Season 4, Episode 14
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Addiction: Pills, mostly Pain Meds
What’s Memorable: The sitting in the garage, the making NO sense and then nodding off in the middle of a sentence, the poor sad son Dakota who can’t stop crying.
Official synopsis: 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 all the housework. Julie and Sandra’s husband, Dan, ration Sandra’s pills so she doesn’t overdose. They know they’re enabling her, but they’re afraid of what will happen if they stop. Sandra’s family is ready to try an intervention, but they’re not sure she’ll ever choose her family over her addiction.
Original Air Date: December 2007
Dakota, I hope you are doing well. You really touched my heart. You are a very articulate and astute youngster. You have the heart and soul of a warrior. It is unfortunate you had to call upon your strengths at such a young age. The interesting thing about being put in that position, is that it will add to your character as you mature into a young man. Then the heart and soul of a warrior matures and all of your experiences will lead to a solid, caring, loving, sensitive man. If you decide to have children when you are older, you already KNOW what it takes to be a parent. You know what mistakes to not make! I wish you all the best in life as you continue on your way, you are truly a phenomenal person; remember that.
I agree Melody. Dakota broke my heart. Such a sweet boy, hurting so bad. I wanted to jump in the tv and hug him. He just wanted to be loved by his mother. This aired many years ago, I hope he is doing well. Dakota, in the tiny chance you will read this I want you to know you have touched a lot of hearts.
I appreciate that very much. I am Dakota and to know that many Years down the road people are still being touched by this means the world to me. Thank you for your very kind comments.
Dakota, I just wanted to reach out and tell you that I pray that God will help you through any and all pain you have because of what has been done to you. My heart breaks for you, but the other poster is right that you demonstrated such strength and sensitivity throughout the show. My husband had a very similar upbringing as yours, and I truly admire and respect the hardships he has overcome to be the amazing man he is now. I wanted to just hug and comfort you, and tell you and your brother that you deserve better! I am so sorry for your pain. :'( I am sure you have lots of great stuff and love in your future. Thanks for writing here- i hope it helps you to know that you touched so many people!
Dakota, you touched me with your sincere heart. How is your mom doing now? I pray you all have found peace. ♡
I would also say that her other son, K.C., is also a fine, strong boy–who was forced to deal with an entirely unmanageable situation in the only way his 17-year old mind knew how. The heartbreak he went through was written all over his face. Seeing his mother fallen to such depths made him act-out in desperation. And I think the only reason he did NOT leave was because he wouldn’t want to leave Dakota alone with the out-of-control Sandra. In spite of all they went through, they both seem like kind, caring and beautiful spirits. I hope this entire family was able to escape this imprisonment of addiction and move on to a happier, healthier existence. I believe they can do it!
I would love to know how KC and Dakota are doing now. Such sweet, kind, big-hearted boys; I hope they were able to forge their own paths and avoid the destruction of addiction.
We are doing fantastic kc has 2 kids and is in the army now. I’m in my last year of high school and will be on my way to the navy. Thank you very much for your kind words. And unfortunately to this day we don’t talk to our mother anymore. Kc cut all ties and it still is hard for me because that is my mother. But that is besides through fact. Have a fantastic day
I am so glad to hear that you and KC are doing well; thanks for taking the time to give us a little update. I understand all too well the tormented relationship a kid can have with a parent, especially a mother. It’s like wanting/needing to hug a cactus – the need is there even though it hurts every damn time. Hang in there – and love yourself as best you can. You are crazy strong to have survived your childhood – I hope you’re able to recognize that and value yourself like those around you were unable to. Take care.
Dear Dakota —
I have never written to anyone I saw on any show, in my whole life. But I am writing to you because more than anyone I have ever indirectly known, you deserve to hear from every single person out here whose heart broke in two hearing your story. We may all be strangers, but our love for you and our feelings about what you went through, and the way you handled it, is real. You would know that tangibly if any of us were ever lucky enough to meet someone as fine as you in person.
Dakota, I am a mom who wasn’t able to give birth to children. I adopted two wonderful daughters from China. I always wished I could have a son, too. If there was a boy anywhere that I could choose to be that person, it would be you. Your grace, vulnerability, courage, kindness, and love in the face of such grief came loud and clear through that TV screen.
The other boy I would choose for a son would be your brother KC. Would you please tell him that for me? He showed the same qualities you did — I think us moms out here were initially more broken by you, because of how young you were when you were going through that, but KC broke me just as hard. So I would take him too, wife, babies and all, and I would fold you into my large and tightly knit extended family and they would love you too and feel so privileged that you all were ours. I wish my daughters could have such wonderful young men as brothers.
As I watched your episode, I wanted to shake your mother and ask her why she didn’t understand what great gifts she had in you two boys. I wanted to ask her why you weren’t enough to motivate her to stop. But I know it isn’t like that. I know she does love you. I know she is very sick and broken. All around us people are broken in turn they are damaging others. I struggle with the concept of the love of God, but I think you two boys would do well to find a way to connect to that perfect love. I know God weeps for your mother and wants her to be well and to feel her worth.
You don’t know me at all, but I am going to make a promise to you and KC. I will hold you in my heart as long as I live. There will be a special place in my heart where the love of a mother is reserved for just you two. If you are ever alone or need a mom to reach out to, I am here. My name is Suzanne. Here is my email: [email protected]. I would love to have your email so that I could check in with you from time to time.
I will pray for you and KC every day and in my heart, you will be partly mine. I know that is all very metaphysical, but I do think love can go out through the stratosphere and change things.
I have no idea what you boy’s internal or external struggles are like, but I know your hearts. You allowed us to see your inescapable goodness in the face of such adversity, and for that I am forever grateful. You made my world much more beautiful and precious than it was before.
Thank you. All my love,
I am sorry you don’t have a relationship with your mother. As a mother with one son, I can’t imagine not having a relationship with my son. It was great seeing how much Dan loved you both. I understood KC being so resentful of your mother, but hoped he would see how much Dan wanted what was best for both of you. Did you continue your relationship with Dan? I hope so and I hope KC realized Dan loved you both. Now that he is a father I am sure he gets it.
I just finished watching this episode.
Not being able to save your son from his asthma attack because you are clouded by drugs…..that’s lower than low. Messed up on so many levels. I hope things are for the better now.
This was the most difficult time of my life and what you said is 1000% correct letting the drugs cloud your life over your sons is the lowest of the low. Things have changed for the better Thank you
I never ever write comments on the internet, but I saw the show and searched for a way to tell u that you, Dakota and your brother kc broke my heart. I think of u all the time and wish u both well. Please tell me u are happy, u deserve all the happiness in the world. I’m sorry u has to deal with this in your life, but you’ll see….. you’ll be rewarded with the best life. Please be happy!
I hope things are still going well for you. As you can see there are many moms on here that see the value inside you and are rooting for you to succeed on every level. Update us if you can.
Hey Theresa this is dakota me and my brother are doing great he has 3 kids and myself have one. Look me up on facebook anytime dakota Red Rosenlund !
I just watched this episode and I was drawn to find an update on how the family is doing today. My heart broke for KC and Dakota- I cried throughout the entire episode for these boys. KC and Dakota- if you are out there and read this, please know your story touched my heart and I’m sure the hearts of all the viewers. I hope you both understand that your mom does love you, but the addiction has a great hold on her. I hope you both survive the pain and wish you much deserved peace and happiness. Be well!! ((Hugs))
I pray that you both learn from your mothers’ and my own mistakes. Sometimes in life we can mess up for so-long , it feels as if it’s vertually IMPOSSIBLE to “pick up where we left off” and so, we never do. It’s not that we don’t want to , it’s just hard . Time is one thing that u can Never get back. Live every day as if it was your last . God bless.
Dakota – you touched me on many levels in this episode, mostly because my little brother Tyler that I’m very close to is your age and reminded me of you and was a little older than you were at the time of filming when he found out about my heroin addiction. He was the reason I went to rehab. I tried to go to rehab several times but my severe depression and PTSD from trauma from rape, childhood abuse – sexual physical mental emotional, etc resurfaced and I’d relapse. I’m now on methadone treatment and it has saved my life but Im still working on my depression and PTSD. Other than the addiction aspect our moms seem a lot alike. My mom is “above” addiction/addicts. My mom can do no wrong. She was very critical and gives off the message that something is wrong with me. She has also made a huge negative impact on Tyler’s self esteem and im very worried about him too. I am the oldest of 6 kids and felt like the permanent babysitter growing up which is where I related to your bro.. i never felt like she loved me and I have gone to therapy and realize she likely has narcissistic personality disorder. You may want to google “maternal narcissism” because it seems like you could be dealing with the same type of mom as me. Addiction covers ones true self and so it may or may not apply, but it helped me a lot in understanding why she does such hurtful things.
Here is an article you may or may not find helpful:
My mom is the first, second, and fourth types.
Btw I’m not trying To blame anything on my mom as her dad had NPD and his mom had NPD so it’s in the family cycle but I am determine to break the cycle which it seems like you and your brother definitely have. I just figured you may relate. Hope you’re doing well! Xoxo
Sorry to double post but one thing I realized is how did she do so many opiates like opana and morphine and take suboxone – which has buprenophrine, and naltrexone, which is an opiate blocker at the same time without getting extremely dope sick?
That’s what I was wondering. Nwvwr heard of takin all those opiates AND suboxone. I thought suboxone is so you don’t take opiates or you get really sick?? So how was she takin then together and what kind of doctor wouks prescribe all that together??
Dakota and KC I hope you two are well. This episode broke my heart.
I just started the episode (and haven’t finished) but came here to comment the same thing. with suboxone, if you take opiates AFTER you’ve started the suboxone, it just blocks the opiates but you don’t get sick at all. which is why i don’t understand why she’s taking them. but if you have been on opiates and don’t wait long enough before taking a suboxone, it can make you very sick because it sends you into precipitated withdrawal. so as far as sickness goes, opiates after suboxone, you’re fine. but opiates right before suboxone, you’ll get very, very sick. you have to wait like 12-24 hours or so after taking opiates before taking suboxone. you should wait until you start feeling withdrawal symptoms.
Love the update!! Glad to hear you are both doing well…you definitely touched a lot of lives
11/4/15 Central FL 1:30est
Dakota & KC, I’m always up late with a restless mind (due to my own horrific childhood) watched your episode & was inexplicably compelled to type “Intervention Sandra” into a search engine. I value my privacy & avoid meddling in the business of others so this is a first for me also. I was shocked to see you & your brother’s resilient attitudes. I was AMAZED by your articulate & mature responses even in the midst of such instability. I said to myself, “Well, somebody is doing something right. Look how they behave.” You both seem smart, level headed, caring & STRONG enough to keep loving her knowing you run the risk of being hurt again. I’ll blame dicing onions but I caught myself a bit misty eyed at the end there. I recognized all your anguish, frustration, pain & vulnerability matched only by your inner strength & commitment to continually take the high road.
The help you’ve provided for others in similar circumstances is incalculable. I know I’ve benefitted by seeing your example of how to BE in the face of adversity.
Thank you for your courage,
Thank you for your kind words Matt this is dakota red and few free to look me up anytime on Facebook my last name is Rosenlund and would love to chat about life. Have a great day ! I know it may be a long shot 3 years later of a reply is pretty long but anyways see ya !
I am in a very similar position to Sandra, although I have not fared as well; I have had to deal with seizures, brain damage and homelessness.
But I am addicted to the same stuff. For me it’s Oxycodone, Codeine, Imovane, Zoloft, Amitriptyline, Haloperidol, Trazodone, Seroquel, Keppra, Phenobarbital, Xanax and klonopin.
One thing that confuses me about sandra is: she takes opiates like Opana…but also suboxone. Suboxone BLOCKS opiates. What is the point of taking opiates AND an opiate blocker??
It was great seeing Dekota’s update. I was touched by both Dekota and KC’s issues that were caused by their mother’s drug use. Dan seemed so sincere in his love for the boys. Even though KC didn’t seem to appreciate Dan’s input, but I always hoped that at some point that would change. Even though he was a step parent Dan really seemed like he wanted what was best for both boys. Now that he is a father maybe he understands what Dan tried to do.
Hello Dakota and KC,
If either of you read this, I just want you to know that both of you touched my soul. I grew up in a similar environment. My parents suffered from mental illness which also creates chaos.
Just like KC, I joined the Army to get away from it all. It was the best decision of my life and the worst. It was the best because the chaos was left behind. It was the worst because my brother and sister were left behind in the chaos.
20 years later, I recently realized that me and my siblings do not get along because I left them. They had feelings of abandonment.
I also realized that I hid feelings of shame in my subconscious for leaving them. Burying those feelings lead to anger.
Please discuss this between the two of you so that it doesn’t become a problem in your relationship.
I wish nothing but the best for both of you.
I know a lot of people here are wondering about my brother and I, we are doing great if anyone would like to speak to me I’m willing to talk about anything find me on Facebook dakota Red Rosenlund. Thank you all for your kind words and have a great day !
Thanks for the update! Love seeing all the support you and your family still get on here to this day. Hope all is still well Dakota!
Thank you Dakota for letting us know how you are doing. It’s incredible how you and your brother have dealt with your mothers abuse. You can both be so very proud of yourself!!! I am so glad to hear you are both doing well.
Sorry, I don’t have a good word to say about your mom. I am a mother of two boys myself and there is NEVER an excuse, no addiction/nothing, to be that irresponsible. She lost out on so much…
Hi Dakota ~ how are you & your family these days? Wishing you all the best that life has to offer!
Just watched this episode and was quite moved. Dakota, I hope life has treated you and your brother well. You had to learn how to be adults way too soon, just as my husband did. There are times when his experiences as a child
Sneak up on him as he approaches 50, but overall we have a happy life. We got lucky.. We are all a product of our choices in life. I hope you are making good ones! I think I read that you were planning on joining the navy a few years back. My son will be reporting in January to start his next chapter of life. Wishing you and KC peace. Sending virtual hugs!
This episode in particular made me extremely emotional. I felt Dakota’s pain and KC’s at the same time. My mother did heroin for 20 years I am now almost 30 and my mom now numbs herself with psychiatric medication such as seroquel in high doses and Xanax. My sister is 10 and seeing her go through the same thing me and my two brothers went through (foster care by 4 years old) I feel KCs anger almost exactly; watching your parent hurt your siblings the same way they did to you and wanting to protect them. I saw the pain in Dakotas face and it reminded me of my little sister asking me similar questions. Is mom okay? Is she gonna die? I’m so sorry for you guys. I know it takes a lot of work to be able to distance yourself from your parents even tho I felt angry with my mom I still couldn’t just tell her to go away because it was all I wanted. I’m so glad you they broke the cycle from reading Dakotas comments. You are incredible men!
Sandra falls into my Too 5 Foulest Women on Intervention. She should have been jailed for neglect.
Dakota, is your mom still using? or why did you cut ties? i am glad you are doing well.
Dakota as you know I wanted to let you know that so long ago you were in the show and all of us moms were touched by your kindness, your need for love, and your maturity and strength in the face of adversity and pain. Because you gave us your Facebook I had to look you up even though you said you were doing great it just was something I wanted to see and it was nice to see that you have someone to love and you have two wonderful boys that will never go through what you had to go through. I have two kids my daughter is 15 and my son is 18. It really hurt me what you went through but it was good to see you’re doing so well. By the way my son is obsessed with dragon ball Z, he’s even been Goku for Halloween probably four times in a row a few years back. I just saw that on your Facebook you had a few posts of Goku! I wish you all the luck happiness and love! ❤️
So excited to come on here and see how well her sweet boys are doing! They were the only people on this episode that I was genuinely concerned for. Dakota, you have a beautiful woman, gorgeous children, and a beautiful life. I’m so glad that you were able to learn from the mistakes of your mother and do better. I’m proud of you!
I found Sandra’s facebook https://www.facebook.com/sandra.deniston.7
She seems to be doing okay, I seen a featured post that had Dakota in it which is a good sign. I did some research and also found her to be in the process of a divorce with Dan, I am unsure if this is the same Dan as the episode but a divorce regardless. Although, I hope she is sober and everyone gets relief. And Dakota, if you see this, your entire family should be so so proud of you. You are such a strong man and by the looks of it an even stronger father. Best regards to you and your family!