Escaping Addiction: Relapse

Back from the Edge?

"Tell me how you're feeling right now. You look good," Dr. Phil compliments Jake. 

Jake replies, "I feel excellent. I'm able to think clearly. I'm much more motivated to get things done."

"Tell me about your connection with your children and what it's been like for you."

"Being able to get up with them in the morning, take them out to breakfast, go outside, throw the football around. I love it," Jake says. 

Dr. Phil observes that Jake has learned new skills at New River Cove. "You went down there to learn about alcoholism, but you also learned about Jake. I am proud of you, and proud for you for doing that," he says.

Humbly, Jake replies, "Thank you."

Dr. Phil addresses Shellye. "Tell me how it's been for you," he says.

"I really enjoyed going to Belize. I feel like we learned a lot there through the program," she says.  

"Since you've been to rehab and then come home, how do you think you've done?"

Shellye hesitates. "I think the transition coming home was a little too much for me and helped me to slip a couple of times," she admits. "I think that I have had some rough spots since we returned from Belize."

"You drank within 48 hours of coming home, right?" Dr. Phil elaborates.


"We sent you to a top-notch rehabilitation program. Second day back, you decide you're going to drink. Why?"

"Your guess is as good as mine. I honestly don't know why I took that first drink. I don't," she maintains.

"Let's take a look at what you had to say when you came home and had that first drink," Dr. Phil says. 

In the video clip, a distraught Shellye says to Jake, "I'm sick. I thought I could have one drink and that's it. I'm like, 'I'm going to prove that I'm not an alcoholic.' Then I'm like, 'No, I'm going to stop and get one more.' What kind of loser am I?"

"We're alcoholics, you know?" Jake says. 

"I'm so scared," Shellye sobs.

After the clip ends, Shellye explains her reaction. "It kind of threw me back to feeling like I had to start all over. It was very scary," she tells Dr. Phil.



"How's my staff been treating you?" he asks Shellye 

When she says great, he says, "Why weren't you at the airport when we came to pick you up?"

"I was somewhere I shouldn't be because I drank on the plane," she says.

Dr. Phil is not satisfied with her response. "When you show up to check into the hotel at 5:00 in the morning and they've been up frantic all night calling everywhere, doing everything they can, you tell them, 'Well, I went to see my friend, Marilyn,'" he says. 

Shellye admits her embarrassment. "I felt like I had let a lot of people down. I didn't know what to say," she explains. 

Dr. Phil is unmoved. "So, you're just a total victim? You just got there, and you went into a trance, and the next think you know, you were drinking?" he asks. "Be honest with yourself and with me. I think you are a taker, and I think you got on that airplane, and in your arrogance, you decided to do whatever you wanted to do. This is about being honest, honest, honest. I'm this far from firing you, and you won't see me again. Were you with Marilyn?"



"Where were you?" Dr. Phil probes.

"I was in jail," Shellye confesses.

"Why were you in jail?"

"Because I drank on the plane and was being rude to the flight attendant."

Dr. Phil says there is more to the story than that. "You were grabbing the flight attendant's breasts, you were grabbing men's butts, and you were sitting in the laps of male passengers," he reveals. 

"That is absolutely not true," Shellye says. 

"So, the airline just made all that up?"

"I don't remember any of that happening."

"Did it not happen, or do you not remember it?" Dr. Phil presses. 

"I don't know if it happened because I don't remember it."

Turning his attention to Jake, Dr. Phil says, "You've seen this behavior from her before. So, this isn't new to you, is it?"

"No, it's not," Jake answers. Addressing Shellye, he voices his frustration. "I'm really upset. I'm in New York, and you're playing grab-ass on an airplane on your way here."

Shellye shakes her head. "Thanks for just dropping all the support," she says quietly. 

Dr. Phil interrupts her. "Excuse me. I missed what you just said. Could you repeat that?" he asks. 

When Shellye says that her husband is always abandoning her, Dr. Phil takes her to task. "It's interesting that your first thought was to criticize him rather than to apologize," he says. "You just heard somebody tell you that, 'I got on an airplane as your wife and molested the passengers, got arrested and thrown in jail,' and your response is, 'You're not supporting me.' Are you kidding me, woman? You are an alcoholic. You can never drink again in your life because you cannot control it. You don't get that, do you?"

"I knew I needed help because of how bad things have gotten," Shellye says. 

Dr. Phil isn't shocked by Shellye's relapse and wants her to understand how dangerous her illness is. "I want you to just project ahead in your mind six weeks. You're sitting on a curb, and your head's bleeding right here," he gestures, "and you're looking at your child's body hanging halfway through the windshield. Are you going to get real then? Here's a thought: Why don't we get real now? Why don't we save that child a trip through the windshield? And one thing you need to do is you need to start telling me the truth. You need to start telling yourself the truth. You need to admit that you're an alcoholic."


Dr. Phil will arrange for Shellye to have a sobriety companion. "I'm going to get a hard-ass alcoholic who has been sober for a lot of years, and they're your new best friend. I'm offering. Will you take it?" he asks. 

"Yes," she replies.  

"You keep saying, 'I'm a good person. I'm a good person.' You're just a person. What defines you, good or bad, are the choices you make," Dr. Phil explains. "The good news is, as soon as you stop making the bad choices, then you stop being the bad person. You only lose this game if you quit while you're behind. I think you're ready to do this right. Are you or not?"


"I am ready. I appreciate you giving me another chance," Shellye says, hugging Dr. Phil.