Breaking Amish's Sabrina Burkholder Nearly Died of Heroin Overdose: 'My Heart Had Stopped Beating'
Sabrina Burkholder, star of TLC’s Breaking Amish, has revealed she recently suffered a near-fatal heroin overdose.
The mother of two, 32, opened up to her fans on Facebook in a lengthy post that detailed her relapse in June during an outing with boyfriend Jethro Nolt.
“A few days before my 32nd birthday, almost 2 months ago, Jethro and I were with our friend Sean in York County, PA. I was almost a year clean from heroin. For whatever reason that day, I was in a mood. We all were,” the from Lancaster native wrote in her Aug. 3 post.
According to Burkholder, Sean “handed me a capful of [heroin]” for her birthday. “I remember feeling very weird and that was my last [conscious] thought. Half an hour later I woke up surrounded by paramedics. … I was suddenly hit with memories of what happened when I was dead. Yes, dead,” she recalled.
Burkholder, who also appears on the TLC spinoff Return to Amish, described the emotional state both Sean and Jethro were in after they realized she no longer had a pulse.
“Sean did CPR on me and kept on going even after my heart had stopped beating. … Sean and Jethro both told me later that Sean tried to stop after he realized I was gone, but Jethro kept screaming at him to keep on going and wouldn’t let him stop giving me CPR,” Burkholder recalled.
“Heaven is for real. If you had ever told me before that I would die of a heroin overdose and go to heaven I would have laughed in your face. But I did. I saw my biological grandmother and my biological mom,” she said.
Burkholder attributes her survival to Narcan, the emergency medication intended to reverse the effects of a narcotic overdose. (The same drug was used on Demi Lovato when she suffered an overdose on July 24.)
“They had to Narcan me twice to bring me back. They only had 2 Narcan on them; had I needed another, I wouldn’t be here,” she said. “That experience shook me to my core and forced me to look at the s—-y person I’ve allowed myself to become.”
Burkholder also revealed that she has entered rehab and would go “off the map” to focus on recovery.
“After this, you will not hear from me for a long time,” she said.
Just a month before her June relapse, Burkholder had told her Facebook followers how TLC producers were helping her stay sober in a since-deleted post.
“I’m doing good I just saw parole again yesterday. TLC is involved now too, and I signed releases of information yesterday at parole allowing [TLC] to know everything that’s going on with me. So if I would go get high and then pee dirty for parole, TLC would know immediately,” she wrote in May, according to In Touch.
“I specifically asked parole to put it in the paperwork that TLC and [production company] Hot Snakes be allowed to know everything. That way I am held accountable and have to do well, otherwise, I will lose my job. I decided that I need that kind of structure in my life,” she said.
Breaking Amish and Return to Amish fans have followed Burkholder’s struggle with sobriety since season 1 which debuted in September 2012, when she was the only Mennonite cast member among the rest of the Amish cast. The two sects are similar but Mennonites are far more conservative.
Burkholder was not a full-time cast member in season 4 in 2015, the same year she lost custody of daughter Oakley.
Then in May 2017, she was arrested and charged with manufacture of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and criminal conspiracy, according to Radar, which also reported that she was released ten days later.
And August of that same year, In Touch reported that she was arrested for a parole violation and later released from jail in November.