Dr. Phil Family: Alex and Brandon Intervention: Florida

"She Will Die from This"

Debbie and Brandon land in Florida to build their intervention team with family members and loved ones to surround Alexandra. They arrive at Erin and Marty's house, and Erin says, "I know my daughter, and this is not my daughter."

"That's why we're here is to give you an understanding that this is a brain disease," Debbie tells Erin. "Every day she puts these chemicals into her brain, it changes who she is. I could not understand why [Brandon] was doing what he was doing and thought we could love him out of it. It's not possible."

"It runs in my family. Addiction is a huge problem," Erin shares. "I just lost my sister last week. She was 39. She died from liver failure." She adds that she buried her mom 10 years ago after she died from alcoholism. "I'm not going to bury [Alexandra] in 10 years. I'm just not going to do it."

 

Debbie and Erin sit down mother to mother, and Erin asks her, "What do you think you see as some of my biggest enabling behaviors?" 

 

"The first thing that comes to mind " and please, take this with kindness " is you talk too much," Debbie says candidly. "Any time you tell her what to do, she becomes defensive, and it drives her away from you instead of to you." She asks Erin if she believes her daughter is capable of being a mom.

"I totally believe Alexandra has the capability, but she's so anesthetized right now, she can't," she says.

"So, who is she getting the message from that she can't be a mom?" Debbie asks.

"Me," Erin admits.

"But somehow, she got that message with the first one," Debbie points out.

[AD]"I probably did send that message, because I really thought she couldn't be a mom," she says.

 

Debbie tells Erin that when Alexandra shows up, she is really the addict. "We continue to break down that cement wall until we access that person," she explains. "Let me tell you something you did right, by not recognizing her birthday, that hurt her, and she missed not being the center of attention." Debbie adds that the real Alexandra is in there, and they're going to pull her back out. "Tomorrow is going to be a very difficult day," she tells Erin about the intervention. "But at the same time, we're in for the long haul."

Brandon and Marty candidly discuss Marty's relationship with his daughter.

 

"Our trust is really solid, and I feel really bad that she's expecting tomorrow to be, like, a Mother's Day cookout, barbecue type of thing, and it's not going to be anything like that," Marty tells Brandon.

"You kind of feel, in a way, that you're betraying her trust, and that's not uncommon," Brandon says. He asks Marty, "Are you aware how serious her drug problem is?"

"Honestly, Brandon, I'm really not," Marty replies. "Maybe I live in denial."

"Alexandra's been a little dishonest with everybody," Brandon points out. He asks Marty, "Do you trust her the way she trusts you?"

[AD]"No," he replies.

"Then it's a one-way relationship right now," Brandon points out. "She doesn't give a damn if you trust her or not."

"That's the hardest thing that I'm struggling with," Marty says. "I know she loves me, but, it's just, like, ‘What can I get out of my dad today?'"

 

Marty melts as he comes to terms with his feelings about Alexandra and the situation.

Brandon and Debbie lead the intervention team, which consists of Erin, Marty, Katherine, Alexandra's sister, and other family and friends, through a pre-intervention workshop.

"I really want my sister to accept treatment today. I miss having my sister around," Katherine says. "Our relationships turned into zero. We don't talk or speak ever. She's very hostile and angry all the time, and she's never really been like that."

[AD]Marty's emotions get the best of him as he prepares his statements.

 

Can he compose himself to be effective when Alexandra arrives?

 

Later, Brandon tells the camera, "Marty is one of the main concerns. I don't know if he's fully on board with this or not."

Debbie explains to the group that when Alexandra arrives, she and Brandon will be in another room with the family and friends who are not expected to be there. Erin, Marty and Katherine will be in the main room going about the day. "When it's the appropriate time, we'll come out," she says. "Brandon will approach her, and he's going to ask her just for five minutes. If at any point it escalates to where anybody's safety is being jeopardized, I need someone who will call 911 and say, ‘We're having a domestic dispute. We need assistance immediately.'"

Marty questions why they may need to involve the police. "I have a problem with that," he says. "I don't want my daughter going to jail on Mother's Day."

"Her safety is what matters," Katherine tells her father, fighting back tears. "She needs this."

[AD]Marty bickers with Katherine. Brandon explains that Alexandra would only go to jail if she does something illegal or assaults someone. An angered Marty maintains that he doesn't want his daughter taken away by police, and he will make sure she doesn't attack anyone.

 

"All three of us can leave right now, if that's what you want," Brandon says to Marty. "I've asked you to be calm already, and you're being hostile, again, Marty. This is about loving her and caring about her, trying to help her because she's dying, and we've got to be tough and stand together as a unit."