Meet the World's Most Famous Interventionist

Meet the World's Most Famous Interventionist - Page 3

By Sacha Z. Scoblic 12/18/12

In her seven years on Intervention, Candy Finnigan has seen it all. In this exclusive interview, she explains how her own intervention brought her to where she is today.

No candy-coater Photo via

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Did you have an intervention?

Yes, my mother-in-law. I got sober the first time my mother-in-law opened her mouth. She told me that she would take my kids away from me. I’m adopted. Somebody’s going to take my kids away from me? It was the one thing that was promised me all my years of growing up: Nobody’s coming to get you. You’re ours. When she said she would take my kids away, I thought, “Over my dead body.” She gave me a certain amount of time to get it together. I believed her. I never doubted her—nor would anybody. She was six-foot-one, and a social worker, and the bailiff, and the welfare investigator, and the divorce investigator in this small county. I thought, “I believe her.” That’s how I got sober. Why I've stayed sober is because I knew from this intervening on me that, if I started drinking again, I just really knew that she would come and snatch these kids in a second.

That’s how I got sober. Intervention? Yes. I think so.

How did you become an interventionist?

I was a stay-at-home mom. The girl across the street said to me, “I got a great idea! Let’s go to UCLA and get our addiction certifications.” I went, “What?” She had been a pretty successful actress. She had never gone back to college. She really wanted a career. I thought: “Am I really going to go to work?” My kids were getting older, I didn’t know what I’d do. I was guided by a power greater than myself—and she just happened to be my neighbor! 

If I represent something, it’s that a loud broad from Kansas is able to quietly sit with the family and say to them, “I understand how you feel.”

I never ever imagined that this life would ever be possible. Intervention was the first documentary-based reality show. I love it. I watch it every week; it has a tremendous amount of power. At one point, there were like two million people that watched this show, and that’s a lot of people who want to look at other people’s misery and learn from it. I'm enamored with all the people we’ve been able to help.

Is it your life’s work?

It is my life’s work. I don’t do this alone. I have 15 minutes before every single intervention, where I sit quietly within myself and listen to the guidance that I need to be able to go in there and be strong and give these people hope. I don’t do anything other than represent recovery and absolutely represent hope. Love and religion have nothing to do with drug addiction. You can love somebody to death, because I’ve watched it over and over again. You can’t pray somebody well. You can’t heal them. 

If I represent something, it’s that a loud broad from Kansas is able to quietly sit with the family and say to them, “I understand how you feel.” It suddenly doesn’t have so much to do with me. It has to do with the power greater than myself. I really believe that. This isn’t the life I chose; it chose me. 

Sacha Z. Scoblic is the author of Unwasted and a Carter fellow for mental health journalism. She has written about Bob Forrest and the struggle for the new super painkiller, among other topics, for The Fix.