Jennifer came on the show to get help for her 16-year-old son, Tim, who was drinking, using drugs and had been arrested. Dr. Phil suggested that she put Tim in a supportive and therapeutic environment as soon as possible. At the end of the show, he met with Tim and told him, “I want to send you to a program. It’s designed to help you get off the drugs, get off the alcohol and clear your head and start thinking right.”
With Dr. Phil’s help, Jennifer sent Tim to SUWS of the Carolinas. “The first letters I received were not happy letters. There was some swearing. There was a lot of anger,” she explains of the letters Tim sent her. “Those were kind of tough.” After 90 days, Jennifer went to visit Tim for his graduation. “I am absolutely amazed. I am seeing a different young man than I brought here,” she reflects.
Jack Kline, program director of SUWS, explains, “We’re helping good kids that made bad choices. He changed because he wanted to change.”
Tim shares his thoughts. “My life before was just dead end, and now I want a job, and I want school and I want to have a life,” he says. After SUWS of the Carolinas, Tim went to Aspen Ranch to continue his therapy. “Right now at Aspen, I feel awesome!” he says. He has been going to school every day, is getting good grades and he was the lead in a play. “I found a lot of things that I love to do. I love to write,” he explains.
“Tim will be coming home from Aspen Ranch when he has the tools that he will need to be in the real world. I don’t believe that I’m quite ready for him to come home,” admits Jennifer. “I have to set up boundaries. I’m not going to be treated that way again … When he comes home, I want to be able to trust him, but he’s got to earn it.”
Tim also has his concerns. “I’m very worried about what it’s going to be like with me and my mom, because I’ve manipulated her in the past,” he admits. “I think my biggest struggle will be the temptation to use. I know that all my friends are going to want to suck me back into what I used to do.”
Mark Hobbins from SUWS of Carolina explains when Tim might be able to return. “Tim’s got to make continued progress and show that he’s committed to that progress and is developing his own plan,” he says. “Secondarily we’ve got to make sure that Mom, in this case, is adequately prepared and committed beyond commitment.”
Dr. Phil tells Jennifer that she needs to come up with a plan and clearly defined roles for herself and for Tim so she is ready when he returns home. Both Jennifer and Tim need to be unified to make sure that sobriety prevails, and the manipulation and the enabling is stopped.
Dr. Phil introduces Leslie Rogers, a licensed counselor, who has been working with Jennifer.
“She has a lot to be proud of. She has made some major improvements,” Leslie says. “She is learning to change her behaviors, especially with Tim. But she’s also learning to change the way she thinks about the way she deals with Tim.”
Dr. Phil tells Jennifer, “There is a tendency when people have been apart and come back together to kind of fall back into their old patterns, and if you know that’s coming, then you can resist that.”