The Show

How to Stay Sober

Dr. Phil delves into the topic of addiction with two families on the verge of losing it all. Rigo was taking up to 2,000 pain pills a month before his life fell apart. And, Chuck is an unemployed alcoholic about to lose it all.

Not about Willpower



Dr. Urschel

Dr. Phil introduces psychiatrist Dr. Harold Urschel, founder and CEO of the Urschel Recovery Science Institute. He's also the chief medical strategist and co-founder of Enter Health, an addiction disease management company. Dr. Urschel is the author of the book, Healing the Addicted Brain.

Dr. Phil explains that he considers Dr. Urschel to be the top expert in the field of addiction, and he consulted him regarding the disease of addiction when he wrote his book, Real Life.

Dr. Urschel agrees with Dr. Phil about Rigo being a high risk for relapse. "Although there is a tremendous amount of hope that you can beat this chronic illness that you have, you're not doing a tenth of what you need to be doing," he says. "You're doing what most people would do, but most people really don't know how to treat the illness effectively."

Rigo finds this hard to hear because he doesn't know what else he can do.

Dr. Phil points out that Rigo's strategies to stay sober have failed him before. "You're living on an air mattress at your sister's house. You've lost your job, you've lost your wife, you've lost your family doing what you've always done. There is good news here: There is a huge amount you can do that you haven't done that can give you a different result. You should be doing cartwheels down the runway, saying, ‘Are you kidding me? There is 90 percent more that I can do to preserve my marriage, and my family, and my health and my future?' I would think that would be exciting instead of hard to hear."

"No, it's hard to hear that what I'm doing now isn't enough," Rigo says. "I'm putting forth the effort and how hard it's been for me to get to this point has been a lot of hard work and for that not to be enough " I'm excited, don't get me wrong. I'm excited that there is hope, that there is something else I can do. I'm happy. It's good to hear."

"This is my point though: What you are doing is wearing you out," Dr. Phil says.

"It is," he agrees.

"And that's the whole point. This isn't about willpower. It will wear you out. You will fail doing what you're doing," Dr. Phil says. "Addiction is a chronic medical illness and one of the hardest diseases to manage. But by being educated, getting the right information, getting the right treatment, it can be successfully controlled."

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