Before Dr. Phil will talk about the intervention, he wants them to understand that drug addiction is a progressive, chronic and terminal disease. "It's not going to get better unless something major happens to disrupt the flow of this disease. It's chronic, so it's resistant to change. And it's permanent," Dr. Phil says.
He also believes that if Brandon keeps progressing at the rate he is, he's either going to overdose, or he'll be driving under the influence and kill himself or somebody else. "I could not take this more seriously. We are fighting for this young man's life," states Dr. Phil.
Debbie responds, "Now I know we have to be on the same page together. I'll do whatever it takes to save this kid's life."
Dr. Phil explains that if Brandon had a brain tumor or cancer or some other life-threatening disease, there wouldn't be any limit to what they would do to help him. "This is a disease that lies to the troubled person," he says. "He doesn't see this clearly. When he says, 'I don't have a problem,' he believes that. But when you have a person that doesn't see things clearly, you cannot allow him to make the decisions."
Doug says if Brandon refuses, he could be going to jail for violation of his probation.
"You have to be prepared to not protect him from that," Dr. Phil tells them. They've bailed him out of jail three times already, but this time they have to be prepared to let him suffer the consequences of his actions.
Dr. Phil tells them that when Brandon comes out on stage, he can decide to leave. "I can't stop him," says Dr. Phil. "But you can. If he doesn't want to stay, it's up to you to persuade him otherwise."
Brandon: I'm happy all the time. I've been happy pretty much my whole life ... I'm not really sure what my goals are for the future. I've always wanted to be a pilot. Right now I'm not really doing anything ...
I don't party at all anymore really. Uh, I think, what'd I say again? I think...
Producer: Are you on something?
Brandon: Huh? No. My relationship with my mom is good. I mean, I love my mom. I think we get along great... All my relationships with all my family members are fine ... I don't think we have any problems. I thought everything was fine and dandy.
Brandon: I can't live the life! I don't know what to do, I have nothing!
Debbie: You work, that's how you live a life. You work!
Brandon: You blame everything on me! Everything! You're misunderstanding me mom. I'm yelling at you because you don't see me for what I am! It pisses me off so bad that my sister treats people this way. She is a stuck up, spoiled rotten, little bitch!
He spells out one of the most deadly myths about drug and alcohol addiction: The belief that a person has to "hit bottom" before turning it around and getting help. "That myth has probably killed as many people as any mistruth I have ever heard," explains Dr. Phil. "It is absolutely untrue. Because bottom may be six feet under. He's ready for help now because he's still alive, he's still using, and there's still hope to turn this kid's life around."
Dr. Phil drives home the point that they cannot trust Brandon's judgment. "You're sitting there and arguing with him. You might as well be talking to a wall, Debbie, because you're not talking to him, you're talking to the drugs," he says.
Dr. Phil tells Doug and Debbie the decision they need to make right now is that Brandon's options are either jail or treatment. They need to tell Brandon: "You're not coming back in the house, you're not yelling at me anymore, you're not screaming at your brother and sister anymore. You're going to jail or you're going to treatment, and those are your two choices." Dr. Phil asks them if they are prepared to do that. "Because if you're not, if you waffle, then we lose and he dies."
Debbie says that she is ready. "I have to be," she says.
He tells them, "I can't make this decision. You guys have to make this decision, but you have to stop enabling, and that means you have to play hardball."
He continues: "You must be as loving and caring and concerned with him as I know you feel in your hearts. I'm not asking any of you to be mean to your brother or your son. The comfort zone for him is yelling and screaming. That is a great way to avoid. We're not going to do that. We're going to confront him with content. And there is one issue here, and one issue only, and that is his chemically related behavior. We don't want to talk about anything else."
Debbie explains that she previously feared that Brandon may choose to leave the house rather than seek treatment, and admits that it was easier to watch Brandon deteriorate, rather than wonder where he was.
"What makes it easier for you is not necessarily what's best for him," says Dr. Phil. "It's past that. It's gone beyond parenting." He reminds her that Brandon is lying to her now. "An idiot can see that he's on something. He can't talk, he can't remember. He's operating a motor vehicle like that. Your worst nightmare is for him to kill himself and someone else. So at some point you need to say, 'That's enough.'"
Dr. Phil goes over some of the rules of the intervention and lets them in on a surprise. "What you don't know," explains Dr. Phil, "is we have arranged for, what I believe, is the top drug treatment center in the country. It's all paid for, and the director of the program is waiting on the curb for Brandon. All we have to do is get him there. And he won't like it and he won't want to go. But he will be glad he's there once he is."