There's a reason [artist id="2389485"]DJ AM[/artist] had a knowing look on his face when he met 23-year-old heroin addict Amy in the first episode of the late celebrity DJ's MTV intervention program, "Gone Too Far." He'd been there himself, and that's why he signed on to host the eight-part series that kicked off on Monday night with the harrowing tale of the fellow Philly native whose descent into heroin addiction had nearly cost her her life and her family.
From age 19 until his mid-20s, AM (born Adam Goldstein) tells Amy, he had been where she is and he wants to help Amy get clean so she can avoid the pain caused by her own father, who was also a heroin addict and died as a result of his drug use. The show, which has the blessing of AM's family following his death in August from an accidental drug overdose, shows the DJ driving around his old hometown and meeting with Amy's family, who called him for help with her out-of-control drug use.
"Heroin has destroyed my life," Amy tells the camera in the show's first scene, which is followed by a meeting between AM and Amy's younger sister, Meghan. Meghan laments that though they used to be inseparable, once Amy began using heroin, "all of a sudden she was gone." Meghan described how the girls' dad — a lifelong addict who sometimes walked into the room with a needle sticking out of his neck — died when they were kids, and how she fears Amy is going down the same path. Older brother Joe tells an equally sordid tale, describing how Amy has stolen his children's baseball cards and thousands of dollars in cash from him to feed her addiction, forcing him to install a sequence of locks in the family's house to keep his sister from robbing him.
With a calm, caring demeanor that clearly puts them at ease, AM sympathizes with Amy's family while strongly pushing them to get her into a proper treatment program. "I can't cure addiction, but what I can do is offer Amy a chance at a different life," AM says into the camera before meeting Amy. He tells her about his own father's death from AIDS after a lifetime of drug abuse and how it threw him into a drug spiral.
Showing off the red, swollen injection sites on her hands, Amy breaks down. "It just sucks, because I know I'm better than this, that I used to be a good person, and I don't want to live like this the rest of my life," she ways, admitting that she knows her using will either land her in jail or in a grave.
"I promise you, you can be freed of that," AM tells her. "Because I swear to you there is another life."
After meeting with Amy's family, AM stages the intervention at the family's house, during which Amy is clearly uncomfortable about the idea of entering a treatment program. Though the trip to the California facility is a difficult one — an agitated Amy lashes out about not getting a chance to get high one more time and insists that a friend bring her some drugs before she boards an airplane — she does eventually agree to give rehab a try. Like many addicts detoxing at a facility, Amy wants to leave in the first few days and obsesses over thoughts of getting high again. She complains about the pain in her teeth — she needs five root canals — that she says is driving her to want to use again.
AM visits after Amy's first five days and is amazed at how bright-eyed she looks after less than a week. Following a trip to the dentist, an elated Amy returns to rehab for 40 days, during which she receives counseling and medical treatment, eventually moving to a sober living house outside the facility after nearly 50 days. When AM visits her at the sober house, along with her mother and sister, the family marvels at what a difference the trip to rehab has made.
"Now she's back all the way," Meghan says.
"I'm proud of you," AM tells her, handing Amy a customized iPod that has the inscription "don't pawn me" as well as some of his signature mixes. "It makes me so happy to see this. You're like a family again."
The episode ends seven weeks after AM and Amy's first meeting, as Amy praises AM for reaching out to a stranger and giving her a second chance at life. "He understood that I was in a circle that was way too deep," she says. "He didn't pass judgment on me, and he just took me underneath his wing and he helped me through the tough times that I had here. ... I never had anyone that didn't know me that well care that much about me."
Speaking following AM's death, Amy vows to keep his name alive. "You did help and touch lives," she says. "I want to make you proud. I don't want to throw this gift away."
For more information on how to get help for addiction, visit Think.MTV.com.