Twenty-three-year-old Mercedes says her 38-year-old mother, Sueann, has been partying and drinking several days a week for the past 18 years — forcing her to become a mother figure to her four younger siblings. Mercedes also says her mother continues to drink excessively, despite a past alcohol-related arrest and mandatory rehab stint. Sueann admits she goes out partying every week and sometimes drinks until she blacks out, but she insists she has always been a good mother. So, how does she explain losing custody of her 13-year-old son, and her daughter getting pregnant at 12? Can Dr. Phil help Sueann realize the damage her choices are causing her family? Is Sueann willing to stop the drinking and partying — and be a mom?
“Most of the Time, I Hate My Mother”
Mercedes says her mother, Sueann, is a “party mom,” who goes out at least three times a week and sometimes returns drunk — if she returns home at all. As a result, Mercedes says she has been forced to care for her four siblings since she was 12 years old and harbors anger toward her mother. “I didn’t get to have a childhood or go to school, because my mother was out partying,” she says, adding that Sueann even took her to bars when she was 15. “Most of the time, I hate my mother,” she continues. “She’s never had a stable home for us. My siblings are really going downhill, and I don’t know what to do anymore.”
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Sueann says she parties several days a week, to relieve stress and forget about her worries. “I like to drink because it makes me happy,” she says, admitting that, at times, drinking is more important than her family. She reveals that when her daughter Destiny was 1 year old, her children were taken away by social services, after someone called to report that the kids were left alone. She also admits she consumed a few beers while pregnant with her youngest child. And, about three years ago, Sueann was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. “My two daughters had picked me up from BJ’s, and my alcohol was in the vehicle, and they pulled us over and charged me,” she says.
Despite her hard partying — even drinking until she blacks out — Sueann insists she is a good mother.
Sueann’s 19-year-old daughter, Jasmine, says she wants her mom to grow up and act like a mother. “I just don’t want to be like her. I want to be the opposite of my mom. I don’t want to hurt my kids like that. It’s time for her to grow up. I want an apology,” she says.
Dr. Phil lists the effects of Sueann’s drinking on all of her children. “You think you’re a good mother?”
Destiny, Sueann’s 15-year-old daughter, says she is fed up with her mother’s irresponsible and selfish behavior. Destiny blames her mother for her own pregnancy — when she was 12. “I feel like if I was getting the attention that I needed, then I wouldn’t have gotten pregnant at such a young age,” she says.
Jasmine confronts her mother. “You ruined our lives. Does that matter to you?”
“It’s not like I made her go out and get pregnant.”
Dr. Phil introduces Dr. Charles Sophy, Medical Director for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and member of the Dr. Phil Advisory Board
, and family law attorney and child advocate, Areva Martin. They don’t mince words with Sueann.
“They raised themselves, and that’s shameful.”
Sueann admits that she failed to show up for her teenage son’s court date, because she was likely hungover from drinking the night before. And, Areva reacts. “I’m surprised she hasn’t been arrested. This is classic child endangerment.”
Dr. Phil recommends that Sueann seek treatment at a dual-diagnosis center and introduces her to Ben Levenson, the founder and CEO of Origins Recovery Centers. “I’m willing to make the arrangement and the accommodation for you to go to this place and get worked on,” Dr. Phil tells her.
Will Sueann accept the help?