Joy and Jerry say their 24-year-old daughter, Jessi, has a severe addiction to alcohol and suffers from bulimia, and her destructive choices are tearing their family apart. Jessi opens up about her behavior and what she believes may be the root cause. When Dr. Phil throws her a lifeline, will she grab ahold? 

A Family on Edge

Jessi’s parents, Joy and Jerry, and brother, Josh, say Jessi is an alcoholic and bulimic and they worry that she could die at any moment. 

More than 16 million kids in the United States are at risk for hunger each day. Fortunately, you can help. Visit Feeding America to find your local food bank. And, help Dr. Phil raise enough money for 10 million meals. Donate today!



“She has sucked the life out of all of us.”


Jessi explains her choices. “Being drunk makes me just not care.” And, she meets Dr. Phil.

Dr. Phil asks Jessi, who has a 3-year-old son, to imagine what it’s like for her mother, to worry every day that she’s going to come home and find her child dead.

“I couldn’t imagine,” she says. “I’d be sick all the time, always.”

“That’s what you’re doing to them. Why?” he asks.
“Because I’m a selfish person,” Jessi says.

“But you don’t really care, do you?”

She says she sometimes feels bad for hurting her father. “I don’t like hurting my dad,” she says tearfully.

Jerry says he feels he’s failed his daughter by making mistakes, such as enabling her, but says they love their daughter dearly and would do anything for her. 

Jessi opens up about the lengths she’d go to get drunk, even while at work. And, Dr. Phil has some hard questions for Jessi’s parents.

Dr. Phil reviews Jessi’s bad behavior. And, find out what makes Jessi storm offstage. 

Dr. Phil makes it clear that his priority is Jessi’s 3-year-old son, and he will make efforts to protect him if he has to, including making a report so she won’t be legally allowed to be left alone with him.

A Crippling Eating Disorder

In a previous interview, Jessi reveals her eating disorder and how she manages to get her hands on the food her family keeps under lock and key.

“I’m a bulimic. A typical binge would be a bag of chips, a couple sandwiches, four eggs, string cheese — I’ll have five or six of those, 20 cookies and a lot of peanut butter,” Jessi says. “I binge eat two to three times a day. I purge every time.”

“Every day, I will find puke in toilet. I clean it three times a day, because it’s a reminder I can’t bear,” Joy says.

“I can make myself purge without even using my finger,” Jessi says.

Joy shows where they keep their food locked up — in cages in the refrigerator and in giant plastic tubs, with combination locks.
“They can’t stop me,” Jessi says, laughing. “I can always figure out the code. They can change the code all they want. Couple days, I’ll figure it out. When everybody goes to sleep, that’s when I raid the cabinets, the fridge. I can get away with it then because they’re not watching me. I like being sneaky. I get a thrill out of it.”

“It’s embarrassing,” says Jessi’s brother, Josh. “I hate people coming to our house and seeing our food locked up. It’s awful. We’re like animals.”

“Jessi’s been to three different rehabs,” Joy says. “We had to have spent over $20,000, maybe $30,000.”
“None of the treatments have worked,” Jessi says. “I have convinced them I’m better, and once I leave, I’m right back at it. I love feeling like I’m getting away with something.”

Jessi returns to the stage. “I’m so pissed at you right now,” she tells Dr. Phil. And, Jessi opens up about being a mother while managing her addiction and eating disorder.

Dr. Phil tells Jessi her brain is toxic, which is why she says alcohol wins over her son. He says he knows that she loves her son. “If you’ve got the guts to step up and do what you have to do, you will spend the rest of your life with your son at your side,” he tells her. “But you will not as an alcoholic, you will not as someone who drives drunk, you will not as somebody who hides alcohol when you’re charged with the supervision of a child. You don’t have the right to do that to him, to them or to yourself.”

Dr. Phil continues, “You know you love that little boy.”

“Yeah,” she says, wiping away her tears.
“You will die for your son — but will you live for him?”

Unresolved Childhood Trauma

In a previous interview, Jessi says she was molested at 5, when her mother left her with someone else to go shopping. “I always tell my mom, ‘You never protected me when I was younger,’” she says. “I think it’s disgusting, and it could have been prevented.”

“I’m really sorry that happened to you,” Dr. Phil tells Jessi. “You didn’t deserve that. It wasn’t OK then. It’s not OK now.” He asks Joy, “Do you believe her?”

“Yeah, I do believe her,” she says. “I just found out about it this year, and I have told her I’m sorry, and if I would’ve known — I had no clue.” Joy says she wonders if that is the root cause of all of Jessi’s problems.

Dr. Phil extends Jessi a lifeline. “I don’t hate you, and I haven’t given up on you.”

Dr. Phil recommends Origins Recovery Centers for Jessi, so she can work on all of her issues — from her eating disorder to her alcoholism to her unresolved childhood trauma — and then get her life back on track, so she can be a strong mother for her son.

She accepts.

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