An Addict in the Family: C.J.

Saving C.J.

C.J. walks out onstage and Dr. Phil introduces himself. "How do you feel about being here today?"

"Pretty good about it," she says. "I'm excited to get my life straight, and change my life and do what I've needed to do for a long time."

Dr. Phil plays footage of C.J. shortly after her arrival in Los Angeles where she heads out on the streets to find drugs. Joani follows at a distance.

C.J. returns and reports, "I just talked to a guy. I asked him if he knew where to get a joint, and I said I'm actually looking for some pain pills, and he said, ‘I have a buddy that can get pretty much whatever you want.'"

Later, C.J. returns to Joani, smiling.

"Did you get it?" Joani asks.

"Yeah," she says.

Back in the hotel room, Joani reports, "C.J. has been here since 1:30. That's less than an hour and a half, and she's already " "

"Already scored a joint of weed," C.J. says, showing the marijuana. Later, C.J. finds an alley where she smokes.

Back onstage, Dr. Phil says, "That seems a little at odds with being excited about being here to try to get your life in order. Square that up for me."

"When I showed up, I was really stressed out, and I figured instead of going and trying to heroin or whatever, maybe I can just get a joint, and that'll calm me down, instead of getting more high because that's just more destructive," she says.

[AD]Dr. Phil leans toward C.J. "Look at me right now. What have you had today?"

"Xanax," she says.

"Because you seem real flat. You seem real altered," Dr. Phil observes. Her parents agree.

"I took a Xanax bar about an hour and a half ago," C.J. admits.

"Why'd you do that?"

"Because I knew that you were going to be pretty rough on me."

Dr. Phil looks at his notes. "You made an appointment with somebody for pills last night, right?"

"Not an appointment. He " "

"Call it what you want," Dr. Phil interrupts. "You were trying to hook up with somebody to try to get some pills last night at 8:00."

"Right. I gave him the number to reach me at, so yeah, you could call that an appointment," C.J. says.

"Last night, you went into the stairwell to make a marijuana deal, and you've just been looking for drugs since you got here, right?"

"Yeah. And actually, I'm happy that I got a joint rather than a hit of Oxycontin or whatever."

Dr. Phil fills Jim and Paula in on C.J.'s recent drug activities. "On the 31st, she scored tar heroin. On the 1st, ice, you know, meth. On the 2nd, $100 worth of heroin. On the 2nd, thought about robbing a pharmacy. On the 4th, she was into the Xanax. I mean, I could go on, but that's what we're dealing with here." He asks C.J., "Do you want to die?"

[AD]"At times, yeah, I have, but I don't. I'm surprised I'm not dead yet, so that tells me I'm here for a reason. And yeah, I'm a drug addict," she says.

"So, why are you on drugs?"

"I've been irresponsible, and I've dealt with pain in my life the wrong way," C.J. says.

"Pain from these folks as well," Dr. Phil says, indicating her parents.

"Yeah, and pain that I've caused on my own, things that I've done. It hasn't just been my parents. They've been the best parents in the world," she says.

When Dr. Phil tells C.J. to look her mother in the eye, she has trouble keeping her mother's gaze. "Why can't you look at her?" he asks.

C.J. begins to cry. "Because I see what I've done to her. And she's the most precious woman to me, and how can I do that to my mom, who has already been through enough?"

Paula trembles as tears well up in her eyes and spill over.

"Look at your dad. Look him in the eye. Don't look away; look him in the eye," Dr. Phil encourages C.J.

Tears run down Jim's face as he looks at his daughter.

"Do you think he cares about you?" Dr. Phil asks her.

"Oh, yeah," she says. 

[AD]"What do you see in his eyes?"

"Love for me, but yet pain," C.J. says tearfully. "And hope, and I just see that he'll never give up on me, and he hasn't. Neither one of them have. And I see a very strong man, a man that I love and forgive, no matter what."

Dr. Phil instructs C.J. to look at her brother. "Is she in there, Anthony? When you look at her, is that little girl in there, who you grew up with, whom you played with, who you played tricks on the family with?"

"Yes, but I haven't seen her in years," Anthony says, his voice trembling. "But if that little girl wasn't in there, I wouldn't be here."