Taken a Toll

"Before I started using, my life was good," Diana says. "I graduated high school. I went on to college. I was a preschool teacher for the YMCA, and I loved that."

Her sister, Anita, says, "I think things started getting bad for Diana when she stopped teaching preschool, and she wanted to make more money."

"I started dancing when I was 23," Diana says. "At the time, I was working at a restaurant. When I first started dancing, I was all about the money. I dabbled here and there with drugs, once in a while with cocaine."

"She told me that she had been dabbling in Oxycontin and Percocet," Anita recalls.

"Then it progressed to hanging out late nights, needing more drugs to get up the next day and do it all over again," Diana says. "I was surrounding myself with nothing but addicts."

Diana's father, Jaime, says, "I noticed my daughter's looks had changed. Her weight was down. She just didn't look like the Diana I knew."

Diana says the drugs have taken a toll on her looks. Her nose has collapsed from years of snorting cocaine and her voice is always raspy. It put a dent in her wallet as well. "When I was shooting cocaine, my drug addiction probably would cost me anywhere from $300 to $500 a day. And with heroin, it's a lot cheaper, and an average day would be like $100, $90," Diana explains.

"I would try to help my sister without getting my parents involved," Anita says. "Then, with the whole needle thing, I just didn't know what to do anymore. My sister has gone to the point of pawning family heirlooms."

[AD]"When I was little, I couldn't have even imagined being a drug addict," Diana says. "I feel like I've accomplished nothing. I've wasted my youth and opportunities for a better life. So, even though I hate the drugs too, my obsession with the drugs is more powerful than I am." Diana cries and says, "I view my sister as being what I want to be. And I'm the sister, the one in the family who has just failed, who just is a junkie."

Jaime says he had no idea his daughter was a drug addict until about two months ago. Diana's sister, Anita, called Joani because she saw her on the Dr. Phil show and thought maybe she could help. Joani led Diana's family through an intervention for Diana before Jaime sent her to a 28-day rehab program. A week after she was released from treatment, she relapsed. Diana phoned Joani for help again.


Diana explains to Joani, "I got out of rehab, everything was going [well]. I just got really depressed again. I just got that itch to use, and I thought, OK, I'm just going to do it, just this once."

She shows Joani the drugs she recently purchased. "This was $300," she says.

[AD]"How long will that last you?" Joani asks.

"Probably … five hours," she says. She reflects on how her life spiraled back down so quickly. "Since my boyfriend kicked me out, I got my car stolen, $600 and my cell phone, all in three days of relapsing. I know it's, like, sick, but every single time I've shot my arm up, for some reason I think, what if your father saw you now? You're disgusting. I want to be a certain person so bad, and I know I can be, but I just feel like the drugs won."

Joani reports to Dr. Phil that Diana is the worst addict she's ever dealt with, and that dealing with a severe cocaine addict is like dealing with a wild animal. She joins Diana and her family onstage.

"Tell me why you're here," Dr. Phil says to Diana.

"You know, I thought it was normal," Diana says. "I was just living the, I guess, average life for a teenager, for a young adult, partying recreationally, having a good time, but [somewhere] along the lines I just lost myself and veered off path and " "

"Are you out of control now?"

"I'm out of control," she admits. 

"By the way, are you high right now?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No, not today. No," she says. "I don't have any drugs. I had nothing. Joani knows that."

Dr. Phil looks to Joani, who reports, "She drank a bottle of wine for breakfast."

"Yeah, I drank some Chardonnay this morning just because I was so nervous, and my nerves were bad, and I thought, this is it," Diana says. "I didn't finish the whole bottle. I just had, like, two glasses."

"You don't consider yourself high or inebriated as you sit here now?"

"No, I'm not," she says.

Dr. Phil turns to Jaime. "Dad, you said you didn't know about this until, like, two months ago? How could you not?"

"I hadn't seen her for six months, and every time she would drop by the house, she would, to me, appear to be normal. So, it was just one of those things. I just didn't know," Jaime says.

"OK, do you get it now?"

"Oh, yes," he says. 

[AD]"Do you get that her life's in danger?" Dr. Phil asks. "Do you get that she's [overdosed] four times in the last three years?"


Dr. Phil says to Anita, "And you get that, because you didn't just know about this two months ago."

"Yes, I feel a lot of guilt for it," she says, referring to hiding Diana's problem from her parents.

"That was then; this is now. Do you get it now? I've got to know that we understand each other."

"Yes," she says.

Dr. Phil turns to Diana. "Do you really, really want to stop?" he asks.

"Yes, I do," she says, crying. "I hate the person that I am. I really do. I hate living. I don't know. I feel I sold myself to drugs. I feel like I'm nothing. I don't know how to do it."

Anita weeps as she listens to her sister cry.

Dr. Phil tells Diana's family. "Let me go over some things with you, and I want you guys to know the gravity of what we're talking about here. These are some notes that Joani gave us: Number one, she said [Diana] was the worst addict that she had ever dealt with. ‘It's like Diana is possessed.' She said that Diana told her that she plans to deflect and blame her addiction on her parents, saying it's all their fault, and that she shot up in the neck at the airport on the way to LA." He asks Joani, "Is that true?"

"Yes, it's true. It was a very, very frightening transport. It was the worst travel day that I've had with a patient," Joani says.  

"So, you shot up in the neck at the airport?" Dr. Phil asks Diana.

"Yes, I did. It was my last supply and " "

"No, it wasn't," Dr. Phil interrupts. "Let's talk about the day before the show. At 6:00 p.m., you cashed a check for $130 and asked the cab driver where to buy cocaine. You bought $130 in powder cocaine and snorted it. At 9:20, you took two Suboxone and nearly drank an entire bottle of wine."

"I didn't take two Suboxone. I only had half," Diana says.

Dr. Phil continues. "And at 2:30 in the morning, you ask Joani for Tylenol PM, and you told her that you were afraid I was going to be hard on you."

"I was just being honest, saying I was nervous about the show. I was just asking her about her experiences here," she says.

"Then [today], you were picked up by a man at 2:30 in the morning to go buy cocaine. He took you to an apartment, but you didn't go in because you thought it was shady, but you did score three hits of crack. That's today," Dr. Phil points out.

[AD]"Mm-hm," she agrees.

"I asked you a few minutes ago if you were high now " "

"This was at, like, 4:00 in the morning. Crack only lasts for, like, a second," she says. 

"It's not noon yet," Dr. Phil points out.

"That's why I'm sick. That's why I'm sick," she says, crying. "I can't stand being in my own skin. I don't know what to do anymore."