A Life Hanging in the Balance
"When I first started using marijuana, I was 11. When I turned 16, the first hard opiate I did was methadone. I have been an addict from the time I was 16 until now, when I'm 20," Amanda recounts. "People's first thought is always, ‘You do drugs? You're too pretty for this.' Anybody can look beautiful on the outside, but have some dark, unexpected things on the inside. In my case, I am a drug addict. I do lie, I steal, I cheat. I use people to get what I want. The last time I got high was yesterday."
[AD]Amanda points to a tapestry of discolored veins in her hands. "I shoot up OxyContin, morphine, Opana, Dilaudid, heroin " pretty much any prescription pill that is shootable," the young woman reveals. She recalls a shameful period in her past. "I shoplifted from the store on the military base. The judge ordered that I be put on probation. That also included that I would be drug tested. I really screwed it up because I failed a drug test. I had been smoking crack, shooting heroin and smoking weed on a daily basis. I got sentenced to a month in jail. Drugs, for me, are definitely a love/hate relationship. I love them more than everything, but at the same time, they control me."
Dr. Phil cameras follow Amanda as she prepares to come to the show.
Dr. Phil addresses Amanda. "You're here. Why?" he asks.
"I'm 20 now, I have no life, I'm a complete bum, and I want to change," she answers, her voice breaking. "I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to live like this. I'm miserable. I'm ruining my parents. I'm ruining my whole family. I'm ruining myself, and I'm just tired."
"Do you believe your life hangs in balance?" Dr. Phil inquires.
"I do believe that if I continue the way I am, I don't think I will live very long and definitely not a happy life," she replies.
Dr. Phil recites a list of Amanda's bad behavior. "You started drinking at 12. You were sneaking alcohol to school in an apple juice bottle at 15 because you wanted to be bad ass," he says, consulting his notes. [AD]
"It got me attention," she admits. "It was the cool thing to do."
"You used your lunch money to buy Adderall," Dr. Phil notes.
"Yep. I would bring Pop-Tarts to school instead of buying lunch to save my money up for weed or whatever else came along."
"You were passing out, blacking out, by the time you were 18. You're currently using OxyContin, Dilaudid, morphine and heroin."
Dr. Phil observes that Amanda broke her ankle in a car accident. "A drunken crash. You could have been killed," he admonishes her. Referring to her parents, he says, "Do you get what this has done to these people?"
"I don't think I'll ever be able to fully experience how much I have caused them to hurt," she responds. "I've never had the intention to hurt anybody. I've always felt like it's my life."
"Look your mother in the eye," Dr. Phil instructs. "Do you have any idea what this woman has gone through, just in the last week to fight for you a chance to turn your life around?"
Her face crumpling, Amanda says, "I don't think I could ever feel the pain she's felt over me. To be honest with you, I don't."
"Look your father in the eye. What do you see in his eyes?"
[AD]"Love, pain," she replies tearfully. Her parents are silently weeping.
"Are you high now?" Dr. Phil asks Amanda.
"Did you bring drugs with you here?"
"I brought Suboxone, and I have been taking it just so I wouldn't be sick for the show."
"Are you serious about putting this behind you?" Dr. Phil asks.
"I am very serious about changing," Amanda replies.
"Let's say you leave here today, and you just go back home, and you just pick up your life and move forward. What do you think will happen over the next year?" Dr. Phil asks Amanda
"If you check on me a year later, I'll be in the same situation, living with a different friend, still partying," she replies.
Dr. Phil issues a stern warning to the young woman.
Dr. Phil introduces Rich Whitman, director of La Hacienda Treatment Center. "I asked him to fly here for you because [your parents] reached out to me."
"Thank you," Amanda says, through tears.
"Now's the time to get honest," Rich implores the young lady. "If you're lying to us now, and we toss your stuff, and we find hypodermics, we find stuff, then I'll go back and revisit with Dr. Phil, because then maybe you're really not ready."
[AD]"Is there something you need to tell us?" Dr. Phil asks Amanda. "Don't get this close and screw it up."
"There are needles in my purse, but I don't have any drugs to inject. They're just there in case I found some while I was here," she reveals.
"Are you prepared to kiss these people goodbye and go start digging your way out of this?" Dr. Phil asks, referring to her parents.
"Yes, I am," Amanda answers.