Taking The Next Step: Family Matters: An Intervention
In the summer of 2003, our eldest son, Brandon, had returned home from college addicted to prescription pain killers. We knew he had experimented with drugs and alcohol for many years, but this was different. His personality had changed, and he had become someone foreign to our family. We e-mailed Dr. Phil for help. A gentle and wonderful producer, Julie Ross, read our e-mail and reached out to us. Going public with something so personal was one of the most difficult decisions Doug and I have ever had to make. Through much soul searching and prayer, we jointly agreed to move forward with the intervention process. We completely trusted Dr. Phil and his staff for guidance and direction. Our initial reason for asking Dr. Phil for help was to save our son's life. We knew he was in trouble and that it was just a matter of time before he overdosed and died or spent the rest of his life in prison. The second reason was to help others; we knew there was a chance Brandon might not accept help, if offered.
Initially, we thought that Brandon would go to rehab and be fixed in 30 days. We wanted Brandon back, the authentic Brandon that we knew. Brandon was resistant to the treatment and recovery process. During the family week at La Hacienda, the shock of the reality of relapse hit, and it hit hard. The statistics of relapse after a 30-day program were hard to grasp. To this point, we had little understanding of the impact addiction has on the overall family unit. The emotional roller coaster associated with Brandon's recovery continued for a number of years.
We turned to Dr. Phil as a desperate measure to save our son's life from drug addiction. Since then our lives have changed in so many amazing ways. We will always be grateful to Dr. Phil and the entire staff for believing in Brandon and never giving up on him. That's the same attitude we have when working with a family in crisis.
Debbie gives an update:
photos by Owen Junior
Today, Brandon, Doug and I travel throughout the country conducting interventions with our company,
VIP Recovery, and speaking to audiences about the horrible disease of addiction. We are committed to educating those we serve, motivating them to take action, and safely assisting them in activating the appropriate systems for treatment and support. We are wholeheartedly dedicated to helping individuals, family members, friends and business associates affected by addictions, substance abuse or mental illness.
In the fall of 2004, Brandon returned to college to pursue his dream. He was set up for success in every way. Arrangements were made for an apartment with a high school friend who supported his recovery, support groups, counseling, and even a laptop computer from Dr. Phil.
Christina and Bobby were both in school, leading active lives, with their parents focusing intently on them. Doug was working and providing for his family in the corporate world. I started working for a local alcohol and drug treatment center. I jumped into the treatment industry with laser focus and became an accomplished, highly motivated, results-driven manager with a solid record of success. In addition to being a licensed registered nurse, I returned to school and became a Chemical Dependency Counselor.
After Brandon finished his first year in college, he returned home and began working different minimum-wage jobs. I was working as the CEO of an international treatment center, which required an extensive amount of travel.
Our world collapsed in February 2006 when I received a call from Brandon stating that he was in handcuffs and being incarcerated in the Harris County Jail. His probation had been revoked. Brandon asked me to contact Dr. Phil, because he felt he had let him down and everyone who believed in him. Brandon had been injecting black tar heroin into his veins for months. Going through detox in the holding cells crammed with inmates was a tortuous and excruciating process. Brandon remained in jail for 180 days. We believe that Dr. Phil's visit to him gave him the will to live and completely change his life. We've heard it said; "I don't care what you know until I know how much you care."
Brandon is now four years sober. He lives with his dog, Tank, in an apartment close to the family residence. Christina graduated from Texas A & M, works in Dallas and is engaged to be married. Bobby is a junior at the University of Arkansas in the Sam Walton business school.
We have been blessed beyond our wildest expectations. We treasure our family time together more than anything else in the world. Our first show was called "Family Matters." It really, really does.