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Topic : 09/04 Ask Dr. Phil

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Created on : Friday, August 29, 2008, 12:05:08 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
Nothing is off limits as Dr. Phil answers viewers’ questions! First up, Angel says she and her husband, Don, seem like the all-American family, but despite her soccer mom demeanor, she’s hiding a deadly secret: she’s addicted to pain pills. Angel admits to being high while driving with her kids, and she says she even gambles her husband’s paycheck away. Can Angel get her life back on track, and will Don be able to trust his wife again? Then, 17-year-old Jocelyn says she has to care for her two younger siblings while her mother, Lori, parties all night with 20-somethings. Lori denies that Jocelyn is forced to police her, yet she admits using the teen as a babysitter while she drinks at bars. Does Lori need to get real about her behavior? Plus, don't miss the horrific story of one teen's online mistake that nearly cost her life. Find out how you can keep your kids safe in cyberspace. And, meet a mother who says her 17-year-old son believes he’s God’s gift to women, and she fears he'll grow up to be a womanizer. Talk about the show here.

Find out what happened on the show.

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September 5, 2008, 6:00 am CDT

raggaeinky thank you

Quote From: reggaeinky

I watched Angel on Dr. Phil today with tears in my eyes, I felt her pain. I've been opiate-free since August 17, 2006. That was the day I took my last 1 mg dose of methadone. I attended a methadone clinic for 4 years, the last 3 spent tapering down off of the methadone. So many people are uneducated when it comes to addiction, some blurt out things such as "you're trading one addiction for another" or other one-liners that they might have even heard someone else say. It's much easier to wean off of methadone, which is a synthetic opiate, as opposed to hydrocodone pills.


I have had severe back pain for 32 years and could have milked that all of my life for pain medication. I chose not to, because I saw the road I was headed down. I cut it off at the pass, as when I fast-forwarded into wondering what my future might have been like, it was very bleak. And compared to most patients at the methadone clinic, I was on a low dose of opiates. Many couldn't believe I was even on methadone, said you can kick that yourself. I would think to myself, "Speak for yourself."


At the height of my addiction to opiates, I was taking 20 pills per day of 10/500 (10 mg hydrocodone - the opiate/500 mg of acetaminophen). What hurts the liver is the acetominophen.  Usually, doctors write scripts for 5/500 mg or 10/1,000 mg, trying to keep the patient from becoming dependent on the opiate, treating with the lowest amount of opiate possible and very short-term.


I was prescribed 3 pills per day, 10/500 mg hydrocodone/acetaminophen, #90 per month. It was for  herniated disk pain, three herniated disks. The excruciating pain that I eventually grew to have wasn't touched by any other pain med except opiates. 


I've worked for two psychiatrists in the past and am now a medical transcriptionist at home, typing radiation oncology patient notes. I'm familiar with drugs and my family doctor knew this.  He has been my doc for 34 years (I'm 51 years old, saw him first at age 18), he told me before prescribing it for me that I should know this is intended for short-term use, it's a very powerful narcotic and that he couldn't keep treating my symptoms, that I needed to take care of the problem, surgery on the three herniated disks.


Long story short, I couldn't have the surgery done because I couldn't take time off work.  I don't get paid unless I work, as I am paid based on my production, paid per line that I type.  After two years, which was way past what my doc said he would prescribe it, he said I just can't continue this anymore.


By then, I saw where I was headed, told him I was addicted and he said he knew that, because it has been two years.  He knew I had a higher tolerance since I had been taking it so long. He doesn't know I used to buy it from my friends' friends, some friends gave them to me, knew I had a problem but knew I had to take care of it. 


My doctor sent me to a pain clinic. That doc cut my pills back to #30 and gave me an injection in my spine which worked for about 3 days with keeping the pain at bay. I knew I was in trouble.  I'm a big weenie and can't stand that uncomfortable feeling you get when you need more opiates in your system JUST TO GET THROUGH THE DAY, NOT EVEN TO GET A HIGH.  When I starting waking up and the first thing on my mind was "where am I gonna' find 20 pills today" - that's when I knew I needed help big time.


I phoned a friend I knew had gone to the same methadone clinic years prior and I called the clinic. They said I had to be in withdrawal when I came for my appt in order to be accepted, and this was a Friday afternoon. I made an appt with the doctor at the methadone clinic for an intake physical exam, blood work, and to start on methadone for Monday morning.  They told me to stop taking my pills at 3pm Sunday afternoon.


That Sunday was the longest night of my life. No sleep, that wasn't gonna' happen.....out of the question, uncomfortable to say the least, could not sit still... pacing, muscles aching, I stood in a cool shower most of the night..... alone.  I live alone.  I was 45 years old at the time, this was 2001, the year my Mom died. 


I had to be at the clinic at 6AM Monday morning, driving across a bridge enroute and I hate bridges! I got so used to that bridge, I could drive across it in my sleep after so many trips. You have to attend the methadone clinic and receive your daily dose of methadone each day in front of the nurse, $12 per dose, no matter what the dose is, 1 mg cost $12 and 150 mg cost $12.  It was red liquid.  You have to go every day, 6 days a week for ONE YEAR until you get clean urine tests and don't miss days, then you earn the privilege to take home two doses and come back every two days.  You then keep earning more take-home doses as you go along.


I never missed a day.  Every morning, 6 days a week (they gave you one take-home dose for Sundays and holidays. I was able to take home two-weeks of methadone after a year.  I went up to 84 mg, starting at 5 mg and going up 5 per week until I felt "comfortable." I felt comfortable at 84 mg. After six months on 84 mg, I started weaning down, per the doctor's instructions 1 mg per week. Doesn't sound like a lot.  I said, "One mg?  You mean 10 mg?" He said, "No, one mg per week."  I then found out why. 


This is powerful, methadone. Some people take it for chronic pain all of their life and it works great. Some are prescribed methadone by their physicians, but not many. There is such a stigma on addiction, especially methadone, it makes me so mad.  I saw so many peoples' lives turned around at that clinic. Girls who I first saw in their pajamas, dirty, hair messed up, they started looking better each week. They started wearing clean clothes, they started fixing their hair and wearing make-up, then they started talking about job interviews, then jobs! I saw lives saved by methadone, families saved, that's what I saw!


Opiate addiction is so, so scary. The person on opiates is not the true person. I never doctor-shopped, but I would have. I never bought off of the street, but I would have. Eventually, I would have done anything to get them, I saw that down that bleak road.  I judge NOBODY.  I've been there.  I know how horrible it feels to need to take pills just to get through the day. I needed them so I could keep my apartment clean, do the housework, do my typing all day, run errands.


But I could have said I needed them forever. I see so many people who need help, but they just don't hit the bottom or else they rationalize their use, which I what I was doing.  "BUT MY BACK PAIN! MY BACK PAIN!"


As I weaned off methadone, the doctor told me to come down to 60 mg and stop for a month, start down 1 mg per week again and stop at 40 mg, this to allow your body to adjust. I got down to 10 mg per day and hit a brick wall. I started having mild withdrawal symptoms, not feeling comfortable in my own skin, just not comfortable. Not sure how to describe it. Wasn't able to focus on my typing/my work. My paycheck dropped really low because I wasn't producing enough work. However, I got through it and stopped at 10 mg for a few months.  I then started the wean down to 0 mg per day, 1 mg per week.  That last week of 1 mg doses contained a dropper-full of methadone, like a dropper-ful of water. That's how powerful it is.


I took my last 1 mg dose of methadone on August 17, 2006.  It wasn't easy either. And it cost me a LOT of money, to the tune of $30,000 over 4 years.  BUT, I had to think about how much money it would have cost me if I DID NOT GET OFF OF OPIATES. Maybe my life.


I do back exercises to strengthen the muscles down each side of the spine, and this helps support my spine more and makes the pain tolerable. I've learned to be very, very careful in my movements, as one little misstep and I'm flat on my back for at least 4 days with excruciating pain, and constant. But that rarely happens.  Now I only take naproxen for pain and it works. I would have laughed at that in the past.


But the opiates change your brain, it's a chemical thing, it's proven. And also it's hereditary, opiate addiction. I learned that my grandfather had been an opiate addict which I never knew. Hmmm.


So I felt Angel's pain and I'm so glad she got the help.  I wish her the best.  As involved as she is as a parent with the school, I know she is just as involved in her recovery programs. 


I never connected with NA or AA. Could be because I worked for psychiatrists and helped them conduct group therapy and therefore was more on the clinician side rather than the patient side and felt uncomfortable in any group setting. I did attend Al-Anon when an ex-boyfriend was inpatient in rehab. It really helped me at the time.  The methadone clinic asked me to volunteer at the clinic, to talk to others since I was one of their 'success' stories. I apologized but told them I couldn't since I live alone and on my single income and am paid by production. Plus, it was quite a distance to drive.


Sorry this post is so long, but I type for a living and I just type fast! I won't apologize for that, it's MORE MONEY! LOL.


Thanks for the update on Angel. And people need to get educated on addiction so that they can help those in their family with addictions. People don't WANT to be addicts.  I never met one who CHOSE that. Sure they might have made a mistake at the start, or like me prescribed legally by a physician, but nobody wants to be an addict.  Most hate themselves and get in so deep they can't find their own way out.  Don't judge them, help them.  And never, ever enable them.  Just my opinion.

you are one of the strongest people i have ever heard from,  i wish i had your hand to hold while

i make some decisions today,  i need, it took about 10 minutes to write that

sentence.     I believe that god will show me the way ......through him anything is possible which

is what everyone keeps telling me.  You started this process when you were 18.....

and i belive you said you are now 45   maybe you are gods way of telling me it's not too late.

i was able to kick oxycontin...alone.   have not touched an oxycontin for 3 years

  but am still on a minor pain med,  just to keep away the

terrible pain of withdrawls.  As i sit here this morning,   I am so scared......i could never sit on

a stage and tell my story like the dr phil guests.....but...........maybe i could if you were dr phil.

Thank you for just writing what you wrote.  

God Bless you 

September 5, 2008, 10:01 am CDT

maybe you can't change but i can

Quote From: symphonymommy

I am very sorry that your husband did not stick with his program to be clean.  However, it is incredibly unfair of you to say that everyone who becomes addicted to pain medication (or anything for that matter) is the same, they will continuously lie and never change.  That statement is not true and no one should box in the rest of the addicts in the world because your husband didn't try hard enough to become clean.  I have been clean for over 5 years now, have a fabulous job, great friends, pay my bills, take my children to school, participate in after school activities and have a wonderful life.  People can change! 


I know in my heart of hearts that they can change,  AA  or people abusing drugs , 

i have seen t his first hand many many times and admire them so much for their

courage and strength to keep going,  maybe saying that they can't / won't change

 is what keeps so many people from trying hard to get the help they need.

Everyone is different,  but i can feel your pain and sympathize but you are wrong 

Change can happen to anyone as long as they have the right focus and a huge

support system.   I'm hopeing i will be able to totally change when my time comes. 

With god holding me up,  i can do it too.

September 5, 2008, 10:23 am CDT

Angel and Lori

Angel is a danger to everyone around her.The authorities need to remove her ability to drive immediately. She is going to get in a wreck and endanger or put the lives of her children in harms way and those of others. I do not care about this person because she does not care about herself. I hope officials take action and remove her ability to drive immediately! Her husband needs to leave immediately with the children, don't be dumb, he has used up his allocated amount of ignorance.

Lori is a drunk driver please stop this rolling wrecking ball of a woman. She is likely to ruin the life of another individual or family, She has done enough damage to her own family. Anyone guilty of drunk driving or drug abuse should not be allowed to drive again. Driving is a privilege and she is putting the lives of others on the line. She is selfish and her children should be removed from her because she is a danger to them and others from behind the wheel of a vehicle.

We as a society can not stand by any more and let individuals who drive impaired to just skate bye. If you are caught driving impaired you should lose you right to drive forever, period, lets end this reckless behavior immediately so your sons and daughters will be safe from alleged law breaking individuals like Lori and Angel
September 5, 2008, 10:07 pm CDT

To The Husband & Wife (which wife has medication problem)

This is to BOTH of YOU!!  I, too, have an addiction to prescription drugs.  In fact, because of my addiction, I am very familiar with the different types and strengths of pain meds available, so I know that (if she were telling the truth about the names and amounts she was taking), then she could be helped easier than what she thinks.  Now, I want to strongly point out that, by no means, am I condoning mis-use of pain meds, regardless of type, strength or amount taken.  I must say that I am not familiar with gambling, so I can't "intellectually" respond.  However, I can say that she was "Right On" when she said the pills give(or gave) her strength, such as being able to confess to her husband (in front of millions).  They cause you to make bad decisions.  The high gives you impulses to do many things such as shop and I would assume in her case, to gamble.  They really do consume your life and eventually you forget who you were before you started taking them.  In my case, I feel I will loose "something" (I can't put a word to what "something" is), IF I can EVER ACTUALLY STOP taking them.  I actually had medical reasons for taking the pain meds, but as you take them, your body develops a tolerance, requiring your need to increase the amount or strength or both.  Anyway, I am not writing about my problem and in all honesty, I haven't even finished watching the show, but I had to pause it and come to this message board and write to you both.  I don't know what has happened with the two of you, but I felt that my input could help you - regardless (or maybe due to) the path you all decided to take. 

For the husband, I know that this is devestating.  I'm sure you feel like an idiot for allowing you and your family to loose your home.  Then on top of that, to find out what was behind the reason.  I hope your family is still together and that you all are receiving counseling.  I am talking about serious counseling.  The wife should be getting the help she needs to control her addiction - 1st for her pain medication usage and 2nd for the gambling addiction.  Because, from my experience, I believe that if her pain medication addiction gets under control, then her gambling addiction will easily follow.  Like I said, I don't know much about gambling addiction, but from my own experience, I know that the pain meds gives you impulses and the strength to carry them out.  Therefore, I am sure the pain meds gave her the strength to take the chance on gambling.  I have had 2 stints with my pain med addiction.  The first one hurt us financially because I was taking a huge amount and getting them everyway I could, and that meant I was buying them online, from anybody who would sell them, etc.  It really hurt our family and when I had to tell my husband, it was one of the worst days of my life.  We are still financially strapped from that time in my life.  My husband stuck by me, but we still argue constantly about money.  Until all the credit cards are paid, we will always fuss about them.  I tell you, I would do anything if I could win a small lottery-just enough to get us out of that credit card debt and then I could finally let go of that guilt.  I am telling you this for a reason...see I stopped taking them for a period...and during that period, I felt lost.  I felt like I was in somebody elses body or that I was "kinda like floating" over myself and looking down on myself.  I can't explain it exactly...I should have felt happy, but I felt just plain WEIRD!!  Then about 6 months down the road (no using at all), I had a pain hit me in my left side.  I wasn't diagnosed and operated on until approx 3 years later and during that time, I had to give in and take pain meds.  The one thing I can say is that I am no where near the degree I was when I had my first problem, but regardless, I am now at a point that I don't need to take them to the extinct that I am, but I am scared to death to stop.   As I said above, I fell after suregery and hurt my knee, then when it was x-rayed, it showed degenerative damage.  But I want to stop taking them...because I am just like Dr. Phil described...always trying to figure out how to get them early, etc.  I will call my doctor and fudge the truth, for example "We are going out of town and I want to get them filled our local pharmacy."  Most of the time its true, but not always.  I have just built up such a tolerance, that it is easy to want to take more and more.  Needless to say, my husband is very unhappy with me and is constantly nagging me about taking them and wanting me to stop.  I know that if I were to start expressing a need for my knee that he may possibly just call it quits.  And I really couldn't blame him. 

Well, I have gone on way to long, but I wanted the wife to know that she is not alone.  I didn't read the message boards, but I am sure she has been raked over the coals.  And in all honesty, losing the house is really bad.  But, here is the reason I wrote, I saw a husband that loved his wife.  He trusted her and she did betray that trust, but I know that if she weren't under these influences (which she allowed), I don't think this would have ever happened.  I wanted the both of you to know that no matter how bad people talk about you and they will, you should seek guidance and if you love each other, then you should get all the help that you can get (thru the Dr Phil show or thru your own healthcare or thru any churches or free medical care programs). 

I can assure the wife that it will be hard...the depression, the aches and pains from withdrawals, as well as the throwing up, etc.  You should include your children with the counseling or whatever help you get because I feel an addictive personality is inherited either genetically or a taught process, either way they need help, so that they don't follow in her footsteps.  

I don't know if my writing this is any help to you both and your family, but I know that the husband will get alot of ribbing and may act upon advice or pressure from family, friends or even out of embarrassment from the viewers of the show (like on the message boards or something).  All I am saying is that it seemed like he truly loved her and I think that she loved him as well.  I know that these are not actions of a woman who loves her husband, but desperation will cause any of us to do some things that we would never think possible.  So, before you give up, you all should seek all the help given to you.  The husband should definetely watch the money or hire an accountant, but he should not let the wife control it.  However, and this is very important...Don't take everything away from her.  I have heard Dr. Phil give out the tough love advice and I totally know why he does so, but when you are on the wrong side of that, it can backfire.  For me, when I was trying to get better and my husband had taken all the money responsibilities from me...I was glad because it was a burden under even normal conditions, but he started laying down rules which belittled me so much that it made me feel so belittled that I just wanted to lay down and sleep and just stay there.  In other words, it worsened my depression.  And trust me, I know it was what I deserved, but I couldn't get passed that - that was all I deserved!!!  I was no better than a person that derserved to be punished and reminded everytime money was mentioned in our life.  And even though, I know that - that was what I deserved, I just couldn't handle feeling like that was all that I deserved!!  I hope that makes some sense. 

So, I am no professional and I am facing the same issues in my life right now, but I felt like I had to write to the both of you.  For the husband, please don't feel like you have been duped.  If you can get past things, then you should work thru things with counseling and every guidance you can get.  

If you would like to speak to me about anything, please write back.  Thank You

September 6, 2008, 5:05 pm CDT


Quote From: symphonymommy

I am very sorry that your husband did not stick with his program to be clean.  However, it is incredibly unfair of you to say that everyone who becomes addicted to pain medication (or anything for that matter) is the same, they will continuously lie and never change.  That statement is not true and no one should box in the rest of the addicts in the world because your husband didn't try hard enough to become clean.  I have been clean for over 5 years now, have a fabulous job, great friends, pay my bills, take my children to school, participate in after school activities and have a wonderful life.  People can change! 
First of all my first message where it says bills all around was a typo and should have said Pills meaning that my toddler was finding them all over the house which was a danger to his life!  And secondly statistics show and we can also attest to the number of celebrities even that are IN and OUT of rehab that it is a never ending battle.  So I applaud you on your 5 years but  I suffered long enough to NOT want to take any further chances with an addict as there are no guarantees that being clean means forever  and I have already wasted the prime of my life with an addict and if I had not I probably would not be starting with NOTHING at 43 and only one child.  I have worked since I was 12 years old and have owned 2 homes, a cottage, a business, a retirement nest egg and had to start all over going to the food bank for food for my son with no retirement plan, all due to falling in love with someone who became addicted to oxycontin .....  So at least now that I am restarting and doing it on my own I dont have to worry about somebody destroying what I am working hard to regain (and when I say on my own I mean with NO child support etc as like most dead beat dads he seems to have a way of getting around the law but managing to support himself).  I can only control what I do and learned this the hard way so forgive me for once in my life being selfish and try to regain in the next 20 years before retirement what I already had at the age of 35 and Lost and for being a little angry  that I only have one child when I wanted more - This is the issue I have with addicts - they always have the sympathy of people and still manage to have everything they want - children, fabulous jobs, and a wonderful life all while the people they destroyed during their addiction seem to be the ones that suffer just because we are the ones that are unselfish, giving and forever forgiving.  Well I for one no longer have any sympathy and say that it only pays to be selfish in life as addicts naturally are.......
September 11, 2008, 5:28 am CDT

09/04 Ask Dr. Phil

Quote From: KathySue

Why do some people post their comments on this message board BEFORE they watch the episode of Dr. Phil for that day?  Am I wrong or are these message boards for posting comments AFTER you watch the show?
I think sometimes we form an opinion before we see the show. Then perhaps something on the show makes us change our opinion. If the message boards were to only be used AFTER the showed has aired the Moderators were certainly tell us. So, since they have never posted a message to that effect, I think it's safe to say that we can post our comments any time we choose.
September 12, 2008, 12:02 pm CDT

Roger King

Dear Dr. Phil


Now that I am retired I watch your show daily and have been curious as to the IN MEMORY OF ROGER KING at the end of your program.  This must havebeen some great person to be rememered for so long.  Who was Roger King.


Curious in Canada

September 15, 2008, 3:23 pm CDT

How do I get back to work?

Im a sahm mom of 3 children. I want to work, I have worked and still have managed to take care of the house and kids. My husband is gone 5 days out of the week. I used to clean houses but, I only made 50 dollars a house. I want to make 1500 a month . How can I do this because nobody seems to be able to pay this. I am starting school in the spring to be a phelbotmist. Until then I need to get out of this house and work. ANY help would be appreciated. Thanks
September 17, 2008, 1:59 pm CDT

09/04 Ask Dr. Phil

Quote From: gracie33

Before you start to judge Angel, I think there is something you all must know.  This episode of Dr. Phil was actually taped over a year ago.  Angel did go to rehab shortly after the taping of this show.  It has been a year since Angel admitted herself to rehab, started working a program of recovery and is one of the strongest individuals I know in the program and with her faith in God.  Angel has worked through the challenges with her husband and their relationship has grown and become stronger.  She is a wonderful mother to her children and puts their needs and wants above her own.  Angel works a very strong NA program and is now sponsoring others to help them in their recovery process.  Angel has turned her life around, faces her challenges on a day to day basis with the support of her family, friends and most importantly God.  As you watch the show tomorrow and find yourself judging Angel, feeling sorry for her family, keep in mind that Agel has turned her life around and you can too.,

Judging from your message you must know Angel, if this is true, I would like you to give her a message. My name is Kelly and I am a mother of two who is also going through recovery.  I was addicted to Tramadol, which is the same as Ultram, one of the same drugs Angel was addicted to.  I am currently attending the NA program and doing great in my recovery.  I have had a hard time finding anyone who had the same issues I did and who can understand where I am coming from, but when I watched the show, I could sympathize with almost everything Angel said.  I know that many people do not understand that addiction is a disease which is not curable, and I will have to deal with it the rest of my life.  Unfortunately, most people do not understand this and view us as "junkies".  We are normal people who made some bad choices and we are trying to get our lives back to normal.  I would really like to email Angel if she would be willing to communicate with me, I would just like to talk with someone who can understand where I am coming from and what I have been through.  If you could give her the message for me please, my personal email address is  Thank you.
September 29, 2008, 6:38 pm CDT

daughter in law


      I have tried everything to get along with this daughter in law and yesterday she decided to show up at my families get together and treat me and my mother like crap. I am really tired of dealing with a 19 yr old that acts like  a b****. I hate to give up my son but at this time I guess he and my granddaugher are on their own. She has made sure that we don't have anything to do with my son or granddaughter and I really hate her at this point. I give up and don't know anything else to do....Dr. PHIL if you are reading this please help me.....................................

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