VIDEO – Survivor China winner Todd Herzog’s deadly alcoholism struggle

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Today’s episode of Dr. Phil featured Survivor China winner Todd Herzog in the throes of a deadly alcohol addiction. Before entering treatment with the help of his family and Dr. Phil’s show, he was drinking 2-3 liter bottles of vodka a day.

Todd had not had a drop of alcohol until age 22, after his Survivor win. Fellow Survivor contestant and close friend Courtney Yates noticed that Todd’s drinking was extreme this January when they went on a cruise together. “It was a typical cruise,” she told People. “We swam with dolphins. There were piña coladas everywhere. But Todd’s behavior was more extreme than that. There was the shaking and trouble sleeping. It 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.’ Obviously that was a joke, but it started a serious conversation.”

After the cruise, Todd checked into rehab but soon returned to his hard-drinking ways. His terrified family would constantly have to check on him to make sure he didn’t die over night. Alcoholism this severe is terrifying because it is literally killing the person, but quitting drinking cold turkey can also kill them because of the nature of the physical addiction.

Todd’s been hospitalized two times for seizures while drinking, and astounded doctors with his blood alcohol level. Each time it was above 0.500%, but death can occur from alcohol poisoning at just 0.400%.

Todd appeared on the Dr. Phil show completely wasted on a bottle of vodka, and needed lots of help to make it to the stage. Despite some confusion and emotional swings, he seemed ready and grateful to receive treatment, where he’s scheduled to be for three months.

He posted a message on his private Facebook indicating that he’s doing well in treatment. “To all of those sending support and love to me, thank you,” he wrote. “I am currently in treatment and doing fantastic and look forward to a healthy and sober life when I leave.”

Hopefully he commits to sobriety because it truly is a imminent matter of life and death.

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