Season 14, Episode 9
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Addiction: Heroin, meth
What’s memorable: What a tremendous amount of guilt and shame she carries with her everyday, mostly due it seems to her beloved grandmother facing her own imminent death from cancer head-on while Olivia escapes with drugs and avoids seeing her. I wonder how much that heavy shame started with the multiple instances of sexual abuse she suffered when she was a child, once by a chaplain at her church. She even feels the need to say “I didn’t do anything to lead him on” as if she’s had to convince herself of that. It’s all very sad, and she’s such a sweet and caring person, so full of love that the drugs are stopping her from expressing. It was such a relief to see her sober and doing well in treatment.
Official Synopsis: Olivia’s life was changed forever when she was repeatedly molested by a relative at age 11. Successive traumas into adulthood have led her to mask her emotional pain by injecting a dangerous combination of heroin and meth. Meanwhile, her grandmother is ill with stage 4 cancer–and the family worries they’ll lose both their loved ones.
Original Air Date: July 2015
Can’t help but mention that the city is spelled Bellevue, Washington.
Thanks for putting this post up, Dizzy. Olivia’s story was a pretty powerful and memorable one in its own right, it was just kinda overshadowed by Matthew and his own crazy ride.
That episode in general was interesting to me, in that both addicts were relatively young and came from deeply religious families. Olivia, for her part, seemed to have found (or rediscovered) peace with it, vis-a-vis her own recovery.
Agreed. I have a category called ” Religious Family” which is addicts whose upbringing in a deeply religious family likely served as their addiction trigger. I’m always surprised when addicts from families like that see religion as their comfort and not a trigger. Like Tiffany, who continued to have a relationship with the church throughout her addiction and who went back into missionary work once she was sober. Same with Olivia – I was fascinated by her stating that she was at her best and happiest when she had a relationship with God, even though she was betrayed by a chaplain. I’m guessing this all depends on a lot on the family though. Seems like many of the families who were very religious didn’t deal with a certain aspect of the addict’s issues very well (being abused, being gay) and would point to religion as the reason why they couldn’t accept it. (Tamela, Richard, Chris, Tressa, Gabe). So it’s not being from a religious family per se, it’s how their family uses religion to distance themselves from the addict, and therefore the addict distances themselves from the religion. It’s interesting.
Some people say religion is the opiate for the masses, so it makes sense that the parents would use their “drug” to distance themselves from the molestations of their children. I imagine it’s too painful for their psyches to admit that they failed to protect their babies, so they use religion as a shield.
Just a weirdos opinion though. No offence to any religion intended. It’s all the same. We’re all just trying to feel loved and safe.
So does anyone know the status of Olivia? Did she stay clean? Obviously I hope so.
Here’s Olivia’s FB (most recent post is from July): https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000322998354
Looks like she’s clean and sober!
On the show it didn’t seem like her addiction had really progressed yet. She definitely wasn’t as bad as some of the others on the show (ie: she spent $350 a week for heroin and meth). Some on the show are spending like 1200-1400 weekly just on drugs. So I feel like she was definitely at a good point to be intervened on.
I was in treatment with Olivia in March-April 2019, after she had a relapse. We have spoken and been to meetings together since and as far as I know she is and has been clean and sober since.
Oh god this episode had me sobbing!! When she phones her mom to say I’m sorry then the next scene she’s drifting off on the bus! The shame she feels knowing her grandparents will notice she’s been using and the pain she feels knowing she’s killing herself while her nans fighting to live! Oh my god. Been betrayed and abused by two people she was meant to be able to trust, absolutely heartbreaking! Her family are so lovely bless them. What a beautiful soul I really hope she has stayed sober and most importantly has found happiness and peace.
Dizzy- I think it was a chaplain from the Christian school that made a pass at Olivia, not from her church. Just watched the episode this afternoon