The Price of Privilege: Joel

The Price of Privilege: Joel

"My son, Joel, likes to live like a rock star," Esther says. "He still lives at home, and we pretty much take care of everything for him."

"My main thing is I want to get into
music," Joel, 25, says. "I'd like to be a music producer."

"Joel lives in the fast lane by staying up all night and sleeping all day," Esther says. "I definitely believe Joel has a drinking problem."

"Some days I'll have one or two beers, other days eight to 12," Joel
admits. "I smoke pot, crystal meth, mushrooms, acid, ecstasy, I think. That's as much as I can remember. Oh yeah, coke!"

"Joel has had two DUIs," his father, Derrell, says.

"He spent six weeks in jail. It was over Mother's Day," Esther says.

"We have paid his court fees. We buy his clothes. We buy food for him. Esther always does his laundry. He's well provided for," Derrell says.


Joel's party animal lifestyle has already landed him in the intensive care unit. "One Thanksgiving morning, I was very, very drunk, and I had a tragic accident, and I fell off my two-and-a-half story balcony," Joel explains. "I'd broken my back, broke my femur in three places, broke three ribs in four different places." Still, Joel
admits, "I've tried to quit drinking. It doesn't always last."

"When Joel fell off the balcony, that was a wake-up call," Derrell says. "I should've kicked him out a long time ago. If I had done that in the very beginning, he would've had more respect for me. I dropped the ball."

"You say you're afraid he's on the path to becoming an alcoholic?" Dr. Phil asks Derrell.

"Yes, I do," he says.


Esther agrees.


Dr. Phil goes over Joel's history, including getting so drunk that he fell off a balcony and almost died, and getting two DUIs. "You were drunk," Dr. Phil says.

"I wasn't even buzzed, to tell you the truth."

"But you did have a suspended license," Dr. Phil points out.


"Yeah, I didn't even know I had a suspended license at that time," Joel says.


"Seems tuned in to me," Dr. Phil says sarcastically.

Dr. Phil addresses Joel's parents. "This is what you call on the path?"


Joel tells Dr. Phil that he has it all under control.  

"Weren't you drunk last Saturday?" Dr. Phil asks him. 

Joel denies this, though his father confirms. Joel says, "My dad likes to " he sees things on his own. I think he's on stuff sometimes."

"Yeah, he's probably not seeing things clearly like yourself," Dr. Phil says with an ironic tone. "You say that the reason you're having this trouble is that ‘the cops just don't like me.'"

"They don't, no," Joel says. "Of course not. I get stopped all the time. I'll just be walking down the street, and they'll stop me. ‘You've got to be careful. You have that face. You have that look. Just be careful.' And I'll get in trouble for stuff I didn't even do." Joel continues to explain how he's targeted by the police.

"Maybe it's just a conspiracy to get you," Dr. Phil suggests. He turns to his previous guest, Sean Stewart. "You've been in rehab eight or nine times. Do you believe all this?"

"I think he's a full-blown alcoholic," Sean says.

"Yeah, I do too," Dr. Phil says.

Dr. Phil asks Darrell and Esther, "So why do y'all have rules if you're not going to enforce them?"

"That's where I dropped the ball. I should've had that loving firmness from the very beginning, and I just caved in," Darrell admits.

"This guy, in my opinion, is an alcoholic," Dr. Phil says. "I think that's a psychological addiction. I think it's a physiological addiction. And he's already almost killed himself. And you say,
Esther, that you would like to be stronger, but he makes that cute face, and you just melt."

"Yeah, I know I'm doing wrong," she says. "As a mother, I want to encourage him, and I don't know what the balance is."

"What balance point are you confused about?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I don't know. I want to protect him, but I know that he's an adult, and I'm hindering him from being responsible and becoming an adult," she says.
"You're doing that for you," Dr. Phil tells Esther. "You're not doing that for him; you're doing that for you because you don't want to feel the guilt. You don't want to feel the challenge of having to lay down the law and tell this boy no … I mean, come on! You paid his fines so he wouldn't have to go to jail? That's exactly where he needs to be, is in jail. Seriously. He needed to go to jail. He did things to put himself in jail. He didn't meet his obligations to then stay out of jail. He was allowed to make the bad decision before. He didn't respect the court enough to pay fees and do the things he needs to do. He violated their orders and was driving without a driver's license again, is still drinking, is still drugging, and is still out there, and he could kill me, you, you, anyone out there because y'all don't want to hurt his feelings. What you're doing is undermining him. Necessity is the mother of invention. If he doesn't have to do better, he's not going to do better."

He tells Joel, "And I'm not even upset with you about this that much because I think you have so little insight that you don't have a clue where you are."

"I understand where I'm at right now," Joel says.

"Do you have a drinking problem?"

"I did. I honestly do not think I have a drinking problem right now," he says.

"Then you don't know where you are right now," Dr. Phil tells him firmly.
He turns to Darrell and Esther. "You're afraid he may be on the path to be an alcoholic? He is a full-blown alcoholic and drug-addicted individual. He's going to kill himself and somebody else if [he doesn't]
shape up. And you guys are allowing him to do it. You are enabling him, you are empowering him to do this. And you need to stop, and if it comes time for him to go to jail, hand him a toothbrush and let him go." He turns back to Joel, "And you need to know they're not going to bail you out again."

At the end of the show, Dr. Phil offers help for Joel, on the condition that he does the work and his parents stop sabotaging him. They accept.