Intervention Follow Up: The Family's Roller Coaster

Intervention Follow Up: The Family's Roller Coaster
Brandon returns straight from rehab.
Although they were successful in getting Brandon into therapy, it wasn't all smooth sailing. Three weeks into treatment, Debbie and Doug joined Brandon for a week of family therapy. They explain how it went the first few days.

Day One: "You cannot even imagine how good it feels to be able to see your son approach you, and know for the first time in years, he's not on drugs," says Doug.

"I felt like he was finally letting us back into his space a little bit," says Debbie. "We went to a movie, and it was exciting to see him laugh, and the three of us to laugh together. It's been a long, long time since we've experienced that."

While they were there, Doug and Debbie listened to a discussion about addiction. Debbie says it was liberating to hear that it wasn't her fault.

Day Two: "Today was a good day for us," says Doug, explaining that today was the first day they heard Brandon admit he was a drug addict. "That's a pretty giant step forward," says Doug.

However, Debbie still senses that Brandon wants to use because of a comment he made about being in treatment only because they wanted him there. "It made me feel as though he were rejecting us," says Debbie.

"Those are the kind of comments that frustrate me," says Doug. "You just want to take him by the shoulders and shake him and reiterate how much you love him and how important this is."

Day Three:
"Today didn't go as well as we hoped it would," says Doug. Although the statistics say otherwise, Brandon thinks he can do this on his own. "I shed some tears of hope over the last two days," says Doug, "and I guess the day ended with really a slap back to reality."

"It was just a really tough day," says Debbie, getting emotional. "It would be so nice if it were the end, that we knew he could go back out into the world. But this is a disease of a lifetime and it's not corrected in 30 days. It's corrected over a lifetime," she says.

Dr. Phil explains there's a cyclical nature to the disease, recalling what he told the family after Brandon showed such promise early on: "You are dealing with euphoria now, but he's going to hate you next week."

As Brandon's 30 days of inpatient treatment started to come to an end, the reality that he was just going through the motions set in. Dr. Phil made a phone call to Brandon's family to help them make some tough decisions.

Debbie says she's scared because she doesn't think Brandon has the strength to stay away from drugs at this time. Doug says, "Coming home is not an option at this point."
Dr. Phil lays it on the line: "This has just begun. Brandon has had some moments where he has broken through, but I think he has been absolutely arrogant, belligerent and abusive with the staff at the facility. He has got to have a reason, a motivation, some leverage on your part where you can make it clear to him that he does have something to lose in this situation."

He tells Doug and Debbie that it's time to raise the stakes with Brandon. He tells them to get in contact with their lawyer and have a court order delivered to Brandon the following day that tells him he has to appear before a judge the morning of his discharge from the treatment center. "He needs to understand that all of a sudden the judge wants to see him. And he's going to see all these statements from these people [he's been abusive to] at the treatment center. I think it's time to just play more hardball with him and I would do it while he is still in the treatment facility," says Dr. Phil.