November 19, 2013 12:31 PM by Ryan Haidet
The heartbreaking story of Todd Herzog’s alcohol abuse has been a hot topic among the reality TV community recently – and now, we got a deeper look at his personal struggles. Dr. Phil dedicated an entire hour to Todd’s alcoholism on Monday saying he had never seen a guest on his show more close to death. Todd was 22 years old when he won Survivor: China six years ago (read my interview with him immediately after he won). At that point in his life, Todd says he never had a drink. Since then, Todd has been admitted to the hospital multiple times – once with a blood-alcohol content of .582. It was a mark so high that doctors had told Todd’s family they had never seen anybody reach that level without being in a comatose state. An intervention was needed and Dr. Phil made sure that happened. Read how it all went down inside this article…
Flanked by intervention specialists, Todd’s family arrived at his apartment to chat about his troubles. Admittedly shaking from a need of more vodka, Todd repeatedly asked why the cameras were there and who they all were. When he heard it was for Dr. Phil, Todd wanted to know why he would want to help him. Upon asking why he didn’t want to return to rehab, Todd replied that he wanted to be sure he could participate in the red carpet press interviews on Dec. 15 at the upcoming Survivor: Blood Vs. Water finale in Hollywood. After a few more words, Todd’s family helped him pack and they made their way to LA to meet with Dr. Phil in the studio.
Before we reached that point, several pre-taped segments were shown of Todd drooling on himself, shaking excessively while trying to gulp down another drink and unsuccessfully trying to choke down vomit after his second shot of the morning. It was very frightening to see.
Upon arriving on the set, Todd couldn’t walk out by himself as he was off balance with a .263 blood-alcohol level that very moment. ”I have to help,” he slurred to Dr. Phil explaining why he had two people holding his arms for support. As the conversation evolved, things became very emotional when Todd’s family offered their concerns. Todd’s mother looked him straight in the eye and said she didn’t want to bury him. Todd’s father held his hands and expressed his support. Todd’s younger sister said she wanted her big brother back in her life. With each comment, Todd held his hands in his face and fought off tears.
At one point in the show, Dr. Phil’s crew brought out 90 one-liter bottles of vodka to display how much Todd is consuming in a single month. Ian Smith of “The Doctors” said told Todd that his body is “probably 100 years old” physiologically.
Two-time Survivor champ Sandra Diaz-Twine was in the audience and surprised Todd on stage with a massive hug. She then shared a story that Todd had recently called her and asked for help because he had no money. After offering him the opportunity to stay at her house, Todd eventually declined saying he needed to talk to his mother. Todd quickly said that he always liked Sandra because she’s “very very very blunt.” Dr. Phil brought a big laugh from the crowd by responding with: “I’m like blunt’s big brother.”
Up next, Dr. Phil offered his words of intervention. “You don’t have the right to do what you’re doing. You don’t have the right to kill yourself. You don’t have the right to keep abusing yourself the way you’re doing. … What you have to do is step up and get yourself straight. The only way you’re gonna do that is to get yourself into the right kind of treatment program. You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your family and it’s something that cannot be put off one minute further.”
Upon asking him to leave the show and immediately begin a rehab program at the Arbor Treatment Center, Todd questioned how long he would have to be gone because “I got a lot of stuff going on in my life.” After hearing he would be gone for at least 90 days, Todd expressed his disappointment that rehab would overlap with his birthday and Christmas. “Oh, shoot dog! Seriously?!?! 90 days.” But his family interjected and told him that he would at least be alive to see those days.
The episode concluded with Todd opting to head into rehab.
On a personal note, I have been a Survivor fan forever. Todd is one of the few castaways admired by fans across the board for his strategies, personality and likability. He’s a player the hardcore fans have longed desired to watch play again. He has always been kind and warm toward fans — myself included. I’ve met Todd on many occasions and he’s always smiling. Todd, I truly wish you the best of luck with everything you’re going through. We, the Survivor community, love you, care about you and want you back on your feet.
Please take a moment to write Todd a message by leaving a comment in the section below.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Phil.