Intervention: Codependent

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Intervention: Codependent TV Poster Image
Strong, no-nonsense doc about addiction, enabling.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Addiction, codependence go hand in hand. Sobriety requires acceptance of personal responsibility.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Wandzilak is caring, no-nonsense. Some addicts are selfish, while families can enable them.


Yelling, screaming, shoving, stealing, mostly addiction-induced.


Pseudo-romantic relationships a major theme; occasional strong innuendo.


"Hell," "damn"; curses bleeped.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

People drink, smoke, shoot up, overdose; all shown in context.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Intervention: Codependent, an installment of the Intervention franchise, contains very honest and explicit scenes of drug and alcohol abuse, toxic (and on occasion violent) relationships, and no-nonsense interventions and other sessions designed to teach individual accountability and encourage treatment. There's bleeped profanity and occasional strong innuendo, too. It's all offered within the context of showing the ugly realities of addiction and codependence, and it can help set the stage for important discussions, but it's not intended for young kids.

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What's the story?

INTERVENTION: CODEPENDENT, a spin-off of the Emmy award-winning docu-series Intervention, follows people who are in toxic, codependent relationships fueled by drug and alcohol addiction and the efforts made to encourage them to seek treatment. It features family interventionist Kristina Wandzilak, a recovering addict of more than 20 years who specializes in helping families deal with substance addiction and codependency, as she meets with the families of two alcohol and/or substance abusers whose lives are even more chaotic thanks to their bond with each other. As she works with family members to help them break the cycle of enabling their loved ones' destructive behavior, she also meets with the couples to make treatment recommendations. During a preplanned intervention, the codependent couples are asked to agree to rehab at separate facilities to begin their journey toward sobriety. It's up to each individual person to follow Wandzilak's recommendations and see them through. After a month, viewers meet up with the families again to see where they are in the process.

Is it any good?

The voyeuristic-but-straightforward, unsentimental series demonstrates how codependent relationships play a major role in people's addictions. It highlights how addicts build relationships with other addicts and rely on them to help reinforce each others' substance abuse. Furthermore, it shows how families, especially parents, are enabling their behavior by giving them money, paying for their shelter, and even doing their jobs, rather than holding them accountable for their own actions.

It's mostly focused on middle-class families and uses this to underscore how a person's substance abuse is often fueled by a sense of privilege and entitlement that is consistently reinforced by those around him or her. It also shows the tough choices people must make about who they spend their time with to focus on their sobriety. Overall, each family's story is an honest portrayal of -- and a cautionary tale about -- just how ugly addiction is, as well as the role that loved ones play in its cycle.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about addiction. What causes addiction? What are some constructive ways to help people who are addicted to alcohol, drugs, food, or bad relationships? Are some addictions worse than others? How does someone's addiction affect the people around them? How should people help someone in the throws of substance abuse without enabling their destructive behavior? If you or someone in your family shows signs of addiction, where can you turn for help?

  • This reality show shows what an addict's life is like, as well as how much damage he can do to himself and loved ones. Do these types of shows keep others from engaging in similar behaviors? Is it necessary to show people drinking excessively or doing drugs to make a point? Does it make it more voyeuristically entertaining?

TV details

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