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Survivor: China Winner Todd Herzog ‘Near Death’ According To Dr. Phil

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.

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Photo courtesy of Dr. Phil.

Topics: CBS Reality TV Shows, Survivor |

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11 Responses to “Survivor: China Winner Todd Herzog ‘Near Death’ According To Dr. Phil”

  1. Barbara Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Todd, you are an inspiration to all and you deserve better for yourself. Please continue to thrive and beat your addiction. We are all behind you.

  2. Lydia Tellez Says:
    November 20th, 2013 at 1:15 am

    Todd, you have a beautiful heart, you will be very healthy and happy after you are well. You have so much to offer and to give! My nephew was near death when he was taken away to the hospital and through the grace of God, he has been sober for almost 3 years. Alcohol addiction and drug addiction killed two of my brothers, and two are doing well and the other two did not get into it so deeply. My mother died an alcoholic as well as my children’s father. My two son’s have addictions and I just pray! You will go through alot, but God will bring you back to your family and friends. You are a precious young life and I want you to live and never look back. God Bless you, you are an incredible young man!

  3. Jerele Lovely Says:
    November 20th, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Oh, Todd, you are such a wonderful person and your whole world is ahead of you. You still have so much left to conquer. I would love to talk to you in person; I believe we would be best buds. Please, please keep up the fight. There are SO MANY people that love you. I believe in you and your success!!! I know you will be a success story and I will be so proud. Much love, support and friendship today and always, Jerele Lovely (North Carolina)

  4. julie Says:
    November 20th, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    I was so horrified to see Dr Phil the other day. It was heart breaking. Alcoholism is awful. I’ve dealt and deal with it personally. Todd you are 28 and have your whole life ahead of you. Be strong

  5. Kay Says:
    November 21st, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Todd, my husband and I both are huge Suvivor fans and really enjoyed seeing you compete and win. We rooted for you then and are rooting for you now. You deserve to be happy and healthy again!! You are truly a wonderful person and are loved so much by so many. Be strong and stand up to alcoholism. You CAN do it!!!

  6. Shirley Says:
    November 23rd, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    My heart broke when I watched the Dr. Phil episode. Having been someone who’s grown up with alcoholism in the family I truly wish you the best in your treatment. It will be a never ending struggle but with the love of your family and friends I have no doubt you will succeed!!!

  7. Sandy Says:
    November 26th, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Todd, We are praying for the desire for alcohol to leave your body. You seem like such a great person and your family is doing all they can do. I went through all of this with my son and it wasn’t easy. Through the process he found God and thinks that if it hadn’t been for him hitting rock bottom, that would never have happened. Now he is raising two boys and will be married to a wonderful Christian girl next week. He always tells me that if he took even one drink, he probably couldn’t stop. The important thing is to stay away from the places that will tempt you.
    Be strong, Todd. Hugg your mom a lot.

  8. Matt K Says:
    December 8th, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    When I saw you on the Dr. Phil show, I saw myself. I saw what life used to be like for me. I know what you’re going through, but I want you to know that it will get better. Just make that decision to stop drowning your sorrows in alcohol and instead deal with the pain head on. Have faith in God, for he will guide you back to a manageable way of life. You are not alone. I will continue to pray for you. God bless you!

  9. Tammy Says:
    December 10th, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I’ve been thinking a lot about you since you left the show – stay focused, stay strong and keep the Faith. You are a strong man, I know you’ll make it!!! Good Luck Todd, there’s alot of people out here rooting for you!!!

  10. Donna Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Todd, I have just watched your heartbreaking story on Dr Phil… Todd, you are a gorgeous human being, you are handsome, smart, humorous with a massive loving heart… Todd, YOU deserve to be healthy, YOU deserve to be happy and YOU WILL BE OK, you have the support around you, but you also have the strength to do this, to bear this battle, to take control… you are a SURVIVOR Todd and I just can’t wait to see further reports that you are doing well and to see photos of a happy and super healthy Todd, I just can’t wait Todd… So much love & strength to you sweet boy, so much love your way xxxxxxxxxxxx

  11. Nicole Says:
    March 3rd, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Dear Todd,
    My heart broke reading your story. You have so much to offer the world. Please don’t give up. You are loved. The most important thing in the world is love.


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