A Husband's Grief

Dr. Phil cameras catch a tense moment when Isaac confronts his wife about her drug use. "What are you high on today? Your regular pills? Answer me, please," Isaac says.

"Vicodin," Star mumbles.

"And how many did you take today?"

"Twelve," she answers. "I don't want to take the pills. I want to stop."

"Well, then stop!"


"I can't on my own."

"Good. Maybe when the police get here, they'll make you stop," Isaac warns.

"So that's what you're going to do instead of letting me go get help?"

"I've got little children to take care of," Isaac says.

"I'm sick, and I need help. You can't call the police on me. I need help," Star says, gripping her temples in frustration. "It's not a game; it's my life, Isaac."

"It's not only your life; it's the life of these four innocent children and mine," Isaac counters. "You're ruining our lives."

"You don't understand. If I stop taking these pills, I will have seizures," Star says. Then she dissolves into tears. "I want to stop. I just want to stop."

"I don't believe anything you have to say," Isaac says.

"What are you doing to get your pills?" Isaac asks Star.

"I got some from *," she replies.


"What kind of pills?"

"Vicodin," she answers. "About a week ago, she gave me, like, 30."

"She gave you 30?" Isaac asks in astonishment.

When Star nods, Isaac calls the person who most recently supplied his wife with drugs. "My wife has a problem with pills. I'm asking you nicely not to give her anything, nothing, not even aspirin," he says on the phone. "I will do everything that it takes to get everybody to stop giving her these pills. I'm not a saint, you're not a saint, but if I have to call the police on you, I will."

When the videotape ends, Dr. Phil faces Star. "Who is this woman who's giving you these pills?" he inquires.

 

"Somebody I met at church," she replies.

"You told them some lie that you were hurting, and so they took it upon themselves to start medicating you?"

"I just asked, and they just gave," Star responds, reiterating that she was given 30 Vicodin.

"Which lasts you how long? A day?" Dr. Phil inquires.

"A day or a day and a half."

"So they gave you 30 Vicodin, which got you through, like, a Monday," Dr. Phil muses. When an image of Star's children appears on a large screen behind the two of them, he asks, "What do you say to yourself when you put them in the car and drive?"

"I usually leave [the younger children] at home with my 11-year-old when I go," Star says. "When I get in the car, I'm in denial. I have one thing on my mind, and that is to get my pills. When I get my pills, I'm fine. But when I'm coming down, I hate myself. I hate myself for what I've become. I hate myself for what I'm doing to my children. I hate myself for not being the mom to those precious angels who deserve better than what I have become."

"Do you know how this is affecting your 11-year-old?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I know she's angry. I know she's hurt. I know she's mad," she replies.

Dr. Phil plays Autumn's taped reaction to her mother's addiction.

 

"My mom's not the same person she used to be, because she's on all this medication and pills. She just misses out on a lot of things. I have to miss school dances and stuff like that," the pre-teen laments. "I just feel that the situation is very sad for me, and probably for my younger siblings. I just wish she could be the mom she used to be to all of us kids. So I wish you, Dr. Phil, will please help my mom."

 

When the video ends, Star blinks back tears. "That breaks my heart," she says. "I don't know who I am anymore."

"Did it break your heart yesterday? The day before? Six months ago?" Dr. Phil probes.

"It's probably been in the last month that I saw it affecting her, that it has started to break my heart," Star replies.

"At no time did you ever have a lucid moment where you said, ‘I'm deceiving my husband, I'm cheating my children, I am an absolute drug addict, and I'm out of control'?"

"I knew it was wrong, but I never came to the point where I thought it was out of control," Star maintains.

Dr. Phil hands Star a copy of his new book, Real Life: Preparing for the 7 Most Challenging Days of Your Life. He instructs her to read aloud from Chapter 9, which deals with addiction. "'If this is the day when you have been hit square between the eyes with the reality that you have a genuine addiction " are a junkie, a dope fiend, or a drunk " then let me be very clear: your life is in danger,'" she reads. "'If you are functioning in this world, parenting children, driving a car, or performing other activities that can and do affect others, you may also be putting other people's lives in danger.'"

"Do you believe that?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Absolutely," she replies. "That's exactly what I'm doing."

Dr. Phil reads another excerpt. "'I don't care how smart you are, how sophisticated you are, or how nice a house you live in " if you're a drug addict or an alcoholic, you are out of control, and you'd better wake up right now ... Don't con yourself into thinking that the situation is different if you get the substance legally, versus scoring it from some dealer in a dark alley. The fact that you or a loved one have a prescription signed by a doctor folded up in your purse or pocket doesn't change the power and life-threatening nature of addiction. It also doesn't matter that you started taking the drugs for a legitimate reason … if you're now doctor-hopping, or getting drugs off the Internet or anywhere else, you are no different from somebody who is buying them from some dealer on the street."

"I agree with that," Star says.

Dr. Phil wonders aloud how Isaac could have missed the red flags. "I assume you just don't want to see it," he says. Then he refers to another low point in Star and Isaac's relationship. "How do you feel about the affair?"


"I'm very sad. I'm very hurt, but I also have a deep, deep love for my wife," he replies. "I would do anything to help her, and I'll do just about anything for her. I hold her on the highest of pedestals. Maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough, or I didn't want to see those kinds of things."

"How does it feel to hear him say that after everything you've done to him and to his children?" Dr. Phil asks Star.

"That I do not deserve him, that I don't deserve my children right now. I'm very lucky to have a man who is willing to support me after causing so much pain to him and neglecting our children," she answers tearfully."

"You would rather be alone and take your pills than you would to be with your children and your husband. Isn't that true?" Dr Phil asks the broken woman.


"At this point, Dr. Phil, I would rather get off the pills and get sober," Star replies.

"Logically, in the back of your mind, you know that's sick, but behaviorally, emotionally, you continue to do it."

"I don't know how to stop it, Dr. Phil, by myself."

"What do you think is going to happen to your kids if you continue like you are?" Dr. Phil asks. 

"I will get a divorce, and my husband will get full custody. They will be without a mother," she replies.

"And then what will you do?" Dr. Phil probes.

"I will either end up in prison or dead."

"You'll end up in prison, because you'll be robbing somebody, or you'll be driving under the influence and kill somebody," Dr. Phil observes.

"Right, or I'll kill myself. I won't wake up one morning," she adds.

Dr. Phil notes that Isaac feels compassion for his wife but contemplates divorce. "Are you done?" he asks.

"If I don't see any action on her part, I'm going to have to be selfish for a change, and just think about me and my kids just and let her go on her own way," Isaac says.

"You have a duty to those children, right?"

"Yes, sir."

"How do you feel, as a mother, to hear that he has a duty to protect his children from you?" Dr. Phil asks Star.

 

"It makes me feel sick that it has come to this, but thank God that he is sober and can see that. I know my children will be taken care of by him if I don't get help," Star replies.