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Season 12, Episode 15


Age: 64
Location: North Aurora, Illinois
Addiction: Alcohol (gin)
What’s memorable: The relationship with her adult daughter and the things they say to each other – disturbing and heartbreaking.  After watching the episode a 2nd time after finally getting my own mother into rehab only to have her leave after 5 days, I have a much more empathetic understanding of daughter’s Andrea’s feelings (or lack thereof).  There comes a point when the only way to protect yourself from being sucked into the emotional manipulation is to convince yourself you don’t care what happens to them.  Of course you care, and you’ll eventually have an emotional response, but right now it’s just easier to act like you don’t and to try to move on with your life. Andrea finally letting her guard down and begging her mom to get help, that’s what got Sandi into treatment and it saved their relationship. But I totally get what took Andrea so long to get there.

Official Synopsis: Sandi, 64, is a vivacious, spunky and fun grandmother who loves gardening. But as her drinking escalates throughout the day, Sandi turns her gin-fueled anger on her 88-year-old mother and her 45-year-old daughter, alienating everyone in her wake.

Original Air Date: December 2012
Interventionist: Donna

All comments.

  1. Kate Corbett Pollack

    This episode was certainly painful to watch. It is amazing to me that Sandi’s daughter even talked to her mother at all anymore, let alone wanted to help her get sober. I’m glad to have found your site! This is such a powerful show.

    1. Holly

      Whatever happened to Sandi? Still sober?

      1. Andrea Hochstedt

        I am Andrea, Sandi’s daughter. I have not regained a relationship with her, but wish her nothing but success. It is my understanding she is sober. I am about to see her next week, so I will keep you posted.

      2. John Baptiste

        Hi Andrea

        Can you please provide any status you may have on your mom?

        I hope you are well.

    2. Kaye

      Growing up with an addict and a narcissistic mother myself I have such respect for Andrea. It is so hard to finally just walk away and grieve the loss:loss of the care and nurturing we should have had as children, the loss of a mentor/teachers the loss of someone that should love us unconditionally. Andrea you deserved so much more. There is no dealing with a narcissistic personality and the addiction just adds to it.

    3. chris m

      She was quite an asshole herself, as we found out from her grandpa, and son. And just about everyone else in the intervention come to think.

      1. Sue Ellen Hegstrom

        I didn’t see Andrea as an asshole…she was in a lot of pain. Wouldn’t you be if your mother said so many heinous things to you, drunk OR sober? I know I would.

  2. Monte

    Sandi reminds me of my own mother.
    Monied, miserable yet energy to keep a way nicer yard than most healthyish people.
    I do hope Sandi is still sober.
    Everyone deserves the chance to be happy. Many choose not to be, be those that do choose to be happy, who choose life over death, deserve life and happiness.
    To those who have love ones that are addicts and alcoholics – never give up – never.

  3. LeAnn

    This episode was very emotional for me. I’m so glad she got clean. I pray she stayed that way!

  4. eryn

    The lady doing the intervention is wrong about what she said to Sandi’s daughter. Sandi’s daughter was perhaps the most honest person on that show… she is the only one who I can actually see moving on to a healthy mental life because she refuses to be a part of the sick life.

    1. Kay

      Completely agree! After years of therapists telling me to run far far away from dealing with my addicted and narcissistic mom I can not believe they tried to guilt Andrea into dealing with such a toxic relationship any farther. If a man a bus s a woman they tell us to report and get away but because the abuser is a mother shouldn’t mean we must deal with more and more abuse. Move far away!

    2. Layla

      There is a difference between peacefully moving on and shutting yourself off to any emotion entirely. Listen to Andrea’s son. She’s not OK and she needs help whether or not she reconciles with her mother. She didn’t deserve the life she was given either, but that doesn’t mean she should stop having emotions. I come from a similar family. Not feeling doesn’t always mean that you protect yourself. I wish the best for all involved.

      1. Annabel Franz

        Andrea was suffering inside and that became very evident during the intervention. She can say she doesn’t feel anything as she thinks that’s a mechanism to prevent further pain, but that is her mother and clearly I.T was taking a toll on her and her relationship with her own child.. The interventionist was entirely accurate, that’s a very dangerous place to be to become utterly callous towards your own mother, there is no happiness or peace in that. She wouldn’t have been at the intervention nor shedding tears begging her to go if she didn’t have feelings. It’s a shame that she can’t find forgiveness in her heart even after 5 some years of sobriety. And for you all repeatedly calling Sandi a narcissist, Addiction displays itself as incredibly selfish, but it’s a disease. Addicts are not bad people. They are engulfed in a disease and their brains become hardwired to seek alcohol and drugs regardless of what pain I.T causes in hopes of just escaping their continuous psychological turmoil. Have some compassion and beyond that educate yourself on addiction. I.T blows my mind that people who cheer on Andreas callousness and berate Sandi for being a narcissist are even people who watch this show and care to post here- do you just enjoy watching people suffer?

      2. Sue Ellen Hegstrom

        I watched this episode recently and while Andrea came across as callous, her mother said horrible things to her. Whether Sandi was drunk or sober, those words were said by her. They are documented..

        If I’m understanding correctly, don’t the twelve steps include the addict apologizing for those they have hurt? The addict can’t control whether the person they’ve hurt will accept the apology so they can build a relationship with the injured party again.

        If a relationship is lost due to the effects of alcohol and the connection can’t be restored, sometimes that’s the cost. Maybe the addict can use the lessons they learn from experiences like that in order to remember the cost of what they’ve done and focus on their sobriety to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

        I’m not an addict, but I deal with my bipolar disorder in much the same way. I have hurt people and asked their forgiveness, but it’s their choice to accept/reject what I give them, and I accept whatever choice they make.

    3. R

      I respectfully completely disagree. Her daughter in my eyes is very mentally ill. It’s not normal to be filled with that much hatred and be so cold. If she truly was healthy and refused to be a part of her mother’s addiction she would have communicated that in a healthy way and stayed away by setting boundaries. Instead she verbally abused her mother (yes, I get Sandi did as well, I’m by no means saying it’s only Andrea) and even went so far as to say she was actually disappointed when her mother survived her suicide attempt. That is sickening and shows mental illness and/or personality disorder. Smiling when she said the awful things she said is the furthest thing from healthy. This girl needs just as much help as her mother, if not more! Sandis illness is tangible, you can see the drinking, Andreas is mental/emotional which you can’t see so it makes it that much more dangerous and problematic if not treated.

      1. Joe

        She has the right to feel however she feels. Many people cut all ties with family members that are addicts for their own sanity. We have no right to judge.

      2. Ez

        Andrea was well on her way to being her mother, Donna wasn’t guilting her about being aloof she was warning her that her reaction to her mother wasn’t any more healthy then Sandis reaction to her own mother. It doesn’t excuse Sandis behavior it forces Andrea to come face to face with her own dysfunction, how long can she blame her mother for her issues? Sandi ain’t at Andrea’s house berating her grandkids and mistreating them. Andrea was trying so hard to seem above it all like she was better than her mom but she sure af downed that glass of gin at the BBQ pretty damn quick.

  5. Kitteh

    Wow! This one made me cry because my mom and sister have a similar (although much less severe) situation. It seems that there is some hope for this family. you can tell that there is still a hint of love during the intervention. They have put up fronts of anger and callousness to protect themselves. The interventionist was amazing. I thought she handled the daughter very well. I think that her daughter’s breakdown was the catalyst that started the healing. I really hope they are still doing well.

  6. Angela

    I wanted to say that I wish Sandi well. Many watched her episode and saw a mean drunk. (She was certainly) but I saw a woman who got a raw damn deal in life and was in incredible pain. I hope sandi has found happiness. I hope her daughter found forgiveness.

  7. Halley

    Watching this episode makes me feel grateful I don’t have a mother who’s an alcoholic… That being said, I can relate to her saying “when will it get better”- in sobriety. Things kind of ebb and flow, and do get better, and get worse again. I guess that’s just the way it goes. For some reason my addiction didn’t progress that far, and I don’t know why, but I can be thankful for it.

  8. Just some viewer

    I hope you’re doing well, Sandi, wherever you are.

  9. MTB

    Hi, Andrea: I hope the aforementioned recent meeting with your mother was a positive one and that she is recovering successfully. You appear to be a strong, smart, principled woman, and should guard against allowing enduring anger to distort your considerable beauty. My best to you and your family.

  10. Melanie

    What a painful episode to watch! I really felt for Andrea. My dad passed away from alcoholism related cancers at the age of 56, and we were pretty much estranged by that point. He was often very verbally abusive and could be physically threatening. After too many cruel phone calls made while he was drunk, too many near punches to my face, I had to cut him off for my own health.

    Later in life, I developed my own alcoholism and see in Sandi how my life could have been had I not gotten sober.

    Sending my best wishes to this family. Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Kat

      Melanie, your story is exactly my story. My mother was also an alcoholic who was verbally and physically abusive, and when she was 51, I cut her off because I needed to protect myself at that point. She died 4 years later in an alcohol related accident, and a year later I was well on my way to becoming an alcoholic. On Saturday I’ll have been sober 8 months, and while I 100% understand that Andrea did what she had to do to protect herself, I’m glad I didn’t go that route.

  11. Michelle

    Andrea, I hope that you are able to find peace and serenity in your own life. I have a father that is an alcoholic, and I limit our interaction. He is 70 now but was in a rest home at 65, because of the consequences of his alcoholism.

    My father is an alcoholic. He’s also an asshole. He had a really sad childhood, and just doesn’t know what love is. So he could never give it to me. I have compassion for him. It must be a lonely life to be estranged from 4 children and to be in a resthome. However, that is the natural consequence of being an alcoholic asshole.

    I share this story, because I hope you can find compassion for your mum, forgive her and be able to live your life well and with happiness. On the show you talked about not enabling, and looking after yourself. Keep doing that.

    And look into Al-Anon if you haven’t already.

  12. Andrea Hochstedt

    I have been through many years of therapy. My lack of emotion for Sandi’s situation, during the show, comes through my self preservation. I always, from a very young age, had to create the boundary of – I’m the child , you’re the parent Sandi . She always wanted…. needed someone to care for her. That wasn’t my job. No one ever cared for her as a child, thus her adult life was to seek that out in dsfunctional ways. It’s quite sad. Remember, you saw a show about Sandi’s story, not Andrea’s. Andreas is quite different and Sandi didn’t act like she did on the show when we were kids. I had incredibly loving great grand parents that cared for me and my brother. Not to say having Sandi as a mother has not effected me quite negatively .Sandi wasn’t the most mindful parent, but she did the best she could with what she was dealt. You must see from what you saw on the show that she didn’t have the healthiest of support systems. Her parents, highly dysfunctional and alcoholics themselves amongst other issues. Sandi also had some terrible things happen to her as a very young child due to that neglect.
    I love my mother. She has taught me many valuable lessons. My lack of emotion is because I have let it go. A very difficult accomplishment for many in similar situations .

    1. Sandi Stasiak

      Andrea, I know exactly where you’re coming from. My father was a horrible alcoholic and my mother joined him in his alcoholism after years of trying to get him to stop and be a better husband and father. I remember at a very young age asking my mother why she was drinking…her response? And I had to be about 8. She said “If you can’t beat em than you join em!” I’ll never forget the feeling I had at that moment. The one person I felt safe with was no longer my safety net. Your story really hits home.

      What was surprising to me was when I saw that this episode was in North Aurora, Illinois
      I am a nurse in North Aurora, Illinois!
      I reside in Plainfield. So, this story hit home in more ways than one.
      I pray that Sandi (that’s also my name, same spelling too) is sober and that you and your family are thriving and healthy!
      God Bless!
      Sandi S.

    2. Lori

      Is your mom still winning the battle? is she sober?
      I hope so with all my heart and pray that one day you will be able to forgive her for the pain she has caused you…..

      she was never given the right role modelling for how to be a successful parent, she had children while she was in the middle of so much dysfunction……

      there is almost no way for that to end but the way it did….

      you are ALL victims in this, and I can guarantee you Sandi would Never have hurt you if she knew how to stop the pain she was feeling any other way…..

      Please please try with everything in you to see the good and the loving side of your mom so that your child learns the power of love and of mercy……
      Put it on Gods account….He knows what you have been through….

      xoxoxo with hope and prayers for you all…..

    3. Annabel

      Hi Andrea, I tried posting to this before but I’m not sure it went through. I just want to say that I can wholeheartedly relate to you as Sandi reminds me a lot of my mother in many ways. She would also say terrible things to me while wasted. I may have been different in that I never held resentment about it because I knew this was not her, it was her disease and incredibly distorted, miserable brain talking. I knew that who she was sober and is today completely sober is who she is. I know that the things she said inebriated probably still eat her up inside and that is even with my forgiveness. I can also understand the toll it takes and incredible frustration to be put in the role of a parent as a child.
      I know you have said that you have no emotions, don’t care, are not regaining a relationship with her, and let it go, but that you do love her. If you do love her, if you do care to partake in the intervention, shed the tears you shed begging her to go, and care to post on here, then I hope that you can someday admit that you do have emotions and that you will naturally always want a mother out of the person who is your mother. It is a dark place to be to act like you want no relationship with your mother because you are so hurt by the past. I say this because I truly believe Sandi deserves another chance with you, at least in some form. I hope that you can let go of your resentment and facade of not caring so that you can both lead more fulfilled and happy lives. Please imagine what a dark, dark place it must be to feel like you have nothing to live for, so much that you try to end your life as your mom did. Please also see that you are basically the reason she got sober. Please give her a chance to be something to you.

    4. Sue Ellen Hegstrom

      Keep on hanging in there, Andrea. Boundaries have to exist, and that’s what I got from watching you on Sandi’s “Intervention” episode. I’ve had similar instances with my own sister, and words can hurt so much. It’s hard to find the love amidst the anger, but I admire you for being able to carry on. *hug*

    5. Heather Miranda

      Andrea I completly agree with you. You had to set up that barrier to protect yourself. In the end it made you stronger and become the woman you are today. You’re a role model to your family and inspiration to others who grew up with situations similar to yours. I wish nothing but the best for you and your mom. I pray she’s staying sober and finally at peace with the past.

  13. Stephanie

    Just happened to look up this episode after seeing it for the first time just now. The update is appreciated.

    I was quite moved by your mom’s story and felt so much empathy for both of you. I respect that you have done what you needed to do to heal. I don’t know if your mom can ever heal without your forgiveness, but that is not your fault.

    I wish you both peace and healing.

  14. MTB

    Good to hear, Andrea

  15. Amber

    Andrea I hope this message finds its way to you and That by the time your are reading it you have found healing in your heart. Though I only saw small pieces of you in the show I could see that you are a strong, self reliant woman. Listening to your mothers voicemail broke my heart. My own mother said something very similar to me in regards to my brother who had committed suicide, that she wished he was alive and I was dead. Those words cut deep and the wounds left behind seem never to heal. I was so proud of you for putting your pain and anger aside when you pleaded with your mother to go to treatment. I hope with all my heart that she found the strength to make things right. I hope that you both have found a way to uncover the love that still exists somewhere between you. Your mother has her demons and you were right when you said the things that happened to her wasn’t her fault. Just know that the things that happened to your weren’t your fault either. Whatever the outcome is, I just want you to know that despite what you’ve gone through you should never be ashamed to let yourself feel. Anger, disappointment, fear, love & happiness…please don’t keep your emotions bottled in. You deserve happiness above all else.

  16. JL

    How is Sandi doing today? Quite curious about her current condition

  17. Beanbag

    I also think it’s really memorable that during the intervention Sandi said she wasn’t going to go, until Andrea broke down and begged her mom to go after being completely cold and emotionless the whole episode.. I’m sure that was the only way she was going to go and I was so glad she was able to open up.

  18. Randi Kreger

    Whoever said that the daughter was sick for not having a relationship with her mother is completely clueless. Mothers can treat daughters or sons as bad as any stranger. My mother had borderline personality disorder and alcoholism and she would suddenly break out into rage filled diatribes my whole life. My earliest memory Is that of shame for being a bad person. I will never really trust anyone else. I developed complex post traumatic stress disorder and a dissociate disorder in order to survive. So there, perhaps you are right. Mothers can make their daughter sick. Cutting off all contact is sometimes the only solution. The good that came out of it was I wrote four books on borderline personality disorder and helped more than 1 million other people, Many of them daughters who were still terrified of their mothers in their 60s. The daughters; the mothers were in their 80s. No one should have to grow up terrified of their mother. If you have one, then comment. Until you do, I’m not impressed by your opinion.

    1. Nobody

      Randi, you didn’t deserve the abuse, but you haven’t dealt with your rage as well as Andrea has. I realize this site has rules about confrontation, but when you present yourself as an expert, I think you leave yourself open to criticism.

      I’ve seen your site. I’ve skimmed your first book. You have no professional credentials, yet you present yourself as an expert on a complex mental disorder. Based on what I’ve read, you advise family and friends to completely cut themselves off from their loved one. As someone who’s struggled with BPD, the most hateful and cruel comments I’ve ever seen about people with the disorder were on your site. I see none of the love, support, validation, and hope there that I see from families on the show. They haven’t given up. Andrea hadn’t given up. She created necessary boundaries, but she didn’t give up. She still supports her mother’s recovery, even if she can’t be around her physically.

      My sibling was an addict. I had to distance myself from them and their abuse. I never gave up on them. They cleaned up their act and I did my best to support them through the process. We still have issues because I’ve tried to create boundaries.

      I’m not trying to attack you. I just think other readers deserve to know that your perspective may be skewed.

  19. MM

    I just found it utterly shocking and quite ironic how the family and even Donna tried to guilt trip Andrea for trying to distance herself from Sandi. Part of the reason Sandi is in this situation is because of the lack of love from her own mother. None of the relationships are healthy in this family and they are all dealing with it in different ways. That was her way of handling it and this is Andreas way..

  20. Melissity

    I understand how her daughter feels. It’s not something you understand until you experience it yourself. I didn’t speak to my mother for 7 years because of her verbally abusive nature due to her drinking. I finally had to say, “here’s a number to a local free treatment center. I will no longer take your calls until you agree to go.” She continued to call me and leave me nasty abusive voicemail messages and text messages every few months.
    We reconciled October of 2020. She is unfortunately still drinking, but not like she used to. She was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer, and I didn’t feel it was appropriate to allow her to leave this earth without trying to reconcile. Getting a death sentence really changes your perspective on life. She apologized for her behavior and we speak regularly.

  21. Dahlia

    Some info I found after digging a bit, apologies if this brings up grief for the family involved.

    Gerd apparently passed away about a month after this episode aired. Shocking considering it looked like the mother was way worse in health than Gerd.
    Here is his obit.:

    Dallas passed about a year after that in March 2014:

    Hope Sandi and the rest of the family were able to make at least some peace before they both passed. So sorry for your losses.

  22. Marie A

    Andrea,I hope you see this. I am only going to say, i 💯 know what you went through.. I hope u found peace. I hope Sandi found and kept sobriety!

  23. Christine

    I can relate to you so much!! I’m lonely and bored, but can’t ‘retire’ at 53…. I wish I knew how to garden! You have a very good hobby right there!

  24. Emily

    This lady acts just like my mother. I had to cut her out for my own worth. I wish you the best Sandi and Andrea.

  25. BAE

    I felt for Andrea so much. I can see why people saw her as cold, but you’d have to be Andrea to understand her. This is one of the most unforgettable episodes for me personally. Sandi laying on the grass and passing out, Andrea’s empathetic breakdown, the way it moved her mother finally, after having a terrible attitude. Sandi deserves the love she needs, and I hope she is well today.

    1. Ez

      I feel bad for both of them, Sandi didn’t seem like a bad person deep down just very hurt and very lonely with her parents abandoning her and sister to drink for days at a time. there wasnt really a normal way to deal with that kind of trauma so she drank. then her son who was mentally handicapped left so she drank some more. What’s worse is Andrea modeling her mother’s behavior with her kids, without realizing she’s hurting them the way she was hurt.

  26. Alice Schmid

    I don’t like Andrea. My father was a violent abusive alcoholic. I know that pain. But there is no excuse for Andrea’s cold callous behavior. I don’t care if it’s a facade It might be. but what I think it is is a continuation of the same defective neurobiology that Sandi has. Part of it is innate. If Andrea were as superior as she believes herself to be, she would work on changing her attitude. The bitterness, the lack of empathy, the cruelty even to her own children. The narcissism, the conviction of what she herself does or does not deserve. It speaks to a possibility that Andrea is herself a psychopath. 1-2% of the population is psychopathic.

    Andrea needs therapy. More than Sandi does.