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Topic : 05/17 Brandon Behind Bars

Number of Replies: 431
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Created on : Friday, May 12, 2006, 10:06:38 am
Author : DrPhilBoard1
Dr. Phil revisits the story that captivated America. At 21 years of age, Brandon was immersed in drug addiction, prone to violent outbursts that scared his family and left them worried that wouldn’t live to see 22. Dr. Phil conducted an intervention and followed Brandon's roller coaster ride through treatment, relapse and the struggle to get back on his feet. After a year of sobriety, the last place his family expected to see Brandon was behind bars -- but, that's exactly where his disease has taken him. Does black tar heroin have a hold on him? Dr. Phil travels to Harris County Jail in Houston, Texas to find out. He also hears Brandon reveal how a drug addict beats the system. Plus, drug addiction affects not only the user, but the entire family. See the toll it's taking on Brandon’s family and on his parents' marriage. Join the discussion.

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May 13, 2006, 9:47 am CDT


Sometimes an "addiction" starts because of a life situation. These are not true addictions and frequently can be replaced with more positive behavior with the right help. Unfortunately, someone born with addictive behavior patterns will always be addicted with one thing or another. It doesn't matter what, usually destructive. When you get rid of one they will either go back or change to a different substance whether it be alcohol, drugs, sleep, (yes I said sleep), smoking, food, junk food, whatever, but always something that is destructive. These people, if they don't end up in prison, will likely die young. If the family ties into them as most caring families will, they will just pull them down with them in grief. You can love them, but keep yourself intact. You will need it when it all ends and that will usually be 20 years more or less. You can't force an addictive personality to stop and unless it was initially caused by some terrible incident in their life, it's built in. Forget it or go down with them. The clue is if the behavior can be changed, great, but if it just switches to another area and continues on, you have to face the truth that you can't do anything but grieve.  

May 13, 2006, 9:56 am CDT

I am a recovering drug addict

I am addicted to opiates and demerol.  I was a classic hospital hopper, I would pretend to be sick and in pain to get what I wanted which was a fix.  It almost ruined my marriage.  I became paranoid, started having panic attacks, I couldn't leave my own home even to go to family functions, I couldn't be around people.  It started out with a genuine health problem and developed into an addiction that almost ruined my life.  My doctor at the time just kept writing prescriptions, this went on for over a year, I found out later that he was an addict himself.   It was my husband who opened my eyes and made me see what I had become and with strength from my friends and family I overcame the addiction and started to heal.  It was a long process and everyday I'm faced with the decision to use or not to use.  I realize how precious life is and I don't want to go back to that dark place that I was in.  My prayers are with Brandon, I know it won't ever be easy but with support and the help he needs he can overcome....  

May 13, 2006, 10:14 am CDT

Our family has the same problem

Our son and our family have been on this rollercoaster for many years.  He uses cocaine and black tar heroine.  We have gone through one withdrawal with him in our home and it was one of the most tramatic experiences the three of us have through together. That was four years ago.  Since then he has gone through three withdrawals in rehab centers.  He doesn't get it.  One of his counselors suggested methadone for him and my husband and I really didn't think that was such a good suggestion, but we thought maybe it would help.   


We were able to get him in long term rehab twice and the longest he stayed was two months, but I must say that is not enough.  We are finally able to close our door to him and he knows that he can not come home until he is clean for at least a year.  And, then it would be for only a visit.  We will not enable him again. He has been able to hold a job, now, since October of last year and he just loves it.  But we found out again this week that he is using, so now he is using and still on methadone.  He knows that we will support him again only if he gets the help he needs on his own.  


I fear that if he should be able to kick the drug habit that the methadone will be even harder.  He fears the withdrawal from the methadone more than the drugs because that withdrawal if very painful. 


Our family takes one day at a time.  

May 13, 2006, 10:15 am CDT

Drugs and Nutrition

Good food supplements can help people overcome the cravings the body produces in an addict.  Hugh amounts of B Vitamins and Essential Fatty Acids along with quality vegetable proteins (no meat), very low sugars and no sugar subtitutes (drugs).  It works.  Those products do not produce hugh profits in the market place so the medical profession seldom recommends unless they are unusual and seeking other answers than more drugs.  Make sure the supplements have peer reviewed published clinical studies to back them up.  Many supplements just go right through the body and are of no benefit.  Sad, but true that good nutrition would take care of many illnesses today.  I would be happy to give more information if you contact me.   

May 13, 2006, 10:22 am CDT

The disease of addiction is Physical, Emotional and Spiritual

when i got into the AA program i wasn't sure what i was doing there.  i didn't know, exactly, what problems i had.  i just knew that my life was intolerable in a lot of ways.  i was angry, i was mad, i was tired of being used, i was tired of being alone.  despair was constant.  suicide was not an option;  it is too permanent.  and, like a friend of mine later said, "i just knew that the day i did something like that was the day it would have all gotten better if i'd just waited."  most of all, i was tired of being fed up with everything all of the time. 



i wandered into an AA meeting one night.  i was petrified to walk in that door.  i finally forced myself through the door and sat in the first available chair, about 3 feet from the door.  i didn't look at anyone in the face and i left just as soon as the meeting was over.  back in my car i marveled at how petrified i'd been to go in there.  but, somehow, i knew i had to go back.   



i did go back.  the next night.  this time i looked at people.  i actually heard some of the words they said. i was with people who, well, some of them were a little hoity toity, some of them looked like they'd just crawled out from under a rock;  they were old, they were young, they looked like my parents' friends, and they looked like people i'd never seen before.  but they were all together.  they were being honest.  they hurt.  they laughed.  they cried, men and women, right in front of everyone, and they weren't ashamed.  they were in pain, but they were healing.  god, they had what i wanted.  they believed in something.   



12 steps.  they were on the wall.  powerless over alcohol.  how could alcohol control me;  i drank it, it didn't drink me.  or did it?  i'd have to think about that.  a power greater than myself.  yeah, there was GOD, but what did he want with me?  it's not that he was a punishing god.  i didn't believe that.  i wasn't good enough yet.  someday i'd be good enough.  then he'd want me.  and, when i got good enough, maybe other people would want me.  turn my will and my life over...i'd decided when i was about six years old i didn't want to be a nun.  well, i can't even worry about that now.  a moral inventory...uh oh.  and TELL someone all that junk.  were entirely ready to have GOD remove all these defects of character...there's that perfection thing again.  humbly asked him.  humbly;  i need to look that up.  i may not be in the right place.  make a list of the people I'D harmed?  hell, what about all of the bastards that had screwed me over?!  make direct amends unless it will hurt them.  well, that takes care of having to do that step.  continue personal inventory...admit when i'm wrong.  next.  prayer...meditation...improve conscious contact with GOD - there's that word again.  as I understand him.  yeah, well, i know how i understand him and that may never happen. pray for knowledge of his will.  is that something i really want to know?  power to carry it out.  power.  i'm not supposed to have power.  having had a spiritual awakening.  what, like angels singing?  a burning bush?  like an ascension thing or something?  we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in al lour affairs.  great.   



someone said, "Keep it simple." 



and over there is that serenity prayer.  god grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.  well, i have to take some action somewhere, at some point.  i'm miserably short on wisdom and at the moment i'm short on courage.  but there are a LOT of things i can't change.  i'll start there. 



for what seemed like a hundred or more times a day, i'd repeat, "accept the things i cannot change."  i said it at work.  i said it a LOT at work.  i said it driving in traffic.  i said it when my mind wandered to the thousand places it didn't need to be.   



Keep it simple. 



someone said, "write down a description of your higher power."  that was easy.  or so i thought.  GOD.  hmm.  that somehow has no feeling.  no compassion.  nothing that speaks to me.  and i wondered, "how do i really think of god?"  "how would i describe him if i had to explain him to someone?"  i thought about it a lot.  i wrote stuff down.  i threw it all away.  and then: 


            He is tall, taller than a man of his age would normally be, 

            about six foot one, or six foot two with white hair, brushed back, 

            and dark blue or grey eyes.  He stands tall, but not with his shoulders straight, 

            as though time itself had rounded them slightly. 



            By being around him you can sense great power and inner strength, 

            but with a calmness and peace that has no description. 



            He is loving, tolerant, patient and kind. 



            He is comfortable to talk to, or to just be around. 



            He is forgiving and wise beyond human belief. 



            He speaks softly, with the beauty of the wind and the sun in his heart. 



            He is always somewhere near, 

            yet he never forces his presence on you. 



            He knows all about me, but listens anyway, 

            with great interest, as i talk to him. 



            He does not have a house or a home to live in, 

            he doesn't need it. 



            The picture i see of him is very much like a grandfather. 

            He is the grandfather i never had. 



            Yes, i like that.  My grandfather. 



            My Grand Father. 



i can live with that.  it's peaceful.  it's approachable.  it's do-able.  i learned to look up.  not toward god, because he's not "up there."  but to look at people., the sky,  buildings.  at birds and trees and flowers.  i'd always loved those but for so long they hadn't mattered.  so much had not mattered.   



praying.  this is a big problem because it feels so phony.  why is talking to my god so artificial?  it doesn't fit.  it doesn't feel right.  because it IS artificial.  when i talk i don't say, "thee" and "thy" and "thou" and "hast".  but that's how prayers sound.  ....isn't it?  then, why does god hear the prayers of children?  they don't talk that way.  they're prayers are so simple it's unbelievable.  "Believe as a child believes."    



there were other spiritual discoveries for me.  the story of the broken toy; about the man that asked god to fix him but was afraid to give god all of the broken pieces, so he held them tightly in his hand.  god, of course, knowing that the man was still clinging to some of the broken pieces asked the man how was he supposed to fix what was broken when he didn't have all of the pieces.  hmm.  got to give him ALL of the pieces.  and there are the Sons of Thunder, James and John.  these guys are my heroes.  if Jesus asked two quick tempered, possibly belligerent, men to be his disciples, then i really did have a chance at acceptance.  ...but then, they were all imperfect in some ways, weren't they.  all of them.  but they were given choices.   



i don't know when it happened.  it just happened.  oh, my demons are still there.  i'm still the person i was when i was born.  but my emotional, spiritual and physical handicaps are treatable now.  i have choices.  and my choices have consequences.  but there are a few, basic certainties now that i understand:  i always try to have the faith of a child;  and, i can't drink because it opens the door to a way of life that is deadly to me;  deadly to my spirit; deadly to my soul.  that's a dark door i don't want to ever walk through again.   



i prefer the light.

Brandon, whether your addiction is black tar heroin, or booze, or whatever, until you treat the emotional and spiritual parts of your disease, treating the physical part won't matter.  develop a relationship with a higher power.  not everyone elses higher power - YOURS.  we, each of us, have no power.  not over others, not over what is around us, not over ourselves.  develop a spiritual relationship with your higher power, not a religious one.  until you surrender yourself there will be no peace.  i know you.  i love you.  you can do this.  peace.



May 13, 2006, 10:34 am CDT


Quote From: amynewtson

Addiction hits almsot every family. This young man is ill. Yes, he can help himself, but how many of you know diabetics that are destroying themselves with the food they eat? How many of you are smokers or love one? Addicts are sometimes addicts before they ever try their DOC. They are born that way. They are lacking something or have been abused as children. Think of your own addictions (happy hour?) before you criticize this family. How far would you go to help your own son?
Very true statements!  I think every family has an addict or two in it--whether it be the computer, animals, yard work, play stations etc.  They harm your body as well as do the drugs.  The drugs more I will have to say but addiction still the same.  The addict is lacking on some chemical in the brain.  I don't think if you have been abused as a child you necessarily have an addict.  And yes I would go around the world to help my son's if I had to.
May 13, 2006, 10:50 am CDT

Solution- Narcotics Anonymous

I hope that Brandon will attend NA meetings, if available, while incarcerated.  NA saved my life.  I will have 4 years clean in Aug.  My life is now happy, joyous and free.  NA is a simple spiritual, not religious program that is available to us all.  The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop using.  I am not sure if the prisons/jails in Texas have NA meetings available.  In Calif we do.  I Secretary meetings at both jails in Santa Rosa, CA in addition to a meeting at Sierra Youth Camp, (Juvenile Hall).  There are miracles taking place on a daily basis in the rooms of NA.    


Ultimately though, Recovery is a Gift, and until Brandon accepts this gift being offered to him, his life will continue on the same destructive path to the same end result for all active addicts.......Jails, Institutions and Death.  

May 13, 2006, 10:51 am CDT

05/17 Brandon Behind Bars

I tend to agree with you in regards to "Stop showing the shows on Brandon" Here I see a young man, who was given a wonderful opportunity to have help from Dr. Phil with his addiction. There are so many other kids out there you could begin to reach out to.  I know  - I have written in for desparate assistance for my 16 yr old son who was addicted to Crystal Meth. I have been going through a year of hell -but most note that things are improving and he is 15 days sober (because he was arrested)  


I cried out for help - never received a word - so I don't hear about this kid over and over and over again. 

May 13, 2006, 11:19 am CDT

Sad but true

 Addiction is a disease that destroys a family.  Unfortunately, "you can take a horse to water but you can' make him drink."  Until Brandon is ready to make changes, the family will continue to suffer along with him.  If you turn him loose and refuse to help him he will die.  That is why the family suffers as long as the addict does.  I suffered with my son until he was 43, enabling him for a number of years.  After numerous treatment centers, I chose LaHa.  It was the right place at the right time.  It took and he is sober, straight, going to meetings still, about to marry, and has reconnected with his children.  Says he is high on life and feels like he is on a "luge, barreling through a happy life."  Sadly Brandon will continue to manipulate and cause pain for himself and his family until his pain is so great he wants God more than drugs.  Tell the family to pray, give him food when he is hungry, take him to the doctor when he is sick physically, bring him home for the night when he has no place (or to salvation army), but do not put him in a motel room, or give money; give love only.  If he wants treatment, get it, but only if he wants it. That is what I did, and it worked.  Nothing will work unless he wants it. my prayers are with you all.
May 13, 2006, 11:21 am CDT

can relate P.S.

 The marriage has nothing to do with Brandon.  If they are having marital problems, they are using Brandon as the scape goat for it................ok??? Got it????
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