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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

All comments.

  1. Gloria

    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!

    1. Dizzy

      I totally agree. Elena is an awesome lady and yes, totally worth it. So glad she got sober.

    2. Jess

      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.

      1. Em

        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

      2. Ella

        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.

  2. Katie

    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! ☺

  3. funeral planner

    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.

  4. HE Pennypacker

    I want her to write a memoir. I’d read it.

    1. Renee Nank

      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.

      1. FYI

        That’s not true for suicide rates. Highest are in young adulthood, and second highest are middle adulthood.
        25-44 years 16,724
        45-64 years 14,668

  5. Nicole

    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…

    1. Lynn

      Wow. That’s surreal!

  6. Teri Angulo

    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.

  7. Sarah Thomas

    OMG did Candy give anybody else goosebumps talking to Elena during the intervention?? Love that lady.

    1. Rebecca

      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!

    2. Voltaria

      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!

      Keep on fighting the good fight, Elena!

    3. Coniah Grimes

      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.

  8. Jimmie

    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!

  9. Diane

    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..

    1. Coniah Grimes

      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.).

  10. Janelle

    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!

  11. lisen

    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!

  12. Kayna

    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.

    1. Emily

      No, the daughter and Sarah went to the Betty Ford Family Program. However, Sarah was the subject of a later intervention (Episode 182, SarahP – listed here as one of “The Most in Denial”), also lead by Candy.

      BTW, I see Elena around at 12 step meetings from time to time and she’s every bit as fantastic as she seems.

      1. Lynn

        “She’s every bit as fantastic…”

        That is just awesome…she seems like such a lovely person.

      2. Stefan

        That’s wonderful to hear! Hope she’s still doing well.

      3. Beth

        Great to hear. I just watched the episode. I just had to know how she was doing. So glad it’s a happy ending.

  13. Shana

    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!

  14. Susan Cowles

    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….

  15. Cristal Grimes

    Such an amazing episode! Elana spirit is contagious!

  16. Irene

    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.

  17. Hope Veneziani

    How can we send letters and cards to Elana. She is a true inspiration.

  18. Marilyn

    I think Elena passed away. Her granddaughter Sarah just posted a picture on mother’s day of her with a little saying.

    1. Dizzy

      This video was also posted by Sarah on Mother’s Day, Elena is visible in it

      I think the grandmother she’s referring to in the other post might be a different one maybe? The pic doesn’t look like Elena.

      1. Marilyn

        Oh wow so glad you caught that thank you!

      2. Marilyn

        Yes you are right it is a different person. Thank you!

      3. Kathy

        That was Elena’s sister.

  19. Tazz

    That’s Cassandra, Elena’s partner who passed a few years back. That picture was shown on Elena’s episode ❤️

    1. Dizzy

      Oooh good eye Tazz! Thank you.

    1. Ness

      Thanks for sharing!

  20. Roberto

    My favorite episode of intervention!!!! Team Elena ! :))

  21. John

    I was really shocked to see her lie to her 100 year mom and that she had gotten $11,000 off her over two years.

  22. LK

    Elena is my all-time favorite. Her charisma is intoxicating! I really connected to her sense of humor and her individuality, and to her struggle with her family accepting her. It was so palpable when she said her family had never accepted her and then immediately after a clip was played of her daughter stating “I don’t understand her and I don’t accept her.” It almost made me angry; you don’t have to understand a person fully in order to accept them! And in her follow up when she talked about coming to terms with not needing external acceptance and just accepting herself for who she is, I LOVED that. I’m happy to hear she seems to be doing well, at least based on that article linked in these comments about her from last year. She deserves it! I think this episode and the Robyn/Robby episode are must-sees for lgbt people, as their struggles for social acceptance are so relatable and important. If anybody can send me a free streaming/video upload link for either of these episodes please do! (It used to be easy to find them for free but lots of streaming links get taken down.)

    1. Stefan

      Dailymotion has a lot of the episodes for free. Another great episode for LGBT+ people is Michelle/Felix.

      1. Xlio

        For some reason that’s the one I can’t find on daily. I’ll have to try a different search.

    2. stef

      This is the most recent info I was able to find on Elena. She was in a senior living facility at the time. (2020) IDK if she’s still there.

      Her FB page though she’s not been on in 5 years-at least what I’m able to view.

      Granddaughter Sarah’s FB…she looks great!

  23. L. Koehnen

    Elena a is no inspiration. She is now a freebie at Timber Ridge in Eureka ca and preys on other residents. She is still a drug addict and bully’and preys on other residents. And steals from those who are not of right mind. She has been extra privileges at that facility since intervention and is in the process of being convicted of assault on a resident family member

    1. Britt

      Do you have proof of this that’s so messed up!

  24. Robert

    Elena was a victim of her hateful daughter who always rejected her. She was a kind loving person. She was publicly shamed by her hurtful daughter. Elena was loved by many people wich made her daughter angry. She would say I don’t understand why so many people love my mom, she is a horrible person and drug addict. After the show and recovery they still had a terrible relationship. Basically she was exsploited on national television over hate. The producers knew the family history of mental illness. She lost custody of her son by kicking him out at 6 in front of the supervised visit agency. She destroyed the family! Elma stopped eating and died of a broken heart. Hopefully the ratings were worth all of the mental anguish and abuse. She furthermore attempted to have me in prison over lies. I hope Elena is still doing well. The boy the mom used to play on a&e emotions to help Elena was removed from her home over abuse. I didn’t realize she was the town Tart!

  25. Kelly

    I know addicts are responsible for the decisions they make. I can’t help but be so furious at how many awful parents essentially lead their children into lives that make them want to turn to drugs. How dare you adopt a child and not accept and support who they become.

    It’s such a shame that a parent would be that upset over who their child is attracted to. I don’t care if you’re religious, there’s no reason not to accept someone for being gay.

    I swear 75% of parents should have never had children. If you won’t accept a gay child, don’t have kids. As a parent myself I really cannot fathom being upset or sad over who my child chooses to love or be attracted to. There are so many worse things in life.

    It saddened me that none of the family chose to accept Elena for being gay. It saddens me that her 100 year old mother could only discuss her life being ruined by having a drug addicted daughter. Sure that’s sad, but maybe if she chose to just love and accept the DAUGHTER SHE CHOSE TO ADOPT she wouldn’t have turned to drugs. Again, I know addicts make their own choices.

    I’m happy to see Elena had done well. I hope she’s doing even better today.