Addiction Resolutions

Addiction Resolutions
Dr. Phil talks to a woman who admits to being an alcoholic.
"I feel like alcohol is my best friend," says Lisa. "I'm a single mother of three who can't stop drinking. I drink every day. It's very scary to admit that I have a problem."

It became an issue when she was going through a divorce. "For me, it's like my big medicine cabinet. If I'm all stressed out or I'm upset, I definitely am going to have a drink," she reveals.

Her children are also affected by her addiction. "When I'm drinking, I don't think I'm here for my kids. I'm here physically, but I'm not here in reality," she says. Lisa also admits that when she attends her kids' school events, she'll fill a sports drink bottle with alcohol, and take it with her. "I could be drinking straight vodka and nobody would know."
Her fiancé, Charley, wants to help, but feels powerless. "She's at a point where she needs professional help and I know that I can't fix it for her," he says.

Lisa's father died an alcoholic, and she worries that she'll end up the same way. "I've been around alcohol since I was born. I don't want to die from this," Lisa says, turning to Dr. Phil for help.
"How much do you think it affects your ability to be plugged in as a mother?" Dr. Phil asks.

Lisa replies, "One hundred percent, 110 percent."

"What happens if you don't make the change and do this?"

"I think it will kill me."

Dr. Phil wants Lisa to understand the gravity of her condition. "Do you get the fact that that's a real potential outcome to what you're dealing with here?" he questions. "I've got a strong belief that you cannot change what you don't acknowledge," Dr. Phil says. "Rule number one is you've got to acknowledge what it is you want to change. If you're in denial about it, if you're minimizing it, if you're trivializing it, if you're conning yourself about it, then you'll never get where you need to be," he explains. "You have to be willing to say, 'I recognize this has changed who I am.'"
When Lisa admits that she drinks alone, consistently and to the point of altering her consciousness, Dr. Phil asks, "What are you willing to do for this to not be a hollow resolution?"

"When I say that I've tried this and I've tried that ... I've been in church, and I've been on my knees and I've been begging God, 'Please, please, just make this go away,'" Lisa explains.

Dr. Phil stresses that breaking an addiction is not about willpower. "I believe strongly in the power of prayer. I guarantee you, maybe that's why you're here. Maybe that prayer is paying off in you getting some help and your being here," he says. But prayer and willpower alone are not sufficient. Lisa needs a plan.
Dr. Phil stresses that Lisa has both a physiological and a psychological addiction. "In my view, you have been consuming enough alcohol consistently that it has changed you physiologically. If you stop drinking, you will go into serious withdrawal symptoms and when you do that, it will be uncomfortable, and you will reach for something to drink."

He explains that people don't break habits; they replace old behaviors with new ones. "Alcohol is a coping mechanism for you, correct? It calms you. It takes your anxiety away. It lifts your spirits. It numbs you to the pain of your life. And if I take that away from you and then don't put anything in its place, then you're just there stripped of your coping mechanisms and you're going to go back to what you were doing before," he says."What needs to happen for you, first off, you need to get in treatment," Dr. Phil announces. "You need to go through a medically supervised detoxification. And then you need to be in treatment. And when you get through with treatment, you're going to manage this every day for the rest of your life."

Using a graphic, Dr. Phil explains his seven steps for breaking an addiction. The first step is acknowledging the purpose that the substance serves in your life. "'I'm not just drinking because I'm thirsty; I'm medicating myself for all of these different things: anxiety, depression, pain,'" Dr. Phil explains.
"You have to understand that you've got to have rational thought instead of denial. You have to have alternative coping skills ... You've got to recognize what your danger zones are. You've got to make lifestyle changes. You've got to be accountable to somebody ... Reward yourself to have the motivation to do what you're doing ... You need to check out of this alcohol environment and you need to check in to an alcohol rehabilitation program and you need to do it right now. If you don't, you're going to continue drinking. You're going to erode your family. You're going to have children that grow up with an emotionally unavailable alcoholic mother."
Lisa maintains that it's hard to seek treatment because her three children are dependent on her. "I have to work and I have to take care of them. For five years, I haven't had time to get better. I'm too busy," she explains.

Dr. Phil doesn't buy her excuses. "You're kind of in an alcohol haze right now, but do I look even almost convinced?" he asks. "Do I look even almost convinced that you don't have time to save your life?"

Turning to her fiancé, Charley, in the audience, Dr. Phil asks, "Are you a resource for her?"

Charley replies, "Yes."

"Are you willing to step up and stand in the gap for her?"

"Yes, I am."

To Lisa, Dr. Phil points out, "You have people that are willing to help you. And if you don't, he eventually will turn away from you."

"People already have turned away in my life. I've lost people. I've lost things in my life. I've lost time, too," Lisa says, growing emotional. "I've lost moments with my children that I can't ever get back."
Dr. Phil tells Lisa that he has arranged for her to start treatment at La Hacienda, an inpatient, alcohol rehabilitation program in San Antonio, Texas. "My question to you is, do you want to make excuses and trivialize and continue what you're doing, or do you want to check out of this alcohol haze and check into that rehabilitation program?"

Hesitantly, Lisa replies, "I want to check into the rehabilitation program." She tells Dr. Phil that she couldn't afford rehab on her own. Now that she's being given a chance, she feels sorry for others in her position that can't afford treatment.

"Do you want to save the world or you want to save your life?" Dr. Phil asks sternly. "Before you start advocating for all of the people who aren't here, you'd better protect the mother of the children that is here. I'm offering that program to you and you can take it or leave it."

"I'm not going to say no. I want it."

"Are you willing to go to rehab right now?"

"Yes, yes. I want my life. I want to be alive."