Pam says her ex-husband, Ed, is enabling their 23-year-old daughter, Andee’s, addiction by giving her money, which she uses for drugs. Ed admits he allows Andee to manipulate him but says he’s afraid she’ll resort to prostitution — or worse — if he cuts her off. Can he learn to change his approach and help Andee get clean — before it’s too late?
Enabling an Addict
For the past eight years, Pam says her ex-husband, Ed, has been enabling their 23-year-old unemployed daughter, Andee, by paying all of her bills and giving her money for drugs. “Ed was hands-off with Andee. He would say, ‘Pam, I don’t know how. You handle Andee,’” she says about his parenting style while Andee was growing up. She says Ed has given their daughter about $200,000 over the past eight years, which she says went toward drugs. “I can’t understand how a father can hand his child drug money all the time,” she says. “If Andee overdoses on drugs, one of the first questions is going to be: Where did the drugs come from, and how did she get them?” She continues, “Ed, her own father, is going to have to stand up and say, ‘I’m the one who gave her the money, and I’m the one who took her to get the drugs.’ What Ed is doing may ultimately kill Andee.”
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Onstage, Pam calls Ed’s behavior “psychotic” and says that he sabotages Andee’s progress with sobriety every time. “I can always count on one or two things that are going to happen. One is: she’s going to go back to drugs. The second thing that’s going to happen is that when I inquire how she got the money to get the drugs, the answer is going to be that her father gave her the drug money, or he’s taken her down to get the drugs,” she says.
Ed calls Andee the “daughter from hell,” and claims she has stolen jewelry, electronics and guns from him to get money for drugs. “She will come to my work. She will pester me. She wants money,” he says. “I have gotten 64 calls from her in 17 minutes. Now, if that doesn’t work, then all hell breaks loose.” He admits he gives Andee up to $5,000 a month for all of her expenses. “She may be taking my money and buying OxyContin,” he says. “I give [Andee] money, because I know what’s going to happen if I do not do it — She’s either going to die of an overdose, or she will probably end up with a pimp.” He continues, “If I walk away from her, she has no one.” He admits he’s an enabler and says, “There’s a hell of a difference being an enabler and a caring enabler. Damn right, I care.”
Dr. Phil questions Ed: “Are you part of the problem?” And, why does Ed have a black eye?
Dr. Phil gives Ed a wake-up call about his enabling. “You’re killing your daughter.”
“You are going to have to start being part of the solution, instead of part of the problem.”
“You are well-intended but terribly misguided,” Dr. Phil tells Ed.
“Could you have sugarcoated that just a little bit?” Ed asks.
“Probably could have, if [Andee] wasn’t eight years into this and could wake up dead tomorrow,” Dr. Phil responds. “She is playing Russian roulette and spinning the cylinder every time you give her money, and that has to stop.”
“So, what is my agenda? Stay the hell away from my daughter?” Ed asks.
“If you can’t control yourself, and you cave to her, yes.”
Andee admits that she started using marijuana and cocaine at 14 and says she’s now addicted to meth and Oxycodone. When discussing her parents, she says, “My mom does tough love, while my dad just enables me.” She says her father not only gives her money for drugs, but he also drives her to drug houses. “He looks the other way, tries to pretend that that’s not what’s really happening, when it’s obvious,” she says. “It’s like giving a kid candy and expecting them not to eat it.” She continues, “I feel like my dad is really emotionally abusive toward me. My dad has told me he’s going to bash my face in. He called me a $2 prostitute, because I just keep calling his phone, asking for money.”
Andee admits that she lost custody of her 5-year-old daughter because of her drug use. “My addiction just doesn’t let me be a mom to her, because I just can’t get clean,” she says. “I just want to get over this.” She says she recently signed a new parenting plan with her daughter’s father, which requires her to complete a drug treatment program, attend support meetings and submit to random drug testing at least three times a month, in order to earn visitation with her child.
See what happens when Andee takes Dr. Phil cameras along on a drug run.
Is Ed willing to cut off Andee financially?
A Family Problem
“There’s plenty of ownership to go around here,” Dr. Phil says to Pam and Ed. He then introduces Dr. Frank Lawlis,
chairman of the Dr. Phil
Advisory Board and author of Not My Child: A Progressive and Proactive Approach for Healing Addicted Teenagers and Their Families
, who says that the enabling needs to stop.
Dr. Phil tells Andee that her drug use has stunted her emotional growth. “When you do the drugs that you’ve done, it changes emotional development,” he says. He turns to Ed and asks, “Do you have a drinking problem?”
Ed says he doesn’t feel like his drinking is a problem, although he admits that he has blacked out from alcohol about four to five times in the past few months.
“Let me sugarcoat this: Ed, perhaps you should revisit that question,” Dr. Phil responds. “If you are getting blackouts … it sounds, to me, like you might be drinking to the point that you’re blacking out. And if that’s the case, you’re in the same boat she is,” he says, gesturing toward Andee.
Andee says her father has a drinking problem. “Every time you drink, you black out,” she says to Ed. “You call me, and you’re just wasted.”
Ed admits that he drinks too much. “Yes, I do,” he says, adding “I want to get away from my problem.”
“This is not an Andee problem; this is a family problem.” Will Andee grab onto the lifeline that Dr. Phil offers?