Todd Herzog won one of the most challenging reality TV competitions in history, but his fiercest struggle is still ahead of him — overcoming alcoholism.
A new video has surfaced (courtesy of "Dr. Phil") which shows the "Survivor: China" star so intoxicated he can barely walk on his own and is hardly able to speak as he admits to the daytime host, "Today, I had an entire bottle of vodka."
Dr. Phil asks a tearful Herzog, "Do you know what it will do to your mother if she has to bury her boy? Do you care about her?"
"Of course I do," the fallen star slurs as he buries his face in his hands.
Dr. Phil's promo video for the upcoming season then moves on to other struggling guests, but we aren't ready to skip ahead just yet. Herzog's alcoholism was known to few and shocked many. The preview reel is downright terrifying and it's clear Herzog's loved ones have a real mission.
His friend and former co-star, Courtney Yates (who placed second to him on "Survivor" in 2007), revealed to People magazine that it was during a Caribbean cruise together back in January that she noticed Todd's drinking "was past the point of just having fun."
"I told him, 'Todd, you need to get this together or you'll be #86 on VH1's list of reality stars gone bad,'" she explained. "Obviously that was a joke, but it started a serious conversation."
And Todd did get it together — at least for a little while. After they got back, he checked into rehab and cleaned up his act, until he moved from Florida to Utah and relapsed.
Herzog's mother, Shirley Herzog Keeler, lamented, "In the family, we would take turns on who's going to check on him, because we didn't know if he was going to die overnight." Desperate, she finally turned to Dr. Phil, a decision that was (not surprisingly) met with mixed feelings by others in Todd's circle.
Yates, however, was one who approved. "I have been very protective of him. But for better or worse, this is public now. He's accountable to everyone. I think it's important for Todd to know how much people want to see him get better. I hope he can inspire other people who are struggling."
"We have received so many messages from people who are battling the same issues as he is," Shirley added. "Todd wasn't happy at first, but I figured that I would rather him be alive and mad at me than to be dead."
But he doesn't seem to be all that mad. His mother explained, "Todd said that if his story can help one person get the help they need, he's ready to go public with it." Hopefully going public with it will also help one of the people who need it most: Todd himself.
Herzog's episode of "Dr. Phil" airs next week. Check your local listings for air time.
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