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Season 22 Episode 1

Susan
Age: 32
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Addiction: Heroin

Official Synopsis: Susan grew up in a devoutly Mormon household. As an adult, she suffered a back injury and was prescribed OxyContin. Not only did the medication ease her back pain, it also numbed the memories of her turbulent family upbringing and a recent breakup. She became addicted, and when her doctor stopped prescribing them, she turned to heroin.

What’s Memorable: The arms. The unbelievably toxic parents, their next level enabling. The bible on the bed between mother and daughter as they smoke heroin & meth and talk about the Heavenly Father.  The dad who can’t answer a question. Ken’s total exasperation. The eye appointment (“I AM CHOOSING MY EYE!”) The video call at the end when Dawn asks her sober and thriving daughter “um what do you mean by that, ‘boundaries’?” and Susan tells the camera that she knew in that moment that her mom hasn’t changed at all – it was like the twist ending of a thriller movie, actually gave me chills. And made me very grateful to not have someone like that in my life anymore. So toxic, so ugly.

All that said, I have questions. The interventionists have said repeatedly in the past that they don’t continue when the subjects find out about what’s going on. (I’ve argued that that isn’t actually true, but regardless, they do still say that). I’m honestly not sure as to why Ken & the producers continued with this one, other than it was by that point shaping up to be a shocking(!) episode with all the big gripping reveals and mystery basement dwellers, and they simply didn’t want to lose it. And when it became clear that Dawn and Susan knew that this was Intervention and had already been preparing to go to treatment, I got  suspicious about their motives. They supposedly had plenty of money and didn’t need free treatment, and they had seemingly decided they were going already, so why were they even pretending that they didn’t know what was coming? What were Dawn and Chuck getting out of this? Why did he tell them, or was it Dawn’s idea all along? Seems like something else was going on here, some plan that we weren’t privy to. Anyway, between the manipulative, shady AF parents and Ken continuing the intervention instead of reasonably pulling the plug on the whole thing, I feel like this whole situation was just…off. Doesn’t sit right.

Interventionist: Ken
Date Aired: March 15, 2021

Comments
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Comments

  1. Emily

    I don’t even know where to start about this episode. It was so chaotic.

    1. Gracey

      You got that right. What a nightmare. Poor Susan. Those arms… Several observations: (1) People can call themselves ‘ducks’ but they’re still people; these people call themselves ‘Mormons’ but they don’t live the teachings of the church, starting with don’t abuse your children or call them names for being overweight & don’t use any drugs ~ not even caffeine ~ except as prescribed. (2) Taking strong painkillers as prescribed does NOT lead to addiction; patients can become physically dependent over time, but unless the dose keeps getting raised, patients are not addicted; a physical dependence is easy resolved by tapering off a drug when it’s no longer needed. (3) Addicts often say they got hooked on pain pills, but the only way that happens is if they start taking pills for how they feel emotionally rather than as directed for pain. I feel so sorry for the people in this episode. How does a person get SO screwed up?

  2. AMA

    Right away, I noticed how the interviews of Susan’s family were really compassionate towards her. They didn’t sound like people who had been on the periphery of watching someone destroy themselves. I thought that was odd, and it only clicked in response to uncovering just how deeply dysfunction runs in that family. I have to wonder—who called for the intervention? It had to have been Jessica, the only one from that family who seemed remotely healthy in the episode. I hope Susan makes it, but I think doing so depends on permanently severing contact with her parents.

    I thought Ken looked worn out in the episode, but given how things developed, it’s not surprising. All in all, his work was incredible. Who knew his easiest task would be getting Susan to go to treatment? She was really just a likable person who wanted to change and was ready. Given the scope, I can’t blame Ken for declaring Susan’s family the sickest, most dysfunctional family he’s seen in over 20 years of doing this. I think the show should have sent in some of the other interventionists (Candy would have been incredible at handling Susan’s mother, I think, and possibly Sylvia or Seth for Julie) and it could have been a cool way to kick off the season, but mostly I think that entire debacle was just too much to put on any one interventionist’s shoulders.

    1. April

      I agree with you about Ken. He did extremely well being alone. But, a few times I was like Ken, you’re losing them. You’re losing it. You need backup. But, the editing seemed a lot more choppy this episode. So there may have been more interventionists we didn’t see. Since Ken does have his own treatment centers.

    2. Ann

      I’m confused about the brother Nathan. When Chuck was backed into a corner about revealing the intervention, he said Nathan told Susan and Dawn. I don’t believe anything Chuck says, as he seems like a delusional liar, but it was strange that nobody asked Nathan about it. I was also struck by how many times Ken said that Susan had no hope of sobriety if she came back to the house with her family still using. I would think her coming back to the house at all would be out of the question if she wanted to remain sober (and sane). It was strange that it was just assumed that she would return to the house after treatment.

      1. Alfred Feoli

        maybe it was a way to at least get them on the path of sobriety. Once they start the rehab and actually commit to them, they should realize how bad it would be to return there.

  3. Rob

    I’ve seen every episode a dozen times and I don’t remember ever seeing someone as physically damaged then when Susan pulled the bandages off her arm. Jesus Christ. I haven’t even finished the episode yet (another 35 minutes to go) but this is hands-down one of the most shocking ones ever. In so many ways.

    1. Ann

      Courtney from last season had a shocking wound on her leg, but Susan’s arms take the cake for most horrifying drug-related injury, I think. I hope the scars she is left with remind her to never use again, but then again she didn’t seem very concerned about her wounds while she was still using. I wish the best for her. She seems about as level-headed as you can be with the parents she has.

  4. Laura

    I don’t even know what to say regarding this. Never have seen a parent use on camera with there kid. I know dawn suffers from bipolar and borderline personality disorder which may explain her behavior to a certain extent but smoking meth is not the way to handle it. I’m glad Susan was so agreeable to go and her brother Daniel also went to treatment. I wish the best for Susan truly. She looked amazing at the end. Not really surprised that dawn relapsed shortly after getting out I think she uses meth as a excuse to help with her issues.

  5. Melissa

    This episode was wild. Talk about family addiction, this is definitely a memorable one. If i were Susan I would stay as far away from that family as i could. If she gets anywhere near her mother again she will relapse. Her siblings Daniel and Julie need to do the same. None of them will stay clean if they dont stay away from their mother.

  6. Stormie

    I found myself holding my breathe like I was in the room with them. It was a shit show but Ken kept his cool and thank goodness they all, at the least, have sober time and therapy in their lives.

  7. Tyler

    Ken did a phenomenal job of maneuvering the incessant obstacles thrown at him in this episode. I have so much respect for him. I don’t know how he kept his cool when Chuck was trying to gaslight him!

    Susan: I have a lot of hope for her. She seems like she has embraced recovery and has no hesitation about putting in the work. She needs to stay very far away from her family to remain successful.

    Dawn: It’s hard for me to feel sympathy for her. Mental illness is definitely at the root of her addiction, and that’s not her fault. But her manipulation and constant need to keep her kids sick made me dislike her.

    1. Pang

      Dawn is such a classic borderline…I think it must be one of the hardest personality disorders to both treat and live with.

  8. Ann

    I noticed that Chuck said he would only make the minimum payments on the credits cards so that they remained maxed out if Dawn refused treatment. I thought that was interesting, given they seemed to be very comfortable money-wise. I speculated that maybe they’re deep in debt and were hoping for free treatment for the multiple addicts.
    This was truly the most bizarre episode I’ve ever seen. The twists just kept coming. Dawn terrifies me. I really don’t think there is any hope for her, and I hope her children set hard boundaries for her, or cut her out completely.

    1. Dizzy

      Hmmm, good point. You could be right about secretly being in debt and wanting free treatment. That would explain a lot actually.

    2. Rob

      I agree with you about Dawn. I said it to a friend last night – she seemed like a lost cause. I hate to give up on anyone with addiction issues, but her meth use was only in the last couple of years, and by all accounts from her family, she’s had issues with mental health for decades. She was cruel, manipulative, argumentative…there’s no way she’d ever heed the advice of any doctor or a loved one.

      1. Stefan

        Sadly Borderline Personality Disorder can be impossible to recover from, and can be a black hole to treat.

    3. Sara

      I thought that was interesting too. I took it as if he paid the whole balance she could just get cash advances from a zero balance. Keeping it maxed would only allow her low to no amounts to be able to do that. His strategy made me think he’s learned his lesson with that.

  9. blarinna

    I work as a substance abuse therapist and I’ve never seen anything like this family…. also curious as to why they wanted free treatment. The comment below by Ann posts a good theory about them being in debt — it makes sense considering Chuck doesn’t work anymore but supports all of their habits. But then why move into a whole house by himself? Why not just stop funding 4 addicts — 5 including the friend. Something is really strange there.

    1. Sudie

      Many of the clinics they feature on the show seem to be quite expensive, and health insurance (if any is to be had) doesn’t always have the greatest coverage for actual 90 day rehab.

  10. Alfred Feoli

    I feel like only certain family members should know about the intervention. Would change some things about the format but still. For the families who reach out for this, they probably know which family members would make it hard to keep it a secret. Telling them only at the pre intervention.

  11. Aaron

    Old Intervention: participant has agreed to be in a documentary about addiction but doesn’t know they will soon face an intervention but producer does

    New intervention: participant has agreed to be in a documentary about addiction and knows they will soon face an intervention but don’t know that the producer knows they know and still go through with it.

    Oh wow, there were so many curveballs thrown at us in this episode that I lost count how many times my jaw dropped to the floor. And the way the matriarch rationalizes that “Heavenly Father” actually condones her smoking meth while she lovingly watches her daughter doing heroin? Blasphemous Heavenly son!

    By the way, the patriarch of the family is Chuck Kroegel and has a multilingual Wikipedia article to his name: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Kroegel

    1. Lhamo55

      Thanks for the link. Shame: all that hard work and all he has to show for it is a house full of delusion and addicts, including his personality disordered wife, and a crushing mountain of related debt. I wish them all the best..

  12. Sadie

    So, I also have BPD and I was blown away at how bad Dawn was in her mood swings. The over-attachment to Susan. The total split on Chuck over the phone thing. The manipulative victim complex. Her outburst over the eye appointment and her ridiculous behavior was almost like a caricature of the disorder. I was creeped out at the end with Dawn still having no boundaries with Susan and trying to bring up such a horrific situation as a fond memory because she’s so attached. I really hope Susan keeps her at a large distance.

  13. Stefan

    I’ve had a busy week and forgot there was a new episode. I finally came onto the site and saw the plethora of comments and knew this was going to be a crazy episode. My God it didn’t disappoint to say the least. Dizzy your post sums up my thoughts succinctly so I don’t have much else to add, except for that this is another example of how extreme religiosity can destroy lives (especially Mormonism, as we’ve seen on this show multiple times), not only in terms of addiction, but also murder, as we saw with the Atlanta shootings this past week.

  14. Courtney

    Did anyone else notice the hoarding going on in Dawn’s room? And on the bed? She exhibits textbook Borderline behavior, and when she was losing control, you could totally tell.

  15. Pang

    SO glad this episode is up here now. It wasn’t when I watched the episode, and I was just like, omg, this is the episode to end all episodes- must discuss!!

  16. Jon

    Wow. You can totally see the law of Karma at work with Chuck, he used to yell at them and order them around, and now Susan and Dawn were ordering him around and getting him to get groceries and make up. Truly God is not mocked, we reap what we sow.

  17. Sara

    The nurse in me cringed when she ripped that dressing off of her arms and just slapped a clean one on. No normal saline, no wound wash, no non adhesive dressings. I know this was the least of her worries but it was so hard to watch because I just wanted to fix it.

    1. P

      Lol. I said the SAME thing. I’m an ICU RN and it made me CRINGE!!! She probably doesn’t have NS at the house but at the very least wet it with some water. And cleanse it before re-wrapping! Something 😩 Walmart has all types of NS products for piercings and whatnot. I just shook my head. That’s also probably why she’s hurting so much. She’s just ripping off the granulation tissue.

  18. Lori anne

    It’s easy to judge someone when you don’t know why their behavior is the way it is. Maybe Chuck lost his mother at a very young age. Maybe his father soon married a malignant narcissist which later resulted in a young man handling emotions the way he was taught -with anger. Besides anger, maybe scapegoats of narcissists cause their victims to become people pleasers. Maybe studies have proven that these victimized children grow up to marry natcissists, aka users, also.

  19. Sudie

    Hopefully, Susan can stay sober and strong. I fear that Dawn, however, won’t. Between her age and the borderline personality disorder, it will be difficult.

  20. Kitty Katt

    My mouth dropped when I saw Susan on the bed and her mother right next to her getting out a baggie of heroin to give to her. My mouth stayed permanently open when I saw the mother pull out a glass pipe from under the pillow and started smoking meth. My mouth has yet to shut from last week’s episode…lol. You just can’t make this shit up…..or can you? LOL.

    1. Stefan

      It’s definitely one to add to the most shocking/disturbing/memorable episodes lists.

    2. Lhamo55

      You forgot the Bible on the bed between them.. I just can’t imagine what level of religious guilt inducing mind-diddling was being practiced.

  21. Kayte

    My mouth was literally dropped, yelling OMG the entire episode! I couldn’t believe it! The mom and 3 of her kids!! She needs serious help!

  22. Morgan

    The best work I’ve seen from an interventionist on this show. Ken did the work of 5 interventionists. He deserves an Emmy for this episode.

  23. Gigi

    In spite of her horrific addiction Susan’s kindness and vulnerability really shone through. I really found myself wanting to hug her. I was so proud to learn that she completed her program and cut her mother off.

    1. Xlio

      I agree! You could tell she was a kind soul with a lot of trauma. And getting injured, it’s pretty quick and easy for not just your mind but your body to get dependent. Her mother was something else. She doesn’t seem willing to fully change or maybe she just needs longer treatment – if she is willing to give it her all. I’m glad she cut her mother off

  24. Rinna

    I’ve been a long time follower of intervention and posting on this site. This episode was absolutely insane. The more and more addicts coming up, the mom when she first smoked that pipe in front of her daughter, and the worst case of enabling that I think has ever graced this show.

    This was a shit show. This episode seemed more about the drama than about helping the addict, but in the end she got sober so…that’s what matters, right?