"That was really interesting, the way you described that. You went through start to finish, and not one time mentioned alcohol, not one time mentioned that both of you on a regular basis are falling down, passed out drunk," Dr. Phil says sternly. "Why is that? Did I knock on the wrong door?"
"Do you love your children?" Dr. Phil asks.
"Do you have a problem putting the kids' best interest ahead your own?"
"No," Shellye replies. "I want to put them before myself, before everything. I just don't know how anymore."
"Lots of women have told me they had a couple drinks when they were pregnant. They're OK," she reasons. "Women used to drink when they were pregnant all the time and it was no big deal."
"Did you believe that, or is that just what you told yourself so you could do what you wanted to do?" Dr. Phil inquires.
Tearfully, she responds, "It's what I told myself so I could do what I wanted to do."
Shellye answers, "I say, 'I am not drunk. I just had a couple of drinks. I'm just going to run them to karate or something.'"
Dr. Phil counters, "This year, you ran them into the curb, true? Did you justify that to yourself as well?"
"No. Right after it happened, I thought, 'Oh, my God. I have to go home and show Jake the car and he's going to know,' and so I was scared of him," she sobs. "Then, I thought, 'I am the worst mother in the whole world. I can't believe I let that happen.' I am at rock bottom. I need help."
"You talk like this was this horrible, isolated experience. The week before, you drank two beers and three hits of vodka in line at the to-go window!" Dr. Phil says.
"But my kids weren't in the car," Shellye argues.
Shellye acknowledges her mistakes but feels helpless. "I want to be the best mother. I don't know why I can't do this. I don't know. If I were someone else looking at me, I would hate me," she weeps.
Jake chimes in, "I don't want you to get the wrong impression either. She is a wonderful mother."
"When she's sober," Dr. Phil rejoins.
"Yes, I do," Jake replies.
"You come home drunk at night, sometimes so much that when you go into your bedroom, you are stumbling over the ventilator plugs and tubings and pulling them out of the child. True?" Dr. Phil asks.
Jake answers, "Yes that is correct. But a lot of times, I don't recall because I've had too much and I black out. My wife will mention to me the next day what I had done, and of course I regret it."
"No, I think eventually that things are going to get bad."
"So, you think it is going to get bad, but it is not bad now?" Dr. Phil asks.
"Correct," Jake replies.
Jake revises his story. "That is correct. Yes, there are situations that have occurred where I have done that," he admits. "I entertain a lot of clients throughout the week. There are times that I've been drinking quite a bit. I'll take a cab. What my wife is referring to is just occasionally I will drive throughout the neighborhood and, yes, I will be pretty inebriated at times."
"That is not acceptable behavior, is it?" Dr. Phil presses.
Jake replies, "No, it is not."
Dr. Phil brings up Jake's physical abuse toward Shellye. "The information I've gotten is that you have broken her cheekbone with a phone when you're drinking, that you've grabbed her by the hair and dragged her through the house," he observes. "You've come home stumbling drunk. You fall asleep on top of your daughter to the point that she damn near suffocates. You are drunk in the shower and fall through the shower door dead out on the floor with your son screaming, 'Is daddy dead? Is daddy dead?' The fact that you have a nice suburban home out here that looks good from the curb is no different than if you were a drunk in an alley."
"I know he does," Shellye cries.
"If you have a crisis with that young man, what good are you drunk?" Dr. Phil wonders. "How are you going to feel if you wake up the next morning and you've lost that boy because you were in a drunken haze?"
"What is it going to take for you two to change what you're doing? Are you going to have to lose one of your children?" Dr. Phil inquires.
Jake replies, "Of course not."
Shellye is not so certain. "But it's going to happen. If we don't stop right now, it is going to happen!" she insists.
"Let's say I never came here. I never knocked on that door. What do you think would happen in the next five years? Would you two be divorced?" Dr. Phil asks.
Jake replies, "Without any type of intervention, I would say yes."
Shellye wants to accept the help, but has reservations. "I could not leave Jakob unless I knew he had nursing around the clock," she tells Dr. Phil.
"I got in touch with Travel Nurse across America. They have agreed to provide us with 24-hour nursing care with pediatric ICU nurses here to take care of that boy," Dr. Phil assures her. "This is just the beginning. You need to do this and do it now. Deal?"
"Deal," Shellye says.