Young Women in Trouble: Liz cont'd

Time to Face Her Pain
In a previous interview, Liz explains, "I was using drugs steadily for about a year and a half after Brennan passed away, and it's because I didn't want to feel anything. I wanted to be numb. I didn't want to feel the grief and the pain of having lost him."

"I knew there was a problem," Sean admits. "I didn't think it was going to be heroin. I thought it was going to be a list of prescription drugs. I couldn't say anything to her because I was utterly speechless. I just couldn't believe it. I was in shock."

Liz travels the streets, looking for a fix. She texts a dealer to find out where he is. She gets directions and scores some pills. "These are two pills of scramble. Scramble is heroin mixed with something else, usually it's quinine, because it's supposed to intensify the rush," she explains.

Liz remembers the first time she took heroin. "It got me right away. I would inject it, maybe 10 times in a day. I've pawned a lot of my family's belongings. I also took money from my husband and other family members."

[AD]"I was just angry and in shock that things were missing from my house. It was horrible," Sean says.

Liz says she now lives in desperation, trying to get a fix.

"I'm actually living this," Sean says. "That's not really much of a relationship right now. It's hard walking around knowing that the person you're living with you can't trust."

"Personally, I feel that I have hit my rock bottom, yes," Liz says. "I don't see how much lower I can go."

After seeing her story on tape, Liz tearfully tells Dr. Phil, "It's really hard to watch."

"Are you an addict?" he asks.

"Yes," she says, adding that she's not high at the moment but is taking methadone to relieve her withdrawal symptoms.

"Why are you here today?"

"Because I feel we're in crisis, and we need help," she says. 

"What is the crisis?"

Liz struggles to hold back her tears. "My addiction and the not grieving over my son," she says.

"What do you say to yourself about the loss of Brennan?" Dr. Phil asks.

"It's my fault," she says. "Because he was with me, and I couldn't protect him." Tears spill down Liz's face, despite her efforts to keep them at bay.

"Were you taking any drugs at the time?"

"No," she says.

"Why did you have so many prescription bags stuffed under beds and around the house?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I did for tramadol, but I didn't take it," Liz explains. "In the beginning, when I was taking tramadol, and I knew I was taking too much, I would hide it throughout the house. I probably still do have pill bottles from years ago throughout the house."

[AD]"So, all of those sacks, all of those bottles, were just really old?"

"A lot of them. I wasn't using with Brennan," she reiterates.

"We know he was born healthy, so you weren't using during the pregnancy," Dr. Phil acknowledges. "What could you and should you have done differently?"

"I don't know. It goes back to should I have left him in his crib to sleep? Or, should I not have taken him downstairs with me that morning?" she questions.

Liz says she started taking drugs soon after her son's death so she didn't have to feel. She says she started with Percocet and OxyContin but now injects heroin. "It's a complete numbing effect. You don't feel anything. You don't want anything. You don't want to do anything," she says.

"How'd you feel when you were stealing things from the family?" he asks.

"I felt horrible," she says. 

Liz has stolen a number of items, including electronics, jewelry and tools, from her family. She even stole a video game system, and when it was replaced, she stole it again. She agrees that nothing stops her when she needs a fix.

"I mean, stealing from your own family is pretty much the bottom of the barrel," Dr. Phil says, and she agrees.

Dr. Phil asks Liz the hard questions.

 

[AD]"What if you being here is no accident?" Dr. Phil asks her. "What if you being here at this moment in time is because this is your chance to turn this around? What if all of this conspiring around you is to give you your chance to turn this around? That wouldn't be happening if you didn't deserve it on some level, do you suppose?"

"Right," she says.

"Everyone tells me you're really smart. It's time to be really smart now. I'm going to give you an opportunity to turn yourself around here," Dr. Phil tells her.

Dr. Phil turns to Sean. "You're done if she doesn't do something."

"Yes. There's no fight left in me to try to get her back on the right path. I've done everything I thought I could do," he says.

Dr. Phil asks Liz, "Do you care? Or are you so drugged out, so numbed out, that you don't feel anything for him?"

"No, I do care," Liz says, sharing that she still loves her husband.

Dr. Phil tells Liz she has a serious problem and offers her the opportunity for serious treatment. He introduces Velvet Mangen, director of the Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women. "I'm going to offer you the opportunity to go to Safe Harbor," he says. Dr. Phil warns her she has to leave for rehab immediately, and she could be gone for a long time. "Will you do it?"

Liz pauses before saying, "OK."

"That is not a convincing answer to me," he says. Dr. Phil looks at her and waits. "What do you want to say?"

Liz stifles her tears but doesn't speak. Minutes go by as Dr. Phil waits for her answer.

"If you don't want to go, pack your ass out of here and go home!"

 

Dr. Phil doesn't like Liz's attitude. "I've got 10,000 people writing letters to the show every day, looking for help, and you act like you're doing us all a favor. This is your life. A thank you would be appropriate," he says. He tells her that if she doesn't want the opportunity, she doesn't have to take it. He also chastises her family for not having much to say. "I guarantee you, if my daughter was facing death or health, I'd have something to say about it." He tells Liz, "You either want to go and do this, or you don't."

[AD]Dr. Phil tells Liz he believes that she can succeed at sobriety and honor her son's life going forward. "I would say, 'Dr. Phil, thank you for making this available to me, and you can damn bet I will do it,' but that's just me," he says.

Joani speaks up from the audience. "Liz, get up off your chair, and give Dr. Phil a hug."

Liz embraces Dr. Phil. He asks her, "Do you want to do this?"

"Yes," she says.