Second Chances: Tina, Joe


Tina talks about her son, Chanse, 21. "He's been struggling with drug addiction, homelessness. He started out with alcohol and pot, spiked all the way up to heroin, crack, ecstasy. That's just what I know about."

"I worry about my son, Chanse," says his father, Joe. "My biggest fear is he's going to spend a lot of time in jail, or he's going to end up dead."

"He can be violent, and he's very manipulative," Tina says. "Drug addicts are very manipulative. The sad thing is I know that because I'm in recovery. I've been clean and sober for 22 years."

Tina and Joe met in recovery, when they were both going to 12-step meetings. "My relationship with Chanse's father was rocky. It was just verbally abusive. I thought it would be better for me and my son if I left. Chanse was about 5 1/2 when Joe and I split up," Tina explains. "Chanse started acting out, doing poorly in school. He had anger outbursts. When Chanse first started getting into trouble, as far as drugs and alcohol, we got counseling. I worked very hard to get him into a school for kids who had behavioral problems and drug issues. The breaking point came for me and Chanse when I was taking him to his school, and he didn't want to go to this school and stay there. He was hugging me in the lobby of the school, and he just turned on me, and threw me into the wall, grabbed my keys, ran out the door, jumped in my car. He was gone for about two days."

[AD]"A few days later, I knew where he was hanging out, so I went up there, and I got him," Joe says. "He had turned himself in, and I ended up bailing him out. He came to live with me after that."

"I stopped talking to Chanse on a regular basis when he went to live with his father. I didn't see him probably for a year," Tina says.

"Chanse had been with me three or four years before I started using again," Joe says. "I was upstairs in my bedroom, going full tilt with my drugs, and Chanse was downstairs in his bedroom, going full tilt with his drugs. And then it, like, evolved. We'd get high together. I was using heroin, and he was smoking crack. If he couldn't get his, he did mine."

"It's like a stab in my heart, every time I even think about it. My son shooting dope with his dad," Tina says. "They couldn't stay together anymore. Chanse left his dad. He asked me to help him again. I told him, ‘There are conditions to live in my house: Go to rehab.'" Chanse chose to leave. "And that's pretty much where he's been, is homeless."

[AD]"I want to be there for him all the time. I would love to accommodate Chanse and help him in any way that I can. It's just not possible at the moment," Joe says.

"He's only a moment away from shooting dope again," Tina says. "I just don't want the last call I get about my kid is he's dead. The biggest fear is that I won't get a call at all, and I won't know where he is, because there've been times when I haven't heard from him in months."

Chanse has recently moved back home with his mother, after living in a vehicle in freezing weather.

Tina and Joe rarely see each other, but make a united front when it comes to saving Chanse. Joe has been clean for nearly two years.

Dr. Phil doesn't mince words. "At this point, I don't think he could've been more sabotaged than if you set out to sabotage him," he says. "Did you do drugs with your boy?" he asks Joe.

"Yes," he says.

"You've got a young man here, 18, 19 years old, doing drugs with his dad," Dr. Phil says. "You did heroin with your son. Does that not hit, like, 10 on the Richter scale? You're his role model, right? The most powerful influence in any young man's life is his father, and you did drugs with him, and you modeled drug behavior for him long before you did drugs with him, correct?"


Dr. Phil goes over Chanse's history: His parents got divorced when he was 5. He started having trouble in school at that point. In seventh grade, Chanse had separation anxiety when he wasn't with his father. At 13 or 14, he starts abusing drugs. He stole Tina's car at 15. Tina started dating, and Chanse had conflicts with the men. Tina marries another man, and he is abusive with Chanse.

Dr. Phil explains how Tina and Joe sabotaged their son.

Dr. Phil goes over the facts that prove Chanse grew up in a drug culture. "We've got two people who are drug addicts. They meet at a drug meeting, in violation of principles of that organization, of what is recommended by that organization. By the seventh grade, he's using drugs. He's done drugs with his father. He has done heroin with Daddy!"

"I get that," Tina says.

"It has dominated his life from the time he was in sixth and seventh grade forward," Dr. Phil says. "Do you feel like he thinks you were irresponsible in the men you brought into your life and his?"

"Yes, he does," she says.

Dr. Phil plays a clip from a fight between Chanse and Tina caught on tape. In it, Chanse accuses his mother of not being a mother to him. She tells him he has to go to rehab if he wants to live with her. He says he just wants a couple weeks to get some money under his belt, and then he'll leave.

Dr. Phil introduces Joani, the woman behind the camera during Tina and Chanse's fight. As a recovering addict clean for three years, Joani pays it forward by helping others with addiction problems.

She tells Dr. Phil, "Let me say right off the bat, Chanse has got a great heart. I do a lot of interventions, and there are a lot of snarly kids. Chanse has a good chance. There's a good heart in there, and I think he did grow up in circumstances that were very much less than ideal. I feel your frustration with Tina right now is that you're not breaking through. I feel there's probably some denial there about his upbringing, and I think Tina's having a hard time, and Joe's having a hard time breaking through that. Their lack of reaction is what we're seeing."

[AD]"I'm not sure. I think part of it is you've lived it," Dr. Phil tells Tina. "You've been in the culture, so you're bar is really low on what's acceptable. You said in the tape piece with your son, ‘Then just go get high. I don't care.' I know you don't mean that, but that is what this has gotten to, this is what it has deteriorated to. That is not OK. The bar is too low."