We knew from the trailer that Season 15 of RHOC was going to be busy and dramatic and a little scary at times.
But nothing prepared viewers for the raw confession that Braunwyn made of just how serious her drinking problem had become.
In Season 14, even though a lot of the ladies had a good time, Emily Simpson was worried about her friend Braunwyn.
Braunwyn’s drinking alarmed her — and you know that when a Real Housewife thinks that you’re drinking too much, it’s time to take it seriously. But Braunwyn did not.
Now it’s Season 15, and as you can see in the short video clip that we have included, Braunwyn went to Emily to apologize … and to tell her that she was right.
In a somber, painful scene at the climax of the season premiere, Braunwyn reflected upon her hard-partying trip to Miami.
"I am very nervous right now," she confessed to Emily. "Some things have happened. First of all, I need to say that I am sorry."
Either Emily truly had no idea what the talk was about or she did a phenomenal acting job, because she asked: "About what?"
"You called me out on my drinking last year," Braunwyn reminded her. "Instead of taking it to heart, I really pushed you away."
"Basically, I think I just got angry with you," she confessed, "and I came up with reasons to be mad."
Braunwyn then described how "bad" her trip to celebrate Kelly Dodd’s then-fiance’s birthday had been, admitting: "I didn’t stop drinking for four days."
"Every hour I would keep doing a shot," Braunwyn described.
Painfully, she confessed: "I was drinking so much I thought I was going to die."
A sympathetic Emily observed: "To me, there was obviously a problem because I felt like you were masking something and doing it with alcohol."
Braunwyn described to the confessional camera how her drinking started when she was only 14.
At the time, she was living with her grandfather and grappling with abandonment issues.
"Someone handed me a warm beer," Braunwyn recalled, "and it was a peacefulness that I’ve never felt before."
She drank until she vomited that night, and that set the pattern for her using alcohol to self-medicate.
To hear Braunwyn describe it, her only times not drinking as an adult have been her many pregnancies … and now that she is done having children, she worries that she has lost control.
Confessing that she is afraid to go through life without alcohol to keep bad feelings at bay, she told Emily: "The vulnerability is hard for me."
Emily assured her: "I want you to know that I am your friend and that I will do whatever I can to support you."
"Is your goal to never drink again?" Emily asked. Some cult-like sobriety programs insist on this. Other, more evidence-based programs sometimes do not.
"I don’t think I can never drink again," Braunwyn’s answer began, "but yeah, it has to be forever."
"I don’t know if it’s divine intervention," Braunwyn expressed in the confessional.
"But," she continued, "for the first time in my life I can say, ‘My name is Braunwyn and I’m an alcoholic."
This was clearly a powerful, transformative moment in her life.
Before that, Braunwyn invited Kelly and Shannon over in the hopes of successfully playing mediator between the feuding castmates.
Kelly, gleefully embracing her villain role, had been way too friendly and helpful to Jim Bellino, who was suing both Shannon and Tamra over alleged disparaging comments that the ladies may have made on a podcast.
Kelly extended an "olive branch" to Shannon, gifting her with a case of UNO cards as a nod to Shannon’s former role within the "Tres Amigas." These days, Shannon is the Una Amiga.
"Kelly, I have to say what I was upset about was just that the step was taken to reach out to the opposing side," Shannon said of Kelly’s apparent eagerness to help Jim destroy Shannon and Tamra in court.
"You and I had multiple conversations about how devastating the [lawsuit] was," she reminded her.
Kelly’s defense was that Shannon was mere collateral in her war with Tamra, admitting: "I felt gained up on by the three of you."
"You were upset with Tamra and you didn’t think it was going to affect me," Shannon acknowledged.
Kelly then confirmed: "My intensions were to get back at Tamra. She was relentless. Desperate times call for desperate measures."
The two ladies then apologized to each other.
"I think it’s really nice that the three of us are sitting down here," Shannon commented.
"You and I did have a special friendship that I was really disappointed fell apart," she expressed.
Shannon added: "I’m so imperfect, but I really don’t attack people’s characters, so I apologize if you think that."
"My intentions were not to hurt you," Kelly said in return, "and if you feel I was, I apologize. I want to move on."
Shannon, happily dating John Janssen, confessed to the camera that she is in such a "positive, happy state" at this point in her life that she doesn’t have room for drama.
"I don’t want to fight with people, I hate fighting," she explained. "I’m willing to move forward."
"We’re all [now] living in the same neighborhood," Kelly noted of the three of them.
However, as we previously reported, the preview for the rest of Season 15 suggests that things are not going to remain as peaceful as this moment.
Emily recoverws from surgery, Shannon screams at Braunwyn, Gina has her romance with Travis Mullen, and newcomer Elizabeth Lyn Vargas joins the fray. Oh, and the COVID-19 pandemic.