Twenty-something Allison liked to huff Dust-Off (8-10 cans a day), starve herself, self-mutilate and visit her married boyfriend in motels. He gave her enough cash to sustain her jet-set lifestyle, which left her hovering between the cleaning products aisle of her local Walgreens where she was frequently discovered slumped over with a spray can in her mouth. Huffing Dust-Off, she admitted to the camera, made her feel like she was “walking on sunshine”—even wandering through a graveyard, Allison can be heard murmuring to herself in wonder, “This place is so beautiful!” Then Intervention fucked up her whole routine, got her cats snatched away and had Allison admitted to the psych ward before she reluctantly agreed to go into treatment. Since her episode aired, Allison has cleaned up in California (her sobriety date is May 7th 2008), gone from brunette to blonde, and seems to have taken internet fame in stride, demonstrating a great sense of humor about her past. “I was ridiculous!” she giggles. Yes, you were Allison, but you dumped the Dust Off, got your shit together, and helped a lot of people in the process. Did we mention that you look fabulous as a blonde?
Former boxing champ Rocky Lockridge’s intervention made it into our Top 10 simply because it was one of the saddest Goddamn episodes ever. No one could ever forget Rocky’s howl of pure animal pain when his estranged son Lamar, who refused to see him for 15 years, turned up at his intervention testifying to some troubling truths. And now, of course, his cry has been immortalized on youtube, featuring several different versions with various hip-hop or R&B background tracks for public enjoyment. Rocky had it all: a world championship title, a cute set of twin boys, a shitload of money and a loving wife, but alcohol and coke led to a domestic violence arrest, and he soon slipped into homelessness and crack addiction, abandoning his family and his former glory for a life on the street. Rocky’s story is a weepy. He agreed to go to treatment voluntarily, but later admitted that his ego stood in the way of his recovery. He discharged himself after 90 days, moved in with a sober friend and started to rebuild his relationship with his twin sons. Rocky has been sober since November 9th 2009 and we’re hoping he stays in the ring.
Outspoken, blunt and sardonic, Laney certainly didn’t mince words. She was a millionaire boozer who thought nothing of forking over 10 grand to drive her cat cross country in a limo, knocking around her mammoth mansion all day, swilling endless rum and Cokes while calling up family members to inform them their relationship was over. Admittedly, even when she was dead drunk, Laney displayed a pretty feisty attitude. She snarled at her husband to “bite me” when he got into her face, and threatened to sue the crap out of the Intervention crew before swallowing a bunch of sleeping pills on camera and ending up in a hospital bed shaking with DT’s, convinced that her mom had poisoned her. After a record-setting five-hour intervention stand-off, Laney negotiated entry to a treatment center only if the rehab allowed her and her cat “Puddy” to limo it over there. After two days, she fled, but miraculously found God after a long convo with the limo driver—and apparent Pentecostalist counselor—who chauffeured her back to Kansas. Apparently this was exactly what she needed, because Laney claims to have remained sober, without a treatment center, but with the aid of her “Christian family,” since June 2, 2007. Still, that was quite a while ago and we haven’t heard much from her since. Here’s hoping she and Puddy are still living in the light!
Lawrence’s story was among the most heartbreaking of the series: his was the first death in a show that boasts a 75% recovery rate amongst its participants. A good-looking, charismatic, intelligent entrepreneur who founded a chain of tanning salons in Vegas, Lawrence’s alcohol addiction started when the FDA took GHB—a dangerous sedative used in OTC health products and favored by bodybuilders—off the market. What was so poignant and tragic about Lawrence’s episode is how deeply his denial was entrenched. Covered in scary-looking bruises and unable to shave himself or cut up his own food, Lawrence still insisted he only had “one or two drinks a day, and not every day.” Because he’d looked after everyone around him his entire life, he was unable to accept that he needed help. Though he eventually agreed to go to treatment, he was asked to leave after 30 days, relapsed three weeks later and, two months after that, on February 22 2008, died of esophageal bleeding—a common result of cirrhosis. Soon after, hundreds of message boards across the internet testified to how well-loved Lawrence was. However funny, hilarious or ridiculous we might find certain episodes of Intervention, Lawrence is a reminder that this is a series which deals—literally—with life and death.
Angelina (Season 5, Episode 9/Addiction: Heroin, Xanax and Oxycontin)
There was no question that beautiful, bright Angelina had a problem: after the break up of her family over a large inheritance and her mom’s consequent slide into cocaine addiction, Angelina was appointed legal guardian of her younger brother. After her brother moved out, Angelina managed to blow all $450,000 of her trust fund on Oxy and heroin. What made her episode so memorable was not her slo-mo face plant into a bowl of cereal, how she punched her bloody arm repeatedly with a needle trying to find a hidden vein, or even the sight of her anxiously waiting by the mail box for her trust fund check to arrive. No, the episode’s memorable scene was the sight of Angelina wrestling with mom, Peggy, after she became convinced that Peggy had heisted her heroin. As it turned out, Angelina was right, and Peggy’s sly relapse was revealed. Soon after, both mother and daughter were carted off to separate rehabs. According to A&E, after a brief relapse, Angelina has been sober for over a year. She now lives in California and is engaged to be married. Her mom, Peggy, is also sober.
When he was much, much younger, Gabe shone as a gifted math prodigy. But as he grew into his twenties and thirties, his escalating gambling addiction literally drove his parents out of their house: the couple was forced to sell their longtime residence to pay off their 30-year-old son’s mounting gambling debts. But even this sacrifice wasn’t enough to mollify greedy Gabe. “You’re diabolical!” he bellowed at poor mom and dad, who was convinced that parents are responsible for their kids—well, forever. On the show, Gabe came off as a manipulative sociopath as well as a genius, but his intelligence and people-managing skills were clearly wasted in casinos that weren’t nearly as forgiving as his mom and dad. His parents eventually staged an intervention; alas, Gabe cut it off abruptly and refused to go into treatment. He did, however, make a brief and, uh, interesting reappearance in Intervention Season 1: Then and Now, performing a bizarre rap song intended to teach math to high school kids. Since 2005, Gabe has worked as a medical technical writer and a tutor. He continues to gamble and his parents continue to give him financial support.
Aaron (Season 7, Episode 3/Addiction: Crystal Meth and Sex Addiction)
Let’s face it, if the porn industry is looking for a spokesman, it won’t be Aaron Brink. Not long ago, Aaron, a good-looking MMA champion, had everything: a bit of notoriety, a great fighting career and a beautiful wife, Vanessa. But at the height of his career, he oddly accepted an offer to appear in porn films under the name of “Dick Delaware.” “I was born for porn,” he bragged, not realizing how tragic this sounded. Especially after he recounted how his porn association led to his addiction to crystal meth, and a time-consuming sex addiction as well that led him to masturbate 10-12 hours a day, in turn destroying his promising fighting career, and forcing his wife to start working in porn in order to support them and bail him out of jail. After Vanessa staged a desperate intervention, Aaron reluctantly agreed to check into the Pasadena Recovery Center for 90 days, but relapsed three weeks later. Finally, a frustrated Vanessa threw him out, and concentrated on pursuing a career in art. Aaron now insists he hasn’t touched meth since the day of his intervention—December 10th, 2008—and has relapsed only on alcohol and marijuana. He resumed professional fighting in February 2010.
“When I see her stroll in soaking wet, smelling like two weeks' old funk, she looks like a crackhead, and that's what she is,” cried Lorna’s daughter, Celeste. By that point, it mattered little to anyone that 52-year-old Lorna used to be a popular a dancer on Soul Train and backed up for the Tina Turner and Ike show in Vegas before moving into a great job at A&M records—all by the age of 21. Behind closed doors, the young, attractive, talented, married young mother was addicted to crack—and it didn’t take long before she lost everything. The most heartbreaking moment in the episode was when she tearfully revealed how she smoked rock throughout her pregnancy, causing her son, Rashad, to be born an addict. Despite her guilt, Lorna couldn’t seem to stop her addiction, which had spanned over 30 years. Eventually, however, her family’s pleading finally convinced Lorna to go to rehab and then to a sober living house in LA. A&E confirms that she’s been sober since April 27 2010 and continues to rebuild relations with her kids.
“I’m a princess,” admits Kim—and boy is she ever. A 34-year-old infantilized by her own self-pity, Kim cries, throws tantrums, has hissy fits, lies in bed for days making her mom give her foot massages, loses her job for calling in sick four times in two weeks, and pisses off everyone in her life. Her husband can’t stand it, and eventually leaves her with her parents for two weeks—and never comes back. At one point, she revels in the idea of shooting her entire family with a silencer—yup, Kim’s a princess with rage. Excessive exercising, laxative abuse, starving and binging have taken their toll on Kim, but in an effort to pretend everything’s fine, she plays up to the camera, and sits down to eat dinner with her bewildered family who admit it’s the first time in years she’s made the effort. Eventually, Kim agrees to deal with her anorexia and co-dependency issues, gains 16 pounds in treatment, and emerges as a beautiful girl with a burgeoning sense of humor.
Cristy (Season 2, Episode 13/Addiction: Alcohol and Crystal Meth)
Alcoholic, tweaker, stripper, Satanist and overall bat-shit crazy: Cristy liked to sprint through her neighborhood, naked and barefoot, chasing after her terrified sister. She threw debris at the cameramen, hung out outside liquor stores convincing pervy dudes to buy her vodka, and lived in a scary place decorated with a complex series of numbers—a formula of “positive plus positive minus negative cancels out positive” which somehow helped convince her she was God. When finally confronted, she pelted mild-mannered interventionist Ken Sealy with Lifesavers, shrieked that everyone in her family was just jealous of the good time she was having, and threatened to "whip some Matrix shit out" during her intervention. Though she ultimately chose 90 days in county jail over a two years stint in rehab, fear not! Cristy is now clean—and according to her myspace page, has turned to God. Wait, we thought she was God? If ever there was a cautionary tale for the long-term damage meth can induce upon the psyche, it is Cristy’s story. But we still love her. From a very, very safe distance.