Sober Up or Else: Joey, Joani

Her Greatest Fear Come True?

Just three years ago, Joani was a drug addict. Since becoming sober, she's been paying it forward by helping other addicts. For a month, she has been documenting Joey's drinking and the toll it's taking on her and her family. "She was a fellow alcoholic who needed help, and her brother asked me," Joani says.

"Every morning: ‘I'm not drinking today,' and before the day is over, I've got a bottle in my hand," Joey, 54, says. She has been functioning as an alcoholic most of her life.

In Joani's video footage, Joey, drunk, argues with her daughter, Heather.


Joey: You know, your mother is way old enough to get ****** up if she wants to. What the **** do you want from me?

In another scene, Joani focuses the camera on Joey's face, showing a lip injury.


Joani: Show me the lip, and what happened there?
Joey: I don't know.
Joani: You just hit the steering wheel?
Joey: I don't know. I woke up in the hospital.


In another scene, Joani finds Joey in her vehicle, crying. 


Joani: What happened?
Joey: I knew that I couldn't drive home or I was going to kill somebody.

"What I see now with Joey is a very fragile alcoholic in dire need of help," Joani says.

"I have three daughters: Heather, who is 28, Alexandra is 21 and Gloria, who's 19," Joey says. "They are the light of my life, and right now, they pretty much hate me, and that breaks my heart. My drinking is probably killing me, and I know it is killing my family to see me like this."

In various scenes around the home, Joey and Heather are in conflict. 


Joey: Get the **** out of here. Go. Go. I don't want you here.

 

Joey: You don't ******* call me, you don't need me. I'm going to drink the minute she gets out of my face.


Heather: You are so pathetic.
Joey: I am pathetic. I'm sorry, I'm a pathetic person.

"I've been hurt so many times, for so many years, I'm really, I'm beyond hurt," Heather says.

"The holidays were a disaster as usual," Joey says. "Around Thanksgiving, I ended up in rehab for 12 days. I had crashed my car, ended up in a hospital, and then went on a four-day drinking binge."

Joani: So you had the wine in the house, and then drank it before they came over to kind of take the edge off?
Joey: Yeah, I actually went and bought it last night, in case I needed it. It's

like I totally set myself up. And then of course, I lied to them and told them that I hadn't been drinking, and they knew I had. After my family left, I felt terrible, but I proceeded to get totally snockered.

Joey cries on her couch.


Joey: I don't want to be like this. I don't want to hurt. I don't want to wake up in the morning and want to ******* die.

"Since Christmas, it's just kind of spiraled down. I guess I felt after that, what the hell," Joey says. "My daughters have not spoken to me. Heather sent me a text message that said, ‘You are a real piece of ****. Do us all a favor and go away. You are an awful mother and so selfish. Just ******* kill yourself already so we can have
our lives back. Trust me, no one will miss you.'"

Heather says, "I don't think that my mom gives a ****. My mom doesn't care about anyone but herself."

"My greatest fear is that my daughters hate me, and I guess my greatest fear has come true," Joey says.

"This is a difficult situation where a life hangs in the balance. Do you get that? Do you get that a life hangs in the balance here?" Dr. Phil asks Joey.

"Yes, I do," Joey says. "Because I know that if I continue doing this, I'm going to end up dead, and very soon."

"But yet you continue to do it," he says.

"I try to stop. I try not to drink, and it just seems to always end up back there," she says. Joey claims she's only had two drinks so far today.

Dr. Phil looks at his notes. "On your trip to L.A., you had two glasses of wine at the airport, a Bloody Mary on the airplane, two glasses of wine at a layover, two glasses of wine on the second airplane, two glasses of wine at the hotel, two glasses of wine with dinner, and you drank all but four ounces of a bottle of wine in your room. Where's the trying part?"

"That was a little exaggerated. I didn't drink that much," Joey says.

"OK, let's cut it in half," Dr. Phil says. "I'll play this ridiculous game with you. Let's say it was one glass of wine at the airport, half of a Bloody Mary on the airplane, one glass of wine at a layover, another glass of wine on the second airplane, another glass of wine at the hotel, one glass of wine with dinner, and all but eight ounces of a bottle of wine in your room. What is your point? What are you trying to tell me, that we're exaggerating your situation?"

"No," she says.
"Are you an absolute, falling-down, non-functional drunk or not?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Yes," Joey says. 

"Do you drive drunk?"

"Yes."

"Have you smashed your face into the steering wheel and split your lip open driving drunk?"

"Yes."

"Did you have to call Joani, who seems to be the [Energizer] bunny, relentless in energy, to come get you off the freeway before you killed somebody?"

"Yes."

"Have you ruined Christmas over, and over and over again?"

"Yes."

"And you want to argue with me about whether you had one glass of wine or two? Do not waste my time, woman!" Dr. Phil tells her. He implores her to tell the truth.