Season 10, Episode 9
Location: Laguna Hills, California
Addiction: Alcohol (wine)
What’s memorable: How desperate she was to be liked when she was a kid, how much her life changed when she got skinny, how she refuses to believe that she has a problem and that she’s just ‘catching up.’
Official synopsis: Brittney saw her food addiction transformed into a raging alcohol addiction after gastric bypass surgery. Now she stands to lose her family as they grow weary of her alcohol-fueled antics
Original Air Date: August 2011
This excellent 2-story episode offers some of the best “common sense” advice I’ve heard in any of the episodes. Donna Chavous ran this intervention and this is Donna at the top of her game with this seriously misguided young woman. In the “pre-intervention” with Brittney’s crazily enabling mother, Donna said, “Truth of the matter is…better you guys make the boundaries and give her the tough love than somebody else. Because I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the funeral of someone who had overdosed or been in an accident–or gotten shot because they were drunk and ignorant–and acting the fool. But I have….I have seen them in the casket”. That very powerful message was clearly strong enough to actually show this poor woman that she was part of the problem…a big part. The ending of Brittney’s story is fairly nebulous–which generally seems to imply that the intervention didn’t work. I could pretty much tell this girl was not ready to surrender. But Donna sure gave it her all, that’s for sure.
My comment is about Donna Chavous rather than Brittany. It is so unfortunate that Donna’s interventions are so confrontational and punitive rather than loving. She gets in the addict’s face and tries to scare them into treatment by using their loved ones’s bottom lines as threats. Not surprisingly, the addict becomes defensive and tries to escape. It’s too bad she doesn’t focus on love and concern. This comment applies DOUBLY to Courtney’s intervention.
I get so tired of people wanting to baby these addicts. It obviously doesn’t work, but you keep trying this approach while the addict ruins himself and those around him.
I agree 100%. Also, I think Donna rocks.
The problem with being forceful and confrontational is that if the addict doesn’t truly surrender and accept that they have a problem, they will not achieve long-term sobriety. Brittney’s story is a great example of this – they forced her into treatment, which worked in getting her there, but then she left after 11 days and now continues to drink… There are obviously exceptions and all addicts are different in some ways but generally the same in overall concepts such as this one.
I related so much to Brittney’s story. I feel it’s hard to really see there’s a problem when alcohol is so widely accepted in social settings, especially in your 20’s. I’m a 27 yr old alcoholic/addict myself with 18months sober. It was hard for me to admit it at first when I was 20. I did see at the end of the episode she went back to treatment in 2013 and am just curious if she stayed sober this go around, if there’s an update on her.
“la la, in laguna hills….”
I think there are a lot of alcoholics in SoCal. It doesn’t help that every grocery store has liquor in it in my opinion. My only salvation is forcing myself to get exercise, which you can typically do year-round here.
I had weight loss surgery and my doctor warned me that many people switch addictions from food to drugs or alcohol. Even in my weight loss surgery support group, I heard people talking about their developing addictions to cocaine, booze, etc… It’s really tough.
Yup – my sister’s struggling with it.
I bet many people related to Brittany story. So many have a disorder and don’t realize it
Coming up on 2 yrs (no alcohol) The only thing that worked for me was tough love. Donna is a 100% right Britney will be looking for her number one day.
Something struck me about this episode. I really think Brittney was a super sweet, fun person, but deeply insecure and not willing to face the pain of her childhood torment just yet. I also think that the pressure of living in such a upscale, exterior community helped fester and exacerbate her alcoholism. I think being around such “confident” people in OC probably made her feel worse about herself and made that pain deep within her return. I pray that she realizes what she is doing to herself sooner rather than later.
Any updates on Brittney’s sobriety? Did she stay sober?
How is brittney doing now?
I had a really hard time connecting with Brittney on any level.
I second that. I think she was so on her This is Normal, I Party But So Does Everyone else shit. Honestly, I feel like a lot of people go through that but grow out of it. Due to her prior addiction to food there is a good chance her drinking will get worse. I hope she’s okay and proving me wrong!
But ya idk I think they didn’t focus enough on either in this 2 story episode.
I hate the A&E does two story episodes… You don’t get enough of the story…
A lot of binge eaters become alcoholics after gastric bypass. Binge eating is an addition too. Maybe it wasn’t as well known back then- as it wasnt identified correctly. She was a beautiful woman I hope she is ok