Posted by Renee Nank | February 28, 2017, 8:41 pm
  5. Although this episode first aired in 2012, I saw rerun today 9/24/14 Does Elena know her birth mother?
    It mentioned she was adopted and from Ca. Which my family is too. She resembles my deceased grandmother remarkably and so my uncle! I called my mom to put it on and she said shed seen that episode before and thought the same exact thing. My grandmother was a young mother with four children and struggled tremendously. .
    sure makes one wonder…

    Posted by Nicole | September 23, 2014, 10:10 pm
  6. I watch the show all the time I’m glad to read all the positive things. I have a brother that has an addition to vodka and prescription meds and has spiraled out of control and I’m at my wits end. Wish I had help for him.

    Posted by Teri Angulo | September 28, 2014, 1:14 pm
  7. OMG did Candy give anybody else goosebumps talking to Elena during the intervention?? Love that lady.

    Posted by Sarah Thomas | January 13, 2015, 6:33 pm
    • I love Candy so much, especially when she gets real/emotional with the addicts. You can tell she just truly wants to help because she knows the pain. She is an inspiration!

      Posted by Rebecca | February 10, 2015, 1:30 pm
    • Candy is such a powerful interventionist. She can connect so deeply to people.

      Elena’s story was so heart-wrenching, especially when she was with her granddaughter, Sarah. I’m so happy to hear that she is doing well. She was too feisty to ever give up and she inspires me with her courage.

      I tried to find a more recent update on her, but I could only find this video from 2012. She looks great in it! http://youtu.be/Lbz1Bl12YZU

      Keep on fighting the good fight, Elena!

      Posted by Voltaria | March 2, 2015, 7:13 pm
    • Yeah, it’s rare to see her jump in in such a way but that was a very powerful moment and I applaud her for doing so.

      Posted by Coniah Grimes | May 24, 2019, 6:27 pm
  8. This was such an amazing story and truly inspiring. I am so happy for her! I really feel that she will stay on the right track!

    Posted by Jimmie | June 21, 2015, 4:59 am
  9. Unfortunate Elana is not going to want to hear this but conservative religious people are intolerant and judgemental regarding this guy they find against what they interpret the bible teachings.
    I know a lot of people of the same ilk are going to comment and tell me how wrong I am but just look at what lead up to her addiction. Her sexuality, and I’m sure a lot of other family matters..
    Acceptance and love no matter what your child’s preference is to sexuality is key to a happy healthy relationship.
    Nobody knows if she would have done this on her own regardless but I’m sorry you cannot convince me that it had nothing to do with it. I hope Elana found happiness in Who she is no matter who she chooses to be with.. Always keep an open mind and love your children no matter what their sexual preferences are..

    Posted by Diane | April 25, 2016, 2:07 pm
    • In Elena’s case, there sure was overlap between her family’s religious beliefs and their aversion to her sexuality. That shouldn’t be the case. That being said, there are plenty of other Intervention cases of families who weren’t religious who evinced similar or arguably worse behavior.

      I posit that there’s far more overlap with parental neglect/abuse (e.g. Dallas, Suzon, Kimberly, Kaylene, etc.) and addiction than with strong religious beliefs (e.g. Elena and Richard K.).

      Posted by Coniah Grimes | May 24, 2019, 6:25 pm
  10. https://www.facebook.com/people/Elena-Godinho/100007814714859

    This is one ex-addict who truly seems to have beaten her addiction. I haven’t seen any Intervention subject embrace sobriety this much. Maybe we’ll be seeing her doing interventions someday!

    Posted by Janelle | October 6, 2016, 10:55 am
  11. LOVE Elena. She might be my favorite episode of Intervention ever. Favorite moment: when she walked into her intervention, realized what was going on, got angry but paused her anger long enough to say to Candy “I know who you are, and you’re really good!” That moment really summed up Elena for me. LOVE her, and am so happy she’s doing well!

    Posted by lisen | November 3, 2016, 11:50 am
  12. I just watched the episode, I was wondering was the daughter addicted to drugs too? She mentioned that both she and Sarah would be going to the Betty Ford Clinic.

    Posted by Kayna | March 16, 2017, 9:15 pm
  13. Did she get to keep her little dog? She seemed to care so much for the dog, even in her addiction. I think she might be my favorite Intervention person ever. What a neat little lady!

    Posted by Shana | August 18, 2017, 2:08 am
  14. I just saw this intervention last night… I so pray that Elena is making wonderful progress in her recovery.. She truly touched my heart… You are so worth a Blessed Life Elena….

    Posted by Susan Cowles | November 14, 2017, 8:06 am
  15. Such an amazing episode! Elana spirit is contagious!

    Posted by Cristal Grimes | May 27, 2018, 2:45 pm
  16. This was a great episode. Definitely one of the most charming meth addicts on the show. I, too, hope Elena is doing great. Hope her little dog is still with her.

    Posted by Irene | September 25, 2018, 6:43 pm
  17. How can we send letters and cards to Elana. She is a true inspiration.

    Posted by Hope Veneziani | May 7, 2019, 4:16 pm
  18. I think Elena passed away. Her granddaughter Sarah just posted a picture on mother’s day of her with a little saying.

    Posted by Marilyn | May 14, 2019, 8:54 am
  19. That’s Cassandra, Elena’s partner who passed a few years back. That picture was shown on Elena’s episode ❤️

    Posted by Tazz | May 14, 2019, 9:50 am
  20. Found this super sweet article about Elena….she seems to be doing great!


    Posted by Allison | July 9, 2020, 8:40 pm
  21. My favorite episode of intervention!!!! Team Elena ! :))

    Posted by Roberto | September 5, 2020, 7:40 am

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