Home About This Week On Dr. Phil DrPhil.com
August 11th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Moms Who Drink (While Being Mothers)

drunk drivingSometimes I think common sense just isn’t common enough! This is one of those times. Now I probably should recuse myself from the following discussion, because it is about drinking and I admit that I don’t drink at all, which is pretty extreme and may compromise my objectivity, but I really don’t think it does. It’s just a personal preference, and I don’t really have a problem with those who do drink. I really don’t; so long as they drink responsibly, meaning in moderation, with a designated driver and, most importantly, when they’re not being the caregiver to their children.

You can probably guess that this is on my mind because of the horrifying tragedy that took place on a New York state freeway just recently. The driver of the vehicle, a 36-year-old mother of two, allegedly had a blood-alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit. We still don’t know what happened in that instance, and while what’s being reported may seem extreme compared to chatting and having a drink or two with other mothers in the backyard on a sunny afternoon — what happens when a parent puts the kids in the car to head home?

Even if the trip is only across the neighborhood (which, by the way, may be a reason to think it’s OK to just have one more), they could be putting themselves, as well as their children and all of those who are walking or driving around them, at risk. What do you suppose the driver of that vehicle in New York would give for a second chance: To have had someone grab her by the shoulders and say: “DO NOT GET IN THAT CAR!”? But when it comes to such events, we don’t get second chances. So let me say it to any and all reading this blog now: Do not drink and get behind the wheel and do not stand idly by and watch someone who has been drinking get behind the wheel!

There’s a troubling trend going on now in which young mothers are having “chardonnay and playdates” — a time for moms to have a few drinks and socialize with one another, while at the same time, spending time with their children. There are also restaurants that promote “Mommy Happy Hours,” which provide activities for the kids while mom gets her drink on.

sleeping childThis is about more than enjoying a glass of wine with dinner. And while many may think it sounds avant-garde and glamorous, I just think it sounds stupid and reckless. I also wince at titles at the bookstore, such as Naptime is the New Happy Hour, and while surfing through mommy blogs that extol the virtues of imbibing from a sippy cup filled with alcohol while Junior romps on the playground. What in the world are these people thinking?

I appreciate how hard parenting can be. I remember when Robin was pregnant with Jay: I came home from what I thought was a long day at work, telling her how many clients I’d seen … she just stared back at me and deadpanned, “Oh really, well I made a lung today, so get over it!” Man, that’s perspective. I understand a parent’s need for social interaction, to feel a sense of community with friends and the need to relax from the day’s pressures. But there is a time and place for everything, including having a few drinks, but while you are watching the kids just ain’t that time!

I’m not trying to pick on women here. In fact, most drunk drivers are men. But there are statistics that show that DUIs among women are rising. To understand how you can get out of control before you know it, we need to address how quickly women — especially a woman who doesn’t weigh much — can be affected by alcohol. Even a few glasses of wine can diminish her capacity to think and react quickly.

If you’re wondering what it takes for your judgment to be impaired by alcohol, click here. I think you’ll be very, very surprised.

Tags: , ,

119 Responses to “Moms Who Drink (While Being Mothers)”

  1. Lori says:

    My daughter was hit by a drunk driver, 10 years ago.. I feel they(the ones who drink) know or chose to drink and drive take the responsiblity of what happens when they hit the road.. everyone knows that if you do other things beside paying attention to driving you have that risk of injuring or killing someone on the road, they should have stricter laws when it comes to drinking, drugs, talking on the cell phone and texting. IF you feel you need to do this then get off the road, needless to say the guy who hit my daughter only got 16 months in prison, but was out before that.. my daughter survived, she had a broken elbow,broken thigh bone, fractured skull and jaw bone. and when he saw pictures of her and what she went thru he could care less.. I’m sure right now he’s out drinking and driving just haven’t been caught yet.. PEOPLE need to wake up.. YES it can happen to you..

  2. C Pool, MD says:

    Watching the show on a rare occasion off work…once again another mother/father/parent in denial of the damage they wreak on their families and society. Joni in her bit on the threat of going to jail spoke of how incarceration would “Hurt her children”….the reality is she and her husband are both hurting their children. The addicted parent is neglecting their children, is not present in their lives, spend energy focusing on themselves and following the illness. The enabling spouse is not facing reality, is not protecting their children from the emotional and psychological damage in their lives, and is also absent from their lives when an emotional protective bond would strengthen the entire family structure.

    We see too many people ignoring the damage they do to their families and blaming everyone else for their behavior. Alcoholism and other addictions is not merely “bad choices” although that is a component, it is a pathology that overwhelms the person. Hopefully Joni will learn to control her addiction by making a choice to “Just say (k)NO(w)”…addicts know how to say yes and know when to say yes, but they have to learn how to say NO and when to say no. It only takes one moment of weakness, and it takes a family full of strength and conviction to help a vulnerable person transition from addiction to the knowledge and lifestyle of “normalcy”.

  3. Marcy says:

    My son received a DUI and it was his first and he lost his license for two years so I guess I don’t understand how your guest even had a license, not that it keeps people from driving. Once he got his license back it was really hard to find an insurance company that would even insure him. He has completed a rehab program and is thankful to God that he didn’t kill anyone the night he had his wreck, he only hurt himself and a pole. Alcoholism is a disease but people use it as an excuse also. Like you said after the show there is AA groups that can offer support and also Aloynon to support the families.

  4. penny says:

    i’m a drinkingg mom who has had 2 DUIs in the past 7 years. It wasn”t till recently that I realized that i had a problem. I can very much relate to the show today and the mom on that show has so much support and love. She as I, is very asshamed, and I hide things and lie cuz that what we do. It’s only been 2 days since I drank, but I went to my first AA meeting yesterday. It was OK but I have a lot of things to work on with myself. I can’t say that I wont drink 2nite, but I will not drive and I will continue to pray and read my big book. I can only do 1 day at a time

  5. Nikie Miller says:

    I am a 37 year old adult female that has a mother that has had a drinking problem for 25+ years and I am currently going through a horrible time with her. I am getting to the point where I cannot stand her or to even be around her at anytime, I avoid family functions if she will be present at because she always ruins them and thinks that everyone else has a problem and not her. I can almost see myself isolating myself from her completely. I have alot of anxiety and depression moods when I am around her. We cannot talk any more with out one of us belittling or putting down eachother. She refuses to admit that she has a problem, even though everyone around her knows it. I am at my breaking point and want to get help but do not know where to start. PLEASE HELP. I love my mom very much and I still need her in my life. PLEASE HELP.

  6. Judy says:

    My Mom was an alcoholic. She drank herself to death in November 2008. We tried several times to talk to her about her problem, but she denied it and would not listen. She had many health issues in her life and we believe she drank to help with the physical pain. It was so hard to deal with her when she was drunk and we didn’t even want to talk to her then. She was hospitalized Oct 3/08 and never came out. I miss my Mom with all my heart. If you have a problem, please recognize it and get help. It is very, very, hard on your children and family.

  7. Jenny Saltarski says:

    I am a mom of four kids. Grandma to a 2 year old. Also I drink everyday. I hate it. I was laid off my job in Feb and my husband has been laid off since Nov. That is not way I drink. I have been drinking for 7 years. Really not sure why? I need help not sure how to go about getting it. I have no heath insurance and I am afraid of what I might do to myself or some other family. I have drove drunk many times but the last couple years I walk where I need to go or have someone else drive. I watched your show today and you tell it like it is. I have a problem and not sure how to handle it, but after watching your show it really opened my eyes to what I am doing to my body and my family. Thank you for bringing this to America’s attention.

  8. Candace James says:

    Dear Dr.Phil I watched your show today and totally agree that the traditional 30 treatment program is not enough. Jail or prison seems to be our treatment for alcohol and addicts. The system is full of re-offenders. I love your tell it like it is approach to the woman who had every excuse known to man. I myself lost my daughter last October in a drunk driving accident. But not only was the driver drunk, so was the first responder on the scene. Both got a slap on the wrist.
    When is the madness going to stop!!
    Sincerely, Candace James

  9. Jill Nelson says:

    I’m glad that the Dr. Phil show is able to help Joni with her alcohol problem by sending her to an expensive rehab in Texas (I truly am). I was just wondering though, since this seems to be an ongoing problem on the rise in our country, why the show didn’t focus more on how women could get help for themselves without the benefit of high-priced rehab.

    And, is Dr. Phil going to direct the family to seek help in the way of Alanon and Alateen? That was how we dealt with my father’s alcoholism some 30 years ago. I’m surprised that support for Joni’s family wasn’t discussed. It helps to know that you are not alone and to get help from others going through the same situation.

    And, for women that do end up in jail due to their drinking problems, what is being done in the prison system to help them (and their families) while they are incarcerated?

    Just wondering…

    Thanks Dr. Phil for helping people to deal with their problems.

    Also, side note, will Dr. Phil ever be doing a show on autism?

  10. lorie nielsen says:

    I am a mom of one Dr Phil. I have been an alcoholic for years and have been raising my girl without anyone knowing!! I have had cnacer twice have been a victim of many forms of abuse … etc, so .. all of that is what gets the attention of my support group, including my father, mothera nd stepfatehr ( my childs father was an alcoholic so has never met her daughter. )
    The program today really woke me up. I have a group in my small town that I know meets every Thursday. I have been too embarrassed and worried about the repercussions rgarding my daughters social life to attend. But I am going ot go tomorrow night , that is a promise. I would soo live to attend one of the real rehab centres but I am a single mom on disability, I want to come on a show but I know it cannot happen if I am Canadian, and my mom and stepdad and dad are all over 65 so we cannot afford that. It is amazing how many terminally ill people are out here with this problem, their kids and families are afraid to talk about it cause they are just hoping the mom , or dad, gets better. But… It doesn’t matter!! I keep waiting for the right time!! Thank you Dr Phil! And thank you for your book Family First. I read it when my daughter was 5 years old, she is now 11, and brilliant and well adjusted and it is all due to that book. Basically I had to re-raise my parent, haha, since then, and because of the cancers and 14 surgeries I have had an attentive audience!! Everyting happens for a reason!
    regards, and God Bless you and your Family
    Lorie Nielsen

  11. Samantha says:

    I hosted a party recently where a 33 year old female guest got very aggressive, demanding the keys for her car and threatening to hit me in the head if I did not give them to her. The next day this woman came to pick up her car and she was a totally different person, looking on the surface to be emotionally healthy but I knew different!

    I explained to her the history about a scar on my cheek and how I was almost killed by a drunk driver when I was younger. I told her how I could have prevented my injuries by not having drank so much myself that night and gotten into a car with the drunk woman at the end of the night. The woman seemed moved by my story but I knew that my talk would never be enough to help her deal with her problems that she was using alcohol for ‘help’.

    My aunt, Gisele Microys, MD and I spoke about this experience and we decided to step forward and speak out to try to prevent at least one family from going through what ours went through. We are concerned for the safety of people on our roads. We created An Aid to Help Foundation to accompany us as we do some public speaking from strength about what our family went through. We will be putting money raised into the advancement of education and the reduction of substance abuse. I feel that we need to teach people about moderation of the consumption of alcohol under ALL circumstances and as soon as they take their first sip.

    The most special thing about what Dr. Microys and I have done is that I have made the non-profit a tribute to the late Diana Princess of Wales who visited me when I was in a children’s rehabilitation hospital after my accident. A drunk driver took her life and I think that other mother’s need to shake themselves to realize how dangerously they are behaving with their lives and the lives of others.

  12. G. Microys M.D. says:

    I recall the story of a former patient of mine, a mother of 2, who would go out to dinner with her husband who would consume a whole bottle of wine and then drive the family home. Needless to say, I did not listen to this story patiently. I got very upset and asked her why she put herself and her children in this kind of situation? Could she not demand the car keys or even insist on taking a taxi home?
    Alcoholism touches most of us in some way, at work, with family members, with ourselves and responsible decision making is paramount in some of these situations.
    Thank you, Dr. Phil, for addressing the problem and keep up the good work!

  13. Michelle R. says:

    this is a rough one .. and I haven’t finished watching the episode as I am on the west coast. I have to agree with the responder that stated “once again another mother/father/parent in denial of the damage they wreak on their families and society. Joni in her bit on the threat of going to jail spoke of how incarceration would “Hurt her children”….the reality is she and her husband are both hurting their children. The addicted parent is neglecting their children, is not present in their lives, spend energy focusing on themselves and following the illness. The enabling spouse is not facing reality, is not protecting their children from the emotional and psychological damage in their lives, and is also absent from their lives when an emotional protective bond would strengthen the entire family structure.
    This is wrong of this woman and husband and they desperately need help! It angers me to see her selfishness. Thank you Dr. Phil for airing this, it angers me to see these moms doing this and this happens way more than anyone would imagine. This is dangerous behavior and lives are being ruined!! Dr. Phil thank you for your integrity and in-your face wake-up calls.

  14. susan naive says:

    Just wanted to say that I saw todays’ show on Drunk Driving Moms. I was so glad to see the woman who was on your show 5 years ago (Diane?). I also saw her that day. I too was a drunk mom and today I have 5 years of sobriety. Please tell her that I am happy to celebrate our sobriety together and that her being brave enough to be on your show was instrumental in my being brave enough to go back to AA. If I recall correctly, she also had been sober for a while and had relapsed.
    Yea for us. Thank you for my sobriety!Woo hoo 5 years

  15. John Joines says:

    OK thanks for doing the show, it needs to be done. But this woman still thinks someone will do it for her! Yes I can say that, I was a very functional drunk for 24 years, I used every excuse in the world and had some good ones, one thing that bothers me is, this woman has a great life! More of a spoiled brat than a drunk and just wants sympathy. I did the treatment center, I had 4 DWIs, I was in jail for one of them for an extended time, but it comes down to it I had to do it myself by wanting to do it PERIOD, I surley hope she gains that mindset in treatment, but I dont see it. Woe is me is just so easy and thats all she has. I know here is a small list about me, my excuses and one sad fact, let me mention before I start July was 13 years sober, I still run into old friends who dont believe it, I was functional, not an ass, but the fact is if you take the last year I drank of those 365 days I dont even remember going to bed/sleep 300 of them.
    My excuses in my head where, my grandfather who raised me died when I was 9 and went into a home with my mother and step father, literaly from a side of a mountain to the city, @ 12 I started drinking and smoking pot and stayed away from home as much as possible, I turned 17 on a Saturday and was in bootcamp on Monday just to get out of the house, after bootcamp I hit the motherload, I could walk out of my barriks room and go 15 feet and there was 3 beer machines and if I remember it was 20 cents a can plus being on base we could by harder alcohol with no problem and being in Pensacola Fl. bars where on every block, I was big for my age and never had a problem. after 20 months I pretty much just quit the Navy, I floated around the country for 4 years until I found the offshore oilfield in Louisiana, the motherload again, I could go offshore for a week or a month and have a pile of money when I came in, every bar new me! I got into a relationship and had a son in 1983, this did sober me up a little but was still drinking more than most folks would believe, After my son was born we started noticing some problems with him he was what would become severly handicaped, and went undiagnosed for a couple of years, and I was drinking very heavy, working alot but still trying to understand what was going on and looking for answers, even going all around the country to different hospitials looking for a dianoses, it was years before that came and in the process my alcoholism became worse, but I had a great skill as a crane operator and always worked, and traveled building bridges, I eventullay stoped keeping in touch and sending money, I was beyond the world worst father. I made excuses in my head while I secretly blamed myself for his handicap, I would tell myself that his mother was weak and dumb and blame her outwardly and even developed a hatered towrd her, my son died and I was not even contacted, nor my family, not that they even knew where I was most of the time as I did not keep in touch with them. One of the things about alcohol is that judgement goes down the toilet with every flush and you dont even know it! In 1996 I got a divorce and found out that my son was gone, needless to say the drinking got worse and it was bad to start with. None of this life was planed, just as the woman today said manytimes, but let me tell her this is what happens, I pray she never gets to this point, the truth is she wont know because nothing matters with no judgment and nobody is going to make her quit but her, this is not a made up story and these are just a few sad examples of my life and I live with them everyday, Now sober for over 13 years, life is by no-means perfect, not even close, I am dealing with health issues and most if not all can be connected with my drinking. But I would not trade my soberity for anything and the fact is I would change just about everything if I could but I cant, but I can stay sober, and by doing that things are in repair. Tell this woman she is much closer to this than she knows, but she has to do it, and talking from experence you can live sober and live a happy life, but never a perfect one, alcohol is not nirvana, but it will tell you it is. PLEASE SOBER UP, Let me tell you if you would loose a kid because of your drinking you will never forgive yourself, and if you loose yourself from alcohol your kids will never forgive you. Say a prayer for this sad woman folks, it works, I know.

  16. NK Winston says:

    My husband is slowly recovering from an accident that occurred over a year ago. It was not the impaired driver’s first offense. He can’t get insurance or register a vehicle yet he still drives. Meanwhile, a year after the accident, my husband had a very serious shoulder surgery to try to repair some of the accident damage. His thumb is permanently injured. These injuries are from an accident where my husband was not transported by ambulance to the hospital.

    In addition to the injuries, we have financial issues due to this crime. Our auto insurance is no longer paying medical so we have to pick up the co pays for physical therapy 2-3 times per week. During this entire recovery time, my husband has continued working. He needs to look strong and vital at work, while hurting badly. Least of all but still painful, my classic car is totaled and valued initially at only $300 from our insurance company. We are not able to replace it with a comparable car in this economic time.

    We are the lucky ones. My husband is recovering and we have insurance. The car was just a car.

    I WISH the family of the man who hit my husband would stop providing him vehicles. He is turning them into deadly weapons. I can see how the first time could be a surprise to a family and a wakeup call. The second time is no accident. What can be done to stop families from providing their impaired drivers with vehicles?

  17. Heather says:

    One thing I forgot to mention. I am also the functional drunk. I raise three kids, have a husband, keep complete control of the household, and work full time. NONE of these entities have knowledge of my drinking problem. It’s not hard. Take a good long look at your neighbours, friends, co-workers, etc. They may have the same problem. It is soooo not a “projects” issue! (PS, I don’t drink malt liquor out of the 1 litre bottle if that is what you are picturing!)

  18. Heather says:

    OK, one more. Reading again, do y’all really think it is a good idea to NEVER let your children see you consume alcohol? Don’t you think it would be better to let them see you using responsibly?? Make it taboo, they will be more likely to use more often. Nothing to do with parenting, just children in general

  19. Annie says:

    Alcoholism IS NOT a disease, it is an addiction. And like any addiction, it must be treated by abstaining from the substance. The hardest part about an addiction is for the addict to ADMIT that they have a problem, as denial is a component of addictive behavior. I agree with one of the bloggers that it is a wonder why Joni did not lose her driver’s license after the first DUI. And yes, driving under the influence of a controlled substance, with children in the car, is CHILD ABUSE, and if nothing else, parents like Joni and her husband SHOULD be arrested for child abuse. Shame on the husband for having allowed his wife to drive under the infludence!

  20. Stephanie says:

    I work as an Emergency Medical Tech and I see these things on some occasions. They are not an nice site when you find children that were killed by a drunk driver. I know everyone has problems but alcohol and pot are not the solutions. Like others have said Alcoholism is not a disease it is an addiction. I have no tolerance for drunks. I feel that men or women who are caught DUI needs to lose their licences for life and if they kill someone they need to be charged with murder. If they drive with children in the car and something happens that they drive with children in the car they need to be charged with child abuse. I am a mother of 2 teenage daughters and I would never put their lives in danger of me driving under the influence. I feel thhat they should get alot of jail time so they have time to think about what they have done. I could just scream everytime I have seen children dead on scene and it was caused by a drunk driver. For the most part a drunk driver usually survives a crash and kills the innocent people. I wish people would not drink and drive and there are alot of teenagers that are starting this trend too and it is scary.

  21. Kathy says:

    I watched the show today on Moms who drink. I agree that it is a addiction not a disease. I think Joni should have her liscense taken from her. I do not tolerate dui drivers they are selfish. Take a cab or call a friend. Her husband should of done something so she wouldnt drive. She has 4 dUI’s disgusting. Next time she could kill someone. Then what? I hope she was serious but I have my doubts, she just doesnt want to go to jail.

  22. Brenda says:

    I watched the show on the mom who has an addiction to alcohol and drives while drunk. I have a 50 year old sister who is both a drug addict and an alcoholic. It’s both disturbing and sad to see moms who put any substance before their kids. I’m so sick of hearing that addiction is a disease because in my eyes, it’s anything but! These people choose this life style and I really feel that they need to be more accountable for the bad things they do. My sister does alot of very evil things and everyone blames the addiction. The laws are too slack for these criminals!!! My sister was charged with DUI and got a slap on the wrist. She used someone elses ID to fraudulently get a credit card and never paid the credit company back a cent and the fraud charges were dropped against her. She even tried to get a credit card in my deceased moms name and again no punishment. She totaled my dad’s car while she was stoned out of her mind and had no license. She wasn’t punished for that either (just my other sister was because she had to buy my dad a new car). When will these people be held accountable for their actions? They never learn, never really have remorse and they never really care about anything but themselves!!! I think they all should either be forced to clean themselves up (at their own expense) or go to jail for their crimes. This mom who has had 4 DIU’s needs to go to jail for a long time even if she gets sober!

  23. Kristers says:

    I have a question: Is Selfishness now considered a disease? If not, I suspect it soon will be.
    I do not choose to drink very often. However I have a number of friends who ‘get loaded’–some are probably alcoholics–and yet they have embraced the concept known as the “TAXI CAB”. They DO NOT put other people’s lives at risk for their behavior.
    If this woman believes that alcoholism is similar to cancer or HIV, she must acknowledge that people with HIV have to acknowledge their disease and change their behavior or risk other people’s lives. Incidentally, when my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, she wasn’t sipping a frosty mug of the disease 4-5 times a day admitting that she liked it with her pizza. Truly I don’t think this guest really believes she’s an alcoholic, she just likes to throw the word around so she won’t have to take any responsibility for anything. She is the child. Her children, unfortunately, have to be the caretakers, since dad doesn’t seem to care, either.
    One last comment: I’d like to find out who that local police officer is who is ‘out to get her’ and send him a great big Fruit Basket. He is keeping the people of his town–dare I say the world– safe from morons like her.

  24. I think that the alcoholic lady on Wednesday show was not sorry for her actions. She only took the treatment that you offered to get out of jail card free of charge. If you really want a marriage to work and to be the best mom possible then you would respect both your spouse and children enough that you could give drinking up..I also think that being an alcoholic is not a disease. No one asked you to drink ,no one forced you to drink, you do this out of your own free will knowing that it might one day turn out like this. That is NO DISEASE. That is an EXCUSE or even a crock of crap!!!!!!I know opinions are a dime a dozen so I guess I got my dimes worth..

  25. sandra mourfield says:

    hi dr.phil
    i am so glad recognized that this drunk driver was making excuse after excuse,i was a drunk driver and i see the shows you have about it and thank god i didn’t kill some one or myself,you are so right about ,if some one doesn’t want to stop they wont,they have to want to stop drinking before they will,this lady you had on doesn’t really seem to want to quit,but shes looking at jail time,so why not go through the program to look good,but on the other hand,i was doing the same thing,but before the program was over i really thought about,what would life be like with out drinking,so at that point i really wanted to quit drinking,ive been sober for 14 years now by the grace of god,thank you for your shows on drunk driving,more people need to know what could happen if they continue to drink and drive.maybe they ought to take these people that are in the program to the morgue and show them people that are dead because of drinking and driving.

  26. stephiegail says:

    I am 33 years old, a stay at home mom, and a RECOVERING alcoholic. As of 9/18/2009 I have been sober for three years. I watched the show with Joni and was enraged. I often get angry with the way alcoholic women are treated, but in this case I don’t think you were hard enough on her. I remember what it was like to need a drink more than I needed air, and to want one so badly that it hurt. I get that, and can empathize. What I have no tolerance for is anyone comparing alcoholism to cancer. They are both diseases yes, but one sneaks up on you and kills you, the other, well there is treatment available. I have to choose everyday to stay sober, to attend meeting, make phone calls, and work a program. The difference between cancer and alcoholism is that to treat alcoholism you get to decide to fight it, and you are armed with everything you need to fight it. Cancer takes every decision out of your hands. Joni wanted to play the victim, I’m sorry but I was never the victim. My kids, my husband, my family and my friends-they were the victims. I was extremely fortunate that I reached my bottom fairly quickly, and that the only time I ever drove drunk I got caught. I have never whined or complained about my arrest, because if it hadn’t been for that, I doubt I would have ever sought treatment. Blessings come in all shapes and sizes, and I never thought I’d ever see being arrested as a blessing, but because of it I found AA and I work daily on being the type of mom my kids can be proud of, wife my husband deserves and woman that I love being. I am not cured, I don’t believe there is a cure for addiction of any sort, but I am better. I grew up in an alcoholic household, both of my parents are alcoholic, and I thought that was just the way some people are. I know the difference now. I know being a mom and an alcoholic is a bad thing, and I wish I could have been different, and I know someone will read this and think awful things about me, but I don’t care. For the past three years of my life I have focused on making myself better and trying to live a life that is better than the one my parents have. I am more open with those closest to me and I have twelve steps to help me through the day. I am now able to talk to my daughter about every and anything and thankfully my son has no memory of mom drunk. My life has been completely transformed with a whole lot of hard work, prayer, and at times help from other sober men and women, and no one ever gave me a ribbon. I know that I am not alone, there are others like me, and there is a way to live without alcohol, I just have to decide to live that way. By the way, my very first sponsor died of cancer and just as someone who watched that fight, I’d take being an alcoholic anyday.

  27. Colleen Conlin says:

    The drunk driving mom kept saying drinking is a disease she has no choice. Drinking is a disease that she may feel she has no control over. BUT choosing to drive has nothing to do with alcoholism. That bad choice is hers alone. She can drink all day until the cows come home as long as she is not behind a wheel. Not separating alcoholism from the choice to drive I feel gave her a window to justify her behaviour. She kept on pointing out that she has a disease, yes that is true. But I feel the show was not about alcoholism, it was about driving drunk. But her choice to drive was not confronted, just that she drinks. I also believe that the focus should be less about alcoholism and more about drinking and driving. You do not have to be an alcoholic to kill someone or get into an accident. A social drinker can kill too. It just takes one time.

  28. janefrank says:

    My mother died five years ago from living a lifetime of alcoholism. She would never discuss it. She didn’t have a problem. She drove all over town drunk, and very frequently. I used to call the police department when she left the house driving drunk but nothing ever happened. To this day I am amazed she never hit anyone and nobody ever hit her.

    Life was extremely difficult growing up with her as my mom. I don’t doubt it was God’s plan. . .but I hated it SO MUCH. Since she died, I find a sort of peacefulness that she’ll not embarrass me again. But that itself is rather sad.

  29. Susan Lori says:

    Thank you to Stphiegail for pointing out the disgrace of Joni comparing her alcholism to cancer (”where is my support group?”). I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 46 and underwent a double mastectomy and months of treatment…Like Joni’s friends and family, mine suffer BUT they suffer WITH me and FOR me, not BECAUSE of me. If I could save my life by not drinking I would figure out a way. Instead I will live the rest of my (hopefully long) life worried about every ache and pain…I have a close friend who is an alcholic…Unlike Joni, she feels guilt when she has a slip up…As she says it, she is choosing to slowly kill herself while she watched me fight for each day.

  30. patty says:

    OK DR.PHIL SAY’S LET’S GET REAL!!!!! I WILL TELL WHAT REAL IS, 3YRS AGO MY THEN 26YR ATHLETIC SON WAS A PASSENGER OF A DRUNKER….HE IS NOW A QUAD, HE HAS TO DEPEND ON THE FAMILY, PCA’S(AND THERE HRS ARE BEING CUT BY THE STATE) TO BE AFRAID TO BE LEFT ALONE.

    OK LETS TALK ABOUT THE DRIVER WHO IS STILL OUT DRINKIN AND DRIVIN, WHO LIFE IS STILL OK FUN PARTY……SO I FEEL NO PITTY FOR THESE MOM’S WHO DRINK AND JUST DON’T CARE…WHAT IF 1 OF THERE CHILDREN WERE HURT. OR KILLED BY A DRUNK DRIVER

    THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO THIS, BUT IT REALLY PISSED ME OFF, AND TO LET THESE PEOPLE JUST GET A LITTLE SPANKING…..WHAT THE HECK

    PATTY
    FROM MINNESOTA

  31. Dr. Phil, I listened to your show with interest today. Three and a half years ago I was awakened from a deep sleep to find out my son had been killed by a drunk driver! He lived in Hawaii at the time. He moved there when he was 18 and died when he was 27. When my husband and I got the call, all I could think was this could NOT be true. Someone was mistaken. We got the message third hand so it just could NOT be true. I called Justin’s best friend at 12:30 in the morning (my time). Little did I know that his best friend was visiting family in Florida so it was actually 1:30 a.m. where he was at the time. Patrick could not believe it either. He told me he would verify it by calling around to friends. He confirmed it several minutes later. We were mortified! We were even MORE mortified to learn he was killed by his roommate! His roommate also died that day. There is no feeling more devastating than hearing that your child has died. Knowing it was all for nothing makes it a gazillion times worse. Justin was the guy who took car keys at parties so no one would drive drunk. We still have a lot of unanswered questions…maybe it is better that way. I asked the doctor and the police officer who investigated if Justin had been drinking, too. Neither one would answer and both of them said it didn’t matter. They said what mattered was the fact that Justin was a prisoner in a car going in excess of 100 miles per hour at the hands of a drunk driver. Their car actually hit an oncoming van. The van was carrying a mother and her two-year-old daughter. The two-year-old did not have a scratch on her. Thank GOD! The mom sustained several injuries, including broken bones, I believe. They were injuries that would heal over time. We found out after the fact that his roommate had a driving record “a mile long”! He had no business driving. He had no license. He had no insurance. He was only 23 and took my son’s life. THERE IS NO…May I repeat…THERE IS NO EXCUSE for DRIVING DRUNK!!!!! PERIOD!!!! In my mind, Justin’s friends may have put him in the car because he passed out. They aren’t talking. We may never know the truth, but that one split second bad judgment call changed the lives of SO MANY people. My husband has struggled with depression ever since. I have three other sons. Each of them has had numerous personal struggles related to Justin’s death. He died five days before the 30th birthday of my oldest son. It was the worst birthday of his life. It should have been a very happy occasion. I would love to travel around to high schools and explain to kids what happens when you drink and drive. Obviously, after watching your show, their parents need to hear my story as well.

  32. Rambyte says:

    Dr. Phil,

    I felt tremendous empathy for Joni. She looked like a “deer in the headlights” on your show. Even after five DUIs, she is still clueless as to how to deal with this problem. And unfortunately, you didn’t have much help to offer other than another behavior-based solution to a medical issue.

    AA, SMART Recovery, Rational Recovery, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and the In-Patient Rehab Programs: As far as I’m concerned, they’re all the same. They all ignore the 800-pound Gorilla in the room.

    They all claim that Alcoholism is a disease and yet they attempt to deal with it from a behavioral perspective. My opinion is that this only enables the clinicians, the courts, the media and others to view alcoholism as a “behavioral” problem and thus a defect of character. If alcoholism is a behavioral problem, why can’t the alcoholic just quit? And if Alcoholism is a disease, where is the medical solution?

    The only way any of the above programs are successful is if the Alcoholic can muster enough will-power to choose not to drink. And as all alcoholics know, the desire to drink is ever-present, constantly nagging to be satisfied, and regularly overpowers will-power. What’s even more frustrating is: Especially in the face of all the negative consequences, we don’t know why. Although well intentioned, these treatments are, at their extreme, cruel to the alcoholic and perhaps only somewhat better than the treatment meted out by society in general.

    The 800-pound Gorilla in the room is the fact that, after so many years of drinking, alcohol has re-wired the alcoholic’s brain chemistry and none of these programs has a way of dealing with this. All of these programs basically approach the alcoholic in a similar manner: Encouragement or hope that the alcoholic continues to choose not to drink long enough that the brain will finally re-wire itself. And this will occur, if the alcoholic can choose not to drink over a long enough period of time.

    The problem is that reality doesn’t bear this out. An accurate accounting of relapse activity, I’m convinced, would reveal only a small percentage of alcoholics have been able to accomplish long-term sobriety and re-wiring of the brain using only will-power to abstain. Again, this is not a behavior-based affliction. If accounted for rigorously, my guess is that the vast majority of alcoholics frequently relapse because they are unable to choose not to drink when their brains are screaming to be satisfied. For programs claiming that denial is central to healing, “Physician, heal thyself!”

    Based on my own experience and the ground-breaking work by Dr. Olivier Ameisen with the 40-year-old drug baclofen, the 800-pound Gorilla may finally be told to take a hike. I drank heavily on a daily basis for the past 30 years. The longest I was ever able to abstain based on will-power was two weeks. Nevertheless, the very day I began taking baclofen in high doses, my brain stopped screaming for alcohol. Dr. Ameisen has abstained now for five years and he has even been able to drink wine with dinner without triggering prior alcoholic tendencies. Baclofen has taken all of the effort out of abstaining for me. It is no longer a minute-by-minute struggle for me to say “No” to alcohol.

    Let me be clear: I am relaying my anecdotal experience only. I am not telling you to follow this as a prescription. I provide my experience for your information only. You will decide the best course of treatment for your alcohol-dependency.

    However, I am happy to report that clinical trials are currently being conducted for the efficacy of baclofen in the struggle against alcohol dependency. For those of us who struggle with this addiction on a minute-by-minute basis, the outcome of the trials cannot come soon enough.

    Here is a link to Dr. Ameisen’s web site.
    http://www.olivierameisen.com/en/

  33. Carolyn says:

    Dear Dr. Phil:

    I too like many others watched this show and I see by most of the posts here that the replys are for those that are victims of this hideous diesease. I truly empathize with them and understand the hurt and pain.

    I’m replying as one of those offenders. I have had a drinking problem for 20 years. It is an insideous disease that rears it’s ugly head over and over and over. It does NOT just effect you – it effects everytjing and everyone around you. Your family, your job, your friends (if you have any left afer the destructive behavior that this diesease cause one to do).

    I am also currently facing another offense and am facing 16 mos in prison. I abosolutely could not believe that I had yet again put myself (and others) in this position again. I immedately went into an outpatient program and signed up to get into a sober living environment home – which I am currently now living in because FINALLY I have truly admitted that I no longer can nor wish to live this way. I have almost one year completely clean and sober but I say this only to voice that I am trying to become the person I know I am – not to say “kudos” to myself nor to minimize the damage I have already done to myself and others.

    I can’t tell you why we alchohlics can’t just simply STOP. Some of us just apparenlty are not wired that way. When we are sober we absolutely know right from wrong but give us one drink and a hundred are not enough. And all reason and right choices go straight out the door. This is not a surprise since alchol of course effects any sound reasoning. As I stated, it is an insideous and truely ugly diesease.

    But in Lori’s defense, I agree with her that we are looked upon as the scum of the earth. The support that I have seen first hand given to “drug addicts” that drive or dont but commit other terrible crimes while under the influence over and over again is NOT given to people who drink and drive – if you drive under the influence of other drugs (remember on paper the world has agreed that alcohol too is a drug but in reality they still don’t get it). And it IS a disease and is classified as such but again, it is not “percieved” as such by the world at large because people STILL believe that it is simply a matter for us afflicted to “Just say no” and in reality it is far far more complex than that.

    And why she repeats as I have done is the main destructive, harmful effect of this awful disease.

    But prison is not the answer – we DO need recovery programs and not jail. Jail leaves you bitter, homeless and ruins what little many of us have left – so we get out and have to start from the bottom yet again. This is a HUGE trigger for any alcoholic/addict. Yes, I know – here again people are going to say; “It was your choice to drink and drive” and on one hand this is absolutely correct but when you have this disease you know first hand that it is just not that simple.

  34. Stephanie says:

    I am so intrigued with this show because it was me on that stage (and unless I continue my recovery, it could be again) I am one drink from a drunk and I always will be for the rest of my life. I have been sober for 1 1/2 years (this time) and I know you (Dr. Phil) and many others are not going to like this, but I cannot change it. I have had 4 minor in consumption charges from the age of 15 to 20. I have had 8 DUI’s from the age of 20 to 40. And in all honesty, I could have a lot more if I would have gotten caught everytime I drank and drove.

    Fortunately, I have not physically hurt anyone in an accident. Fortunately I have never taken my children on an adventure while I was drinking, but in reality, the next morning after a drinking binge, I have driven my children and I am quite sure that if a breathlyzer were administered, I would register.

    I have been to prison 3 times in the last 20 years, jail 8 times, numerous rehabs (in-patient and outpatient), support groups and have even taken antabuse (disulfirum). I have had many terms of sobriety up to 5 years, but have never made it past that mark. Currently, my last DUI has given me the opportunity to serve 5 years on Home Detention (longest sentence ever handed down in my county to home detention) and following that, I will have 6 years of antabuse, a drug that will make you sick if you drink alcohol. If I screw up, I will go to prison for 11 years and I do mean 11 (that is half the sentence!!!)

    So, I am paying the price, however I know that many have been killed by drunk drivers. I will never make an excuse for my addiction. All I can do is live with myself today. This time around, I went for testing at a psychiatrist. The results have been a confirmed diagnosis of Cyclothymia, which is a mild form of Bipolar Disorder. Maybe a reason for my problems that have led me to drink, but who knows. Like I indicated, I will not make excuses. All I can do is move forward, say my amends and be the wife and mother that God intended me to be.

    If you met me on the street, you would NEVER know or believe my history. I am currently working on my Masters degree, a straight A student, 2 children, successful husband, beautiful home, working full-time, close family that has stood by me and cheered me on (and used tough love through the times I choose to be stupid and get back on the booze).

    You see, alcohol was my best friend. It was there for me. And it also ripped my world apart and for that reason, I do not have the time of day to waste on it. I pray to God that He take away my desires to allow it back into my life again.

  35. LIz Romani says:

    Whew, above are some VERY intense stories!! My goodness, it’s sad to see such a strong hold that alchohol has on some of you. All I have to say is when there are children involved, this is completely selfish!!! These little lives are in your hands and they rely on you and ONLY you!!! If you are drunk while parenting, very bad and hurtful things can easliy happen. You need to WAKE UP and realize that it’s bigger than just you and your addiction. Alchohol IS a drug! It is classified as a depressant, meaning that it slows down vital funtions–resulting inslurred speech, unsteady movement, disturbed perceptions and in inability to react quickly. THe risk of a driver under the influence of alcohol being killed in an accident is 11 times greater than that of a sober driver. Today an estimated 15 million Americans suffer from alcoholism and 40% of ALL car accidents deaths in the US invlove Alchohol. THis should be a MOJOR wake up call to mothers who drink while parenting. Do not put your kids in harms way by sujecting yourself to alcohol. THis IS a drug and your dependency on it could cost you or your child their life. There’s a story I read about a young mother on Meth. Her name is Melanie and she said: “Welfare money was not enough to pay for our meth habit and support our son so we turned our rented home into a meth lab. We stored the toxic chemicals in our refrigerator not knowing that the toxins would permeate the other food in the icebox. When I gave my three-year-old son a peice of cheese, I did not know I was giving him poisioned food. I was too stoned on meth to notice, until 12 hours late, that my son was deathly ill. But then it took me two hours to figure out how to get him to the hospital five miles away. BY THE TIME I GOT TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM MY BOY WAS PRONOUCED DEAD of a leathal dose of ammonia hydroxide–one of the chemicals used to make meth”. Get the point? She was “out of it” and while “parenting” she killed her three year old son. Wake up and smell the coffee…get the FACTS!!!! You need Go to drugfreeworld.org and look at all the information provided. Hopefully you’ll take advantage of these free educational materials and get off the alcohol. Do it NOW for the sake of your kids!!!

  36. Nancy says:

    never seen the show but know what its like to have a family member on drugs and alchohol he is an addict to both and i seen what its done to his family.he lets peolpe think he is a good guy but our family know better he lost his liscense 20 some yrs ago and will never get them back and still likes to drive.i don’t have any thing to do with him till he ammits that he has a problem and gets it fixed his sons will hate him when they get older and for i hate the things he has done.

  37. Christine says:

    Please note that there are no accidents when alcohol is involved. It is clearly a choice.
    it is a CRASH!! I know as I was injured by an impaired driver 19 years ago and I still suffer from chronoc pain with a brain injury.
    http://www.madd.ca

  38. terry says:

    wow i am blowed away i just read all the comments on moms and drinking, that will
    or should open some eyes, it sure did mine. just buried my daughter , jordans grandmother from several strokes. her dad came to the funeral drunk, and some of the family members were reeking of alcohol. i an so embaressed for the grandfather and for the family that was sober. i am 47 and i have never had anything good come out of drinking. one of my old friends just got her 2nd dwi in about 3 months, now she has had 3 dwi charges in less than 5 years, she is going
    to the big house (prison) with 2 children at home for the dad to raise by himself.
    let me add his job just moved to 2nd shift. i am a social drinker and i can tell you
    it turns my stomach, people have all these excuses in the world, but i can tell you
    it is a choice, today i choose not to have that sparks that i told myself it gave me
    enery, bull, i choose not to do it today, and i hope i will never choose to be a social drinker because i have a 10 year old daughter and i am single, i choose to not drink anymore because i dont want her to be ashamed of me, life is nothing but a choice and i believe we choose our paths, well the so called alcoholic has the reasons to drink, its a disease they will say, i say its your choice, like the preacher said one time i believe that guardian angel sits on the hood of your car,
    when you get over 55mph the guardian jumps off. i believe god is in charge but he
    gives us a free will to choose our lifestyles. no more chances for the drunks around me and my daughter. my eyes have been opened today, thanks to dr phil
    and just getting on dr phil.com and looking around. life’s what you make it, so lets
    make it right, song from a teenager hannah montana i think she is 16. PRAY FOR
    JORDANS DAD THAT HE WILL MAKE IT RIGHT. FOR JORDAN TO HAVE A REAL DAD.
    my father had a addiction\disease for gambling. it was his choice. my mother died at the age of 53, and she raised 4 children all by herself, she did not drink, she choose to be a mother because she loved us unselfishly, i believe in my heart of hearts that alcoholics are the most selfish people in the world and its all about them, alcohol is first and the family is last, believe me, i know it first hand, i will
    never be last to my partner because i have been last for the last 20 years. and i
    choose to say yes or no, see life is really what you make it. look at it like this you
    people that say its addiction\disease just go ahead and admit that you like getting
    drunk, we all have problems, get drunk and the problem goes away untill you sober
    up and its still there. so stay drunk and the problem never goes away, sorry i will
    not feel sorry for poor choices, i say step up to the plate and be the person god
    intended for you to be or go ahead and kill everybody around you so they wont have to be miserable too. CHOOSE TO BE A MATURE ADULT AND YOU WILL PREVALE.

  39. terry says:

    wow i am blowed away i just read all the comments on moms and drinking, that will
    or should open some eyes, it sure did mine. just buried my daughters , grandmother from several strokes. her dad came to the funeral drunk, and some of the family members were reeking of alcohol. i an so embaressed for the grandfather and for the family that was sober. i am 47 and i have never had anything good come out of drinking. one of my old friends just got her 2nd dwi in about 3 months, now she has had 3 dwi charges in less than 5 years, she is going
    to the big house (prison) with 2 children at home for the dad to raise by himself.
    let me add his job just moved to 2nd shift. i am a social drinker and i can tell you
    it turns my stomach, people have all these excuses in the world, but i can tell you
    it is a choice, today i choose not to have that sparks that i told myself it gave me
    enery, bull, i choose not to do it today, and i hope i will never choose to be a social drinker because i have a 10 year old daughter and i am single, i choose to not drink anymore because i dont want her to be ashamed of me, life is nothing but a choice and i believe we choose our paths, well the so called alcoholic has the reasons to drink, its a disease they will say, i say its your choice, like the preacher said one time i believe that guardian angel sits on the hood of your car,
    when you get over 55mph the guardian jumps off. i believe god is in charge but he
    gives us a free will to choose our lifestyles. no more chances for the drunks around me and my daughter. my eyes have been opened today, thanks to dr phil
    and just getting on dr phil.com and looking around. life’s what you make it, so lets
    make it right, song from a teenager hannah montana i think she is 16. PRAY FOR
    JORDANS DAD THAT HE WILL MAKE IT RIGHT. FOR JORDAN TO HAVE A REAL DAD.
    my father had a addiction\disease for gambling. it was his choice. my mother died at the age of 53, and she raised 4 children all by herself, she did not drink, she choose to be a mother because she loved us unselfishly, i believe in my heart of hearts that alcoholics are the most selfish people in the world and its all about them, alcohol is first and the family is last, believe me, i know it first hand, i will
    never be last to my partner because i have been last for the last 20 years. and i
    choose to say yes or no, see life is really what you make it. look at it like this you
    people that say its addiction\disease just go ahead and admit that you like getting
    drunk, we all have problems, get drunk and the problem goes away untill you sober
    up and its still there. so stay drunk and the problem never goes away, sorry i will
    not feel sorry for poor choices, i say step up to the plate and be the person god
    intended for you to be or go ahead and kill everybody around you so they wont have to be miserable too. CHOOSE TO BE A MATURE ADULT AND YOU WILL PREVALE.

  40. terry says:

    use this for the alcoholics and for the families that suffer from alcoholics trying to
    ruin families

  41. Maria says:

    I would like to belong to mother against drunk drivers. This is a magnificent show that you’re having. I truly believe in this cause. Drinking and driving is a horrendous combination.

    You should have shows like this. The impact that you just made on Kelly’s mom, I am sure will help her. I only wish that you would do something this dramatic to your “Family”, so you could get rid of this particular show on Mondays and put on more shows on Mondays like you do the rest of the week to help other people that need it more.

    Thank you for listening, and for your time.

  42. Paula Biddle says:

    My sister is an alcoholic mother. 3 months ago she drank anti-freeze to commit suicide. She was facing a 3 month jail sentence due to her 3rd DUI. She was found and taken to the hospital. Where she was given dialysis and went into cardiac arrest. She was revised, and 3months later she is in a nursiung home, suffering from severe anoxic brain injury. She is in a persistive vegitative state, and has a 1-2% chance of ever coming out of it. She leaves behind her 2 children that are 14 and 16. I am left to take care of all aspects of this accident. We lost our parents years back. Father to liver failure due to alcoholism and Mother 13 yrs ago with a brain anurysm. We have been taking care of each other since. My sister is 36 years old and all i have in this world. I am taking care of her kids and mine now. Before the ingestion of the anti-freeze i had tried everything to help her with the alcoholism, she got bad fast after the death of our mom. My niece and nephew had dealt with living with an alcoholic and now, their mom is severely brain damaged and they know she will never come back to them.
    I watched your show today, and If those women could see the pain alcoholism has caused my family, myself, my niece, nephew, and my sister!! I will pray for all of those families and wish them well. Please open your eyes, and see the pain the drinking causes! I have lived it my entire life, grew up with alcoholics and it continued with my sister. The cycle has stopped with me, although the pain caused will NEVER end! I hope reading this will help someone realize that the end result is NOT WORTH THAT DRINK!
    Have faith in the Lord, he will guide you through!

  43. I am a daughter of an alcoholic and my father died at age 57! I grew up without a father. My mom was a strong woman and she did a great job with four kids. I married one also. I have two sons that have a serious problem. One son was in detox eight times! I almost lost him. I finally realized that I was the enabler and quicky changed what I was doing with this grown adult son.
    He was sober for a year and now has started drinking beer everday and he sees nothing wrong with that. NOt SO! Soon. he will progress to more needed everyday in his body. I searched everywhere for help when all of this was going on for help and it all took money which I do not have. There is an underlying medical reason as to why some of us drink such as anxiety, bi-polar and other medical reasons that are not addresed at all.
    We all would be shocked at the number of people that have this disease, alcoholism.
    There are no secrets when a person has a drinking problem so do not protect them, rather share with everyone in the family. Make that person accountable for his drunken mistakes and actions. Take photos and show to them when they are sober. I am a strong woman but if I have to go through this again with my son, I will not make it this time. Round two ongoing here and my nerves are shot.
    A loving Mom trying to save my son that does not want to be saved

  44. Jamie says:

    Dr. Phil,

    I just finished watching your 3 o’clock show on ”drinking moms”. I recently turned 18 and have my own 1 year old daughter. My mom has been an alcoholic for as long as I can remember and she still is to this day. As I grew up there was not a day that I didn’t see her drink. There was a time where our house was infested with fleas, and every month we would either not have electricity or we wouldn’t have hot water to take a shower. My dad and mom never got married when I was born so I hardly ever saw my dad. He is also an alcoholic. Neither one of them even graduated high school. She has been married 3 times all to men that physically abused her and had problems themselves. My mom is still suffering with alcoholism and I just wish that she had someone to help her, because my siblings and I have tried for over 10 years. I know that she is unhappy but her drinking only makes it that much worse.

  45. Jane says:

    I am 25 years ol dand my dad is an alcoholic. He has been since I was a kid, I think since I was eight or something. I’m sure I have been in the car with him while he had too much to drink when I was a kid. I remember one ocasion I think I was about ten, my dad was driving me home to my mom’s, my parents are divorced, when he stopped at parking in the center of a town. He left the car and said he would be right back, he just really had to go to the bathroom. I waited in the car for what I think was about an hour and a half, I had a comic book in the car which I read three times just to pass the time, the second and the third time I read it I was already crying. After reading it three times I was just desperate and crying and I got out of the car, I was going to ring the doorbell on one of the houses to ask to use the phone and call my mom. When I was walking towards a house my dad came out of a bar and walked towards me, he said he had run into a friend who lived on the other side of the bar but he had just used the bar to exit this friend’s house because it was closer. Or something like that. I was a kid, I believed my dad, I mean now I know he obviously just needed a drink and didn’t go to a friend’s houde at all. I’m now 25 and I’m doing great, luckily my dad never had an accident while I, or my older brother or sister, were in the car. I still love my dad and I can forgive all of the stupid things he did but he is still drinking. He is intelligent so I think on some level he understands he has a problem but him and his wife are both alcoholics and they just don’t seem to think it is a problem. I don’t know how to help, mostly I just leave it alone, I don’t want the few times I visit him to disappear completely because of a fight over his drinking. Me and my sister still visit from time to time, my brother hardly ever sees him. I know that if he continues like this he will not live long, the doctor already said this to him. His weight has increased drastically, mostly because of his alcohol abuse I think, and because he has no physical activity at all, and this has already caused several health issues, he can not work anymore. He has also developped diabetes which he probably also got this early on because of his unhealthy lifestyle. I don’t really expect anything from posting this comment, I just wanted to tell my story.

  46. Sandy says:

    I watched your show today (as I do most days) with tears & a heavy heart. I have a grown daughter in her fifties who drinks everday & when I say something about it she either lies about it or just ignores my words. She recently moved from Texas & her sister is kind enough to let her stay with her for awhile. She needs help & I don’t know what to do. I pray for her all the time. She has such a good heart & has gone through a bitter divorce, I feel so sorry for her, she’s so lost. I’m actually worn out for worring about her. Needless to say her health is not too good & I’m so afraid her liver will go soon. She’s a smart young lady about most other matters. Well, guess this story is like others, so sad.
    From :
    A Mother who cares so much!

  47. Terry C. says:

    Hi Dr. Phil and all,

    After reading through these blogs,I felt the need to comment. I read posts from people on both sides of this issue.I’ve read the hurt and anguish of some,and the bewilderment of trying to understand alcoholism.I’ve read that it is a disease and it isn’t a disease,but putting a label on it doesn’t solve anything.

    There comes a point in the alcoholics life that they can no longer go on the way they are,but at the same time,they can’t imagine life any other way.That is total and complete despair.Rehab won’t fix it.Being shamed into sobriety doesn’t work either.Alcoholics are masters at reading people.Someone here talked about re-wiring the brain to have lasting sobriety.I agree with that.You take away the alcohol and what you have left is the ‘ism’. That’s an acronym for I ,self ,and me. Herein lies the problem.Ask any drunk if they when they were in school and the teacher asked”Well little Johnny/Sue ,what do you want to be when you grow up?”No one has ever said they wanted to be a drunk or a dope fiend,but yet that’s what some become.I’m included in this group.I’ve got plenty of ‘war stories’,but that’s neither here nor there.They offer no solution except to let another drunk know that they know where they’re coming from.Birds of a feather flock together so to speak.

    It takes divine intervention to be released from the depths of alcoholism.Treatment centers and aftercare plays their roles,but to have lasting sobriety,the person has to undergo a psychic change.And only God can deliver on this .In the meantime, it doesn’t have to be a ‘mean’ time for those who are dealing with the effects of what the drunk has done.In Al Anon, they focus on themselves,not the drunk,because loving them or fixing them into sobriety won’t be successful.I’d suggest those reading here,would want to pursue this if coping with the alcoholic becomes too much.

    I have been sober myself for over 20 years now.I no longer have the desire to drink. God lifted that from me.He can lift that from you also if you’re a drunk.Some will say,my religion is different from yours,so I’m doomed to failure.Not so.No matter if you choose to call Him God,Allah,Buddah or what,a drunk can become sober.

    My advice to those with a couple of years sobriety,don’t get too big for your britches so to speak.I’ve seen too many in their terrible two’s relapse time and again.Especially when they are dealing with a drunk that just can’t somehow get sober,and then they take it personally ,and become overwhelmed to the point of going back to the drink. Please remain humble and grateful for what God has given to you.Each day turns into years,and as the fog lifts,a whole new person is found,and what once seemed impossible,now is just a memory and a tool for helping others being released from this malady.

    Dr. Phil,was the casket necessary? A drunk already knows this guilt and shame ad infinitum.We are good at self loathing.so anything anyone brings to that table,just ain’t gonna work. But I do admire your willingness to address this issue.Here’s some unsolicited advice to the doc if I may,it’s the method that counts ,not the motive.Being stern and untrusting is something every drunk has had to face,but it doesn’t add to the solution,but has them remaining in the problem.

    Sincerely,

    Terry C.

  48. Connie says:

    My Mother was an drunk. She exposd me to many thing in her drinking. We were taken from her when I was three and I was returned to her when I was six. I remember things like when I got home from school she was drunk and one time she wanted to go to the bar and I did not want to go. So she left me home alone. I was in the second grade. And I caught the kinchen to fire trying to cook some thing. I threw water on a electric stove. That was not the only time I was alone and caught an other kichen to fire trying to cook again I was nine at the time of that one. She let this girl she did not know take me and baby sit me. She had just met her at the bar. I was molested at the age of nine a few times. We went camping one time and my Mom let me sleep out side with a old man she knew from one of the bars she hung out at. He was just one of the times I was molested. There were many times of that molestation. At the age of twelve I was introdust to prostatution. It was something that I already knew and I was wanted if only for a while. That happened for about the age of twenty five. I always keeped a sugar daddy for the raming of my life I am now fhity years old. We beared my Mom at the age of fifteen. The last thing that my Mom said to me was it was my fault. And the man who molested me toke us to her serce. I have been on any kind of drugs and drank for twenty fve years. I have fallen a few times but I have not done any drugs for a few years. I have been dignost with Bypolar many years ago. I think that after all of that I am a good person. I do carry alot of the pain and memeries of my life. But I dont let it be know to peple. I am a pretty rounded person if I did not tell you that I was bypoler you would not even know. Like you said I hide the life at home. And did not dare bring any one home. Just for someone to see my life as a child was frinteng to me. So when I seen that show I cried through the whole sle show. It really hit home with me.

  49. Bunny says:

    I watched the show the other day about Mothers who drink and drive. I would like to comment on the section about the coffins being brought out and the inference that the guest and her and/or her daughter could end up in one if she didn’t quit drinking. People do not give up drinking on self knowledge. Telling a drinking alcoholic that they might die if they don’t stop is not a deterent it is an incentive. Most if not all drinking alcoholics want to die. I say that after many years in the addictions field. Hope you find this information useful for any further programmes on addiction.

  50. Bobby Jo says:

    Coming from an alcoholic in recovery I just don’t see what these women are thinking. I thank God every day that I am sober and that my little girl will never have to live with the shame of her drunk mother. What are these women thinking? Kids have enough to deal with from their peers than to have to deal with a drunk parent, come on! Not to mention driving with a little one in the car, do they love their children. I am not one either to say people should not drink ever, I chose not to because I can’t handle it but many of my friends drink and that is fine as long as you are not watching or driving your children around. People need to grow up and act their age, be responsible parents. If you didn’t want to act responsible then why did you have kids?

Leave a Reply