Kristina Wandzilak's personal crusade against California's coastal drug culture brought her to Alissa, a heroin and meth addict whose use started in her tween years. Describing addiction as her full-time job, Alissa was unprepared for Kristina's businesslike take on recovery.
The footage of Alissa shooting up and nodding-off started early on in the episode, showing the physical manifestation of addiction. Black dots constellate her limbs, scabbing over to remind her of each high. Her number of usable veins, for injection and circulatory function, is dwindling as each day cycles in déjà vus of highs and incoherence.
As with all interventions, Alissa's is a family affair. Alissa's little brother is himself a recovered addict, and her current boyfriend uses alongside her. Her loved ones feel she is nearly beyond redemption, but they knowingly enable her, providing her with rent money and willingly playing into her frequent store-return scams. For Kristina to help Alissa, the whole family must help themselves, and furthermore must feel what Alissa is feeling. A mandate against any mind or mood altering substances for the period Alissa is initially refused outright by Alissa's father, a kindly 70-something who hates to see his baby girl dying, but hates to lose his nightly brewski just as much.
After the family consents to participate, even minimally, Alissa can enter rehab. The ups and downs of her time there are familiar to any other addict's story. She doesn't wanna go! She can do it on her own! She's quit before! Somehow she manages to convince her therapists and specialists that she can do it outside of a supervised program, and promises to enter treatment after she has detoxed. Kristina realizes that the major problem at home will be the home itself: the whole household of inequity created by two addicts living communally. Kristina shines as usual when she lays down the law to Alissa's boyfriend. While he's on heroin, he is the biggest threat to Alissa's recovery; no one can expect sustained sobriety that early on in the face of temptation. Alissa has to break it off with the loser, and Kristina is happy to do it for her.
Eliminating the ties to her former life, Kristina has given Alissa a powerful gift. In erasing her past, Alissa is allowed a real future. Addicts can't understand what is best for them, and can see their world in moral opposites, but Kristina feels for them. She's always happy to remind her clients that she's been there herself, and look at the success through emotional death she's achieved! Kristina may not get into any touchy-feely talk, but the addicts don't deserve that anyway. Compassion disguised as pity is the surest route to failure in recovery. The family reunion is the first milestone in Alissa's sobriety. It is another gift from Kristina and a realization of true joy for the relations. Knowing how much they owe the interventionist, understanding what they could have lost, they cannot thank Kristina enough. True to unfeeling form, a curt "you're welcome" as the addicts' angel's blessing.