Follow-ups: Laura

A Recovering Addict
Dr. Phil follows up with Laura about her drug treatment for ephedrine addiction.
Admitting that she was addicted to ephedrine, Laura entered the La Hacienda drug rehabilitation program at Dr. Phil's request, and began treatment for her 11-year addiction to ephedrine.

"When Dr. Phil said, 'You have to fight for your life,' I didn't really think my life was that important," she recalls.

"It wasn't until I was halfway through treatment that I realized if I didn't get off drugs, I was going to die."

Even though Laura showed improvement at La Hacienda, she relapsed within four days of being home. "I took six to eight ephedrine, and I kept them down for awhile before I vomited them up," she remembers.

After hiding her addiction for nearly 12 years, Laura is now learning to be honest with herself and others. "Life is so much better," she says.

She thanks Dr. Phil for helping her kick her ephedrine addiction. "I'm completely sober now," she says. "Thank you for helping save my life."

Dr. Phil tells Laura that she looks 10 years younger than she did on the first show. "Do you feel better?" he asks.

"One hundred percent better," she confirms. "My life is so much better now."

"You said that everything I was saying to you that day didn't really sink in and hit home until a week or two later," Dr. Phil says.


"It wasn't until I was off alcohol and drugs that I really got it, that I was worth something," she says, admitting that it took about two weeks of treatment at La Hacienda for her head to clear. "I was

surrounded by people who were saying, 'Hey, listen, your life is worth it.'"


Dr. Phil turns to Laura's mother, Elizabeth, and wonders if she's noticed a change in Laura.


"Oh, absolutely," Elizabeth replies. "I'm starting to get my daughter back."

"Do you still have urges?" Dr. Phil asks Laura.

"Oh yeah. All the time," she answers, explaining that as a bartender, she was in a fast-paced environment that demanded a lot of energy. "Everybody around me uses speed and cocaine," she points out. "And that's the same thing that ephedrine did for me. It's been real hard to be back there and notice what everybody else is doing," she says, adding that working 10 to 12 hour shifts was difficult without the boost of energy that ephedrine provided.

"Have you noticed that they're threatened by your sobriety?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Yeah," Laura laughs. "I got fired."

"Because you don't fit in anymore," he says.

Now that Laura's mind is not clouded with drugs and alcohol, Dr. Phil tells her that she must deal with everyday issues like bills, debt and relationship problems. "Sobriety will save your life, but it won't fix it," he says.

"That's another reason I want to use," Laura admits. "I look at my life and I go, 'I don't want to pay these bills.'" Another difficult issue is that her relationship with her father is now strained.

"He resents what you've put the family through, and you resent his lack of support at this point," Dr. Phil observes. He tells Laura that her father declined his offer to appear on the show. "At one level, I understand his resentment, because you have dragged this family through some really tough stuff," he says.

Laura believes her dad is exaggerating the amount of debt she actually owes. Dr. Phil asks, "Does it really matter whether it's your number or his number? What matters is you did create some problems through your choices and you have to own that."

Dr. Phil points out that since Laura has been abusing drugs since she was 19 years old, her social development has been arrested. "So you still kind of look at the world through teenage eyes," he explains. "I hate to tell you, but you're 30. You're not 18 or 19, and there are different expectancies and different responsibilities that come from that."

He advises Laura to be patient with her father and with herself because sobriety is going to take time. The good news is that Laura

has shown improvement since starting treatment.


"A little bird told me that you may have been the hardest working person to ever go through the La Hacienda program," Dr. Phil announces, as the audience applauds. "You've progressed further in less time with your 12 steps than almost anybody has."


Even with her progress, Dr. Phil cautions Laura about the danger of relapse, pointing out that she started taking ephedrine only four days after returning home from La Hacienda. "You need to respect the danger of that, and keep moving one step at a time," he says.