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Season 4, Episode 7


Age: 32
Location: Nebraska
Addiction: Meth
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

Interventionist: Candy

All comments.

  1. Marcy Williams

    I wish only the very best for Tressa. She reminds me of someone I know, so that makes me feel close to her. I grew up in Iowa and am gay as well. Although I am older than Tressa, I can understand what growing up in the Midwest is like. I wish I knew her, or at least meet her via internet. She seems like such a beautiful soul…

  2. Clementine Danger

    Hasn’t Jeff Van Vonderen written several books about spiritual abuse? Because this is a fine case study right here.

    1. Barb

      I agree. This is a tragedy and it rests at the feet of her parents and their religion.

  3. m

    Favorite episode. Tressa seems wonderful. I must admit I was developing somewhat of a crush on her by the end of the show!

  4. M.E.

    Sadly, I think she’s relapsed, from what I could find online (twitter/youtube accounts)

  5. Rachel

    Watching Tressa’s episode was painful. I’m slowly making my way through past seasons of Intervention, and this episode hit me really hard. It’s painfully obvious to anyone outside looking in that poor Tressa does not have a family that cares about her because she is gay. They simply cannot accept a major part of their daughter.

    There are so many Intervention episodes where the family is awful. I know that’s not a reason to use, but I honestly don’t know if I’d be strong enough to deal with the horror that some of these people go through.

    Tressa, you’re a cool lady and it’s not your fault.

  6. Zach

    Met tressa back in 2010. She was working in a fitness business I was a part of. Saw her episode of intervention but kept it to myself in fear of people in the company misfairly judging her. She seemed to have it together living in southern California.

  7. Amanda B

    Hope you’re doing well, Tressa!

  8. Janelle

    One of Tressa’s biggest obstacles to her recovery (and biggest triggers when she was using) was that her father was unable or unwilling to grasp that addiction and homosexuality are not moral issues. He, like many religious fundamentalists, sees everything in terms of right and wrong. The truth, however, is that addiction and homosexuality are biological issues and have little or nothing to do with morality, right and wrong. Tressa’s dad is incapable of accepting his daughter for who she is, and unfortunately Tressa had to cut off ties to him in order to maintain her sobriety.

    I’m so glad Tressa left Nebraska for SoCal and seems to be doing so well with her recovery.

    1. Laura

      since when is queer identity an “issue”, and why are you equating substance use disorder with romantic orientation?

      1. Janelle

        I see no problem with the word “issue.” Lighten up.

      2. Brooke

        NO! it IS a problem. homosexuality is NOT an issue. and do NOT equate it with addiction. that is UNACCEPTABLE. you are BORN gay, straight, or somewhere inbetween. addiction is a SICKNESS. you do NOT tell someone to lighten up; even if they were incorrect, which she’s NOT.

    2. Amanda

      “Issues” may not have been the appropriate word to use, but yes, I work as an alcohol and substance abuse counselor, and those who identify with being other than heterosexual (gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, asexual, etc.) have a much greater risk of developing an addiction. The show has highlighted this many times (think David, Chris B., Gabe) over the years. Also, identifying with other than heterosexual AND having an immediate family member who is an addict puts that individual at an overwhelming statistic. There are groups and programs specifically catering towards this population. My own sister is a lesbian heroin addict. By God’s good grace, she’s been in recovery for close to a year now, but yes I am very familiar with it. I agree with you, Janelle. Tressa needed to separate herself if she was never going to get the acceptance she needed.

      1. Janelle

        I don’t think either of the Gabes were other than straight…were they?

    3. Adrienne

      I am bisexual and I don’t have a problem with the wording of “issue”. gee People are so sensitive today. I do not know if addiction is biological or has a gene. I don’t know if they found out that. I think of it as a psychological disorder, like an eating disorder which I had. It is of an obsessive and compulsive nature. It is not an “illness”. The good news about a disorder like that is with much counseling and learning new coping skills a person can get better and recover.

      1. Jillian

        Right? I think “factor” may have been a more suiting word than “issue,” but still, peeps need to calm down.

  9. B

    I am watching Tressa’s episode now and it breaks my heart that her family has not been accepting of her sexual orientation. OMG, really? People are born into that part of their lives. This is the down side to evangelicals.

    Tressa, you are who you are. Embrace yourself and live your fullest best life which includes having relationships with women JUST LIKE YOU!!! You deserve what everyone else deserves and this is what the fight for equality is all about.

    Best of luck to you. I hope your family will come around, but I don’t think that will happen. You can, however, find support elsewhere. BE YOU!!!

  10. Anonymous

    I added Tressa on Facebook not that long ago and I messaged her to ask her how she’s been since the show and if she is still clean. I saw that she seen the message but she did NOT answer. So I’m ASSUMING she isn’t doing well…

    1. farawayforfartoolong

      Or maybe she she didn’t reply because she has no idea who you are and doesn’t feel like sharing certain personal details with strangers. Maybe that’s why.

    2. julia

      lmao maybe she felt like you, a total stranger, was invasive and did not want to respond? some things are just very simple

    1. jacinda godwin

      damn she looks rough- very sad

    2. TORNADO

      I am getting a 404 error code when I click that link.

    3. Pang

      WARNING: This website sends me to a scam that tries to download an app and change my default browser

  11. Andy

    Oh no! It’s so sad to see that she’s still struggling a decade later.

  12. Andy

    She posted back in February that she completed treatment in December 2018. Looks like she’s back living in Nebraska.

    1. cosmicexplosion13

      i got her on fb, last she posted is 60 days sober

  13. Brooke

    her family makes me physically ILL. they’re worried she’s going to burn in hell?? if there is a hell: THEY will wind up there. they just don’t know it yet. i would be surprised if she HADN’T ended up an addict with a family like that. i really wish candy would have addressed that and made them apologize for it. she needed that and surely does to this day.

    1. Brooke

      also, the sinning divorced adulterer father should NOT have had his mistress there and tressa’s girlfriend should have been included but pshh they probably would have stoned with rocks you know bc she’s the devil.

  14. anon

    she is not clean. she is terrorizing her current ex girlfriend and her son. she is a constant problem we have called the police several times they have found so much meth in her purse this last weekend they think she is dealing and have put out a felony warrant. she has been doing this the last 3 years here

    1. Ann

      It’s sad to read this about her. I hope she finds help again and stays clean this time and she just needs to stay out of Nebraska

    2. Maria

      Thanks for the update

  15. Jerrad M Runge

    Tessa is currently in the douglas county jail in omaha with her current girlfriend for possession of 140 grams of meth she’s the same overly possessive blowing everything out of proportion all about me person she’s always been. Some people never change

    1. hanna

      i just checked the nebraska meth laws, and she can be facing at least 20 years

    2. Pang

      She was arrested in Dec 2020 for meth with no release date currently…

      Looks like the last time she posted on fb was 2 days prior to her arrest:


    3. Elena

      Who is her current gf I can’t find anything on tressa did she tell to get off on her charges?

  16. j

    her family being a huge christian church themselves and reading only what they want in the bible; the cheating father….. who says being a lesbian is a sin….. i mean…… having his misstress around…
    it’s the clownery for me. they helped destroy her life and god is seeing that. god is fair and does NOT judge, we humans are all sinful on our time on this earth..

  17. Diane S

    I do not understand how her father can judge her since he is in an adulterous relationship, biblically speaking.

    1. ANON

      He’s just a hypocrite. I’m sure in his mind God will overlook his sin because at least he’s cheating with a woman! This is why I am and will remain a proud backsliding Baptist, I know I am a sinner but I don’t judge others who sin. Only God has that power.

    2. Jan

      I don’t understand either. He could repent and be forgiven but he is still “sinning” by living with his girlfriend. Pure hypocrisy. Just another one of those people who pick and choose what they want from the bible.

  18. ANON

    Gotta love her family, they don’t want to give her money cuz she’ll buy drugs. But Bah Gawd! She can do the work of ten people and we only have to pay her peanuts! Just as long as she covers her tattoos and doesn’t swear or be her own person or remind them that she likes women, and works like a slave they can justify exploiting her for cheap labor and enabling her drug addiction 😒

    I hope she’s able to find her way out of her addiction and to be happy and live her best life. But that family has got to go. I honestly think they’d be more forgiving of her meth use if she renounced her lesbianism and entered into a sham relationship with a man.

  19. Ashley Neal

    Please Write Tressa Thompson ~ She is being held on federal charges
    Show her some love 💕
    Tressa Raye Thompson
    2186267 B-1
    Department of Corrections
    710 South 17 th Street
    Omaha, Nebraska 68102

    1. Kitty Katt

      What happened? Federal charges? ???

      1. Olivia

        Possession of 7oz + meth/amphetamine – possession w/intent to deliver.

    2. Elena

      Where is tressa now is she in prison? I’d love you write her I’m also a recovering meth addict I’ve been sober for 3 years.

    3. Elena

      Where is Tressa now how do I write her?

    4. Britt

      Hey Ashley is this still where I can write to Tressa in 2022?

  20. Patches Tenney

    I would love to know how Tressa is doing today, 9/2021
    I felt so connected to her for some reason and have always from time to time thought about her. I hope all is well in her life and would love to be a friend in her circle.

    1. Hashbrown

      Intervention showed Tressa episode today. I came looking to see how she was doing , had no idea it was from 2008 or 3 maybe . Where is she now? Hopefully she is doing better , with her life on track .

  21. Beanforbird

    This struggle continues for many today. Being shamed by families, unable to be who anyone lgbtq was born to be. Looks like according to comments here she has never gotten fully recovered. I hope one day she can learn to love herself enough to recover and know that she can disown family if this is critical to her happiness.
    .. don’t set yourself on fire to keep others warm.

    Dizzy- could you maybe change the “homosexual” categorization to “lgbtq”?

    1. Dizzy

      Gender Identity is its own category and this one is specifically about sexuality, so LGBTQ isn’t applicable in this case.

      1. Taryn

        The l in LGTBQ stands for lesbian, which tressa is.

  22. Ellen

    Tressa was sentenced to almost 6 years in prison on June 17, 2022 for the sale and distribution of large amounts of meth.

  23. Jayla

    2ow Tressa… she will be almost 60 by the time she’s released. No parole in the federal system. What a wasted life.
    The police found 67o GRAMS of meth altogether 🤯🤯

    1. Elizabeth

      She’s 46 and was sentenced to six years. She will be 52 when she is released – that’s not “almost 60.” Though I agree that it is a waste of a life and a very sad chapter in Tessa’s story…

  24. Melody

    does anyone know which prison Tessa is in and if there is a way to write her? I went through a lot of the similar things and would love to send her some encouragement

    1. Britt

      Same here Id love to send a letter

      1. Jackie

        I just posted a comment in reply to Melody with where to send letters if you’re still interested. I hope she feels the love from everyone!

    2. Jackie

      I watched her episode last night and am also from Nebraska, and her story just broke my heart. I hope this is ok to post here, I have never commented before, but I assume since we know her first and last name from various articles it is acceptable to post this info.

      I looked her up in the Bureau of Prisons database ( It looks like she is in FCI Greenville in Illinois. Including this info in case she is transferred to a different facility in the future, you’ll still be able to locate her with this site.

      This site has how/where to send mail to Greenville inmates: . You’ll need to address mail in the format of: name/register number. Her Register Number from the BOP inmate locator appears to be 34201-509.

      All that to say, address letters to:

      Tressa Thompson 34201-509
      P.O. BOX 5000
      GREENVILLE, IL 62246

      Hope that helps and I hope hearing your similar experiences helps Tressa!

  25. Kara

    Hi Tressa! I just hope that you feel all the love that we, your fans, have how are you. My daughter is a lesbian, she is only 15, but I Love that she is a lesbian. I love her girlfriend so much. I’m so sorry that your family can’t say that about you but they do love you. I am a Christian and I believe in God and I know that God wouldn’t make people gay if that wasn’t something he loved about them. I have a feeling that your parents think that you’re being gay is something that came out of your addiction, which is not true. I know that recovery will sometimes have relapses but I hope you will always find your way back to recovery. I was a meth user and I am 18 years sober. I hope you truly feel the love that we all have for you! ❤️

  26. tranquil21

    Oooff this is hard to see. What a shame. Looks like she’ll be released in 2025. I hope she makes something of her time….