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Billy Ray on Miley, Military Families and More; 38 Million are Binge Drinkers

Aired January 12, 2012 - 21:00   ET


DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.

You know Billy Ray Cyrus as Miley`s dad and "The Achy Breaky Heart" guy. He is with us tonight revealing another side of his life, making a big impact on America`s military families.

Plus, how can you meet most of your Facebook friends if you`re afraid to leave the house. A woman who did just that tells us how she found her way out of her comfort zone.

And "Blind Side" mom Leigh Anne Touhy is here.

Let`s get started.

Tonight, Billy Ray Cyrus, he turned country music into a worldwide phenomenon. He is also the proud papa of teen superstar Miley Cyrus, and he`s the host of a remarkable show reuniting soldiers with their loved ones. Take a look at this.



PINSKY (voice-over): "Achy Breaky Heart" from Mercury Records made Billy Ray Cyrus an international singing sensation and sudden heartthrob. His 1992 hit sold millions.

Now the 50-year-old father of six, including singer/actress Miley Cyrus has added another credit to his expansive career. He`s the host of TLC`s "Surprise Homecoming," the series pays tribute to America`s servicemen and women emotional family reunions unfold before your eyes. Cyrus says it`s his way to repay the troops who sacrificed so much for us and our country.


PINSKY: I talked to a mom whose son got severely burned fighting overseas. She is grateful for Billy Ray`s support.

And later, we`re going to meet a family - a military family reunited that Billy Ray actually pulled together.

But, first, let me talk you, Ray, because I got a million questions for you. Do you know we have met before on television?

CYRUS: When was it?

PINSKY: It was a long time ago. We did "Politically Incorrect" together.

CYRUS: With Bill Maher?

PINSKY: Yes. Remember that?

CYRUS: Yes. Sure did.

PINSKY: I always thought you were the greatest guy back then. It`s good to see you again.

CYRUS: Thank you. Good seeing you, too.

PINSKY: Let me ask you this. One of the things that really has amazed me doing radio for a lot of years talking to young people, it never occurred to me that I would be talking to young people coming back from war. Is this sort of a surprise? You see you`re there it those `80s pictures. When you were doing those videos, wasn`t that the last thing you can ever imagine doing and singing and putting together material for young people coming back from battle?

CYRUS: I wrote a song in 1989 about a Vietnam veteran I met at this little club I was playing at in West Virginia. The song was called "Some Gave All." And I knew the night that I wrote the song that I had taken a step toward my purpose, perhaps toward my destiny. I felt like that was going to be a big part of what I was supposed to do with my life.

And now after being in two different war zones, both in Iraq and Afghanistan and seeing our men and women in the military perform their brave duties -

PINSKY: You go over and perform for them? Yes.

CYRUS: Yes, sir. Yes. And seeing them in action, and just the way that they - the bravery that they show, that`s kind of how I`ve dedicated my life to saying thanks to our men and women, and their families, you know, the family, whole family makes a sacrifice for our freedom, and it`s great that all of us as Americans can say thanks to our troops and their families.

PINSKY: Now, there`s another area that I`ve had overlap with you and that`s with your daughter. My daughter is the same age as your daughter, I have triplets. We talked about that a little bit off the air. I mean you have five kids, man. That`s a big deal. I don`t know.

CYRUS: But you had three at once.

PINSKY: I know. It was intense.

CYRUS: Incredible.

PINSKY: Gray hair, that`s how it happens, right there. Six months, pow.

But she love Miley. She actually went to her 16th birthday party at Disneyland. You remember that whole special?

CYRUS: I sure do, yes.

PINSKY: She actually was there at that - at that big event. But that`s not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk about is Miley seems to have a campaign that I really value against bullying, particularly cyber bullying. I guess you particularly came to the rescue of Kelly Osbourne once. Somebody was bullying Kelly. And Kelly is a great kid. You must now Kelly.

CYRUS: I do, yes.

PINSKY: I mean, all of the Osbournes, great - I mean, amazing individuals, those folks, and to think that Kelly is being bullied online and Miley being bullied online just kind of breaks my heart. I mean, has she got a systemic campaign going or she just have to absorb all of that?

CYRUS: You know, I think it`s one of the things that she`s looked at that`s really affected her life, you know? To see the son of - just this past week, the young girl you guys did a show about earlier in the week.

PINSKY: Yes, who killed herself, yes.

CYRUS: I mean, it`s all tragic, and it needs to stop. This is a time period as human beings, we need to love, not hate.

PINSKY: And here`s - hey, listen, if Miley can ever throw her weight onto this, count me into the campaign. Because this is something that has gotten disgusting, and she seems like the kind of person that could really change it.

I`m going to read her tweet that she sent out because of Kelly being bullied. She says, "Just because you`re hidden behind some computer doesn`t mean this isn`t bullying. Stop cyber bullying, it shouldn`t be tolerated." And then, again, as I said, it must be something she has to absorb being in the front of (ph) -

When I - myself, I`m an adult, I go on Twitter, I can barely look at what`s being said because people are horrible on the Internet.

CYRUS: Again, that`s - for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Again, this is a time whereas human beings, we need to love, not hate, but as you see I`m sure in your show and conducting your life, when you reach for the light and you try to represent the light, there will always be that opposite reaction. You can`t have love without somebody out there being a hater, but it does need to stop. We need to pull together stop cyber bullying. It`s a - it`s huge tragedy. We`d be glad to try to help you out and be a part of your campaign.

PINSKY: I`m going to hold you to that.


PINSKY: Now, also, a few nights ago speaking of your family, you were at a premier of "Joyful Noise" with Dolly Parton.

CYRUS: What a movie, have you seen it?

PINSKY: I have not seen it. But I think it will be fun.

CYRUS: It`s amazing. Queen Latifah -

PINSKY: I like Queen Latifah, I love her. I love Dolly Parton.

CYRUS: It was a tremendous cast.

PINSKY: And you`re very close to Dolly, she`s actually Miley`s godmother, is that right?

CYRUS: That`s right.

PINSKY: That`s cool.

CYRUS: Yes. And we`ve been friends for a long, long time. She`s been a great inspiration to me and my family. She`s a wonderful, wonderful lady, and she really shines in this movie. You`ve got to go see "Joyful Noise."

PINSKY: OK. You back me up on the bullying, I will go see "Joyful Noise."

CYRUS: You`ll love it, too. You`ll be glad.

PINSKY: I like all the people that were in it. I don`t see how I couldn`t.

All right. I want to transition now and talk now about some of the people that you helped. On the phone, I believe we have a soldier, there was a soldier named Josh, his mother Lisa, Josh courageously fought in Operation - in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a combat engineer. Last march, he suffered burns over 90 percent of his body. And we have Josh`s mom Lisa is on the phone. Lisa, are you out there?

LISA BATTAGIOLA, SON WAS BURNED IN IRAQ, KANSAS CITY, MO (via telephone): I am, thank you.

PINSKY: Thank you so much for joining us. I think these are pictures of Josh we`re looking at here. How`s Josh doing today?

BATTAGIOLA: Josh is OK, doing better. It`s been 10 months. He was in ICU for seven months ---


BATTAGIOLA: -- and each one of those days was touch and go, but I talked to Josh, I spent a lot of time with him. And today he told me the greatest difficulty he`s facing is the psychological fact of what he looks like now as opposed to what he looked like before he got hurt.

PINSKY: I can imagine. I mean, you know, we have to get at least hook him up with JR Martinez, because there is a guy -

CYRUS: We should.

PINSKY: -- that really rose above all this and he`s made the best of it. And I`ve actually used him to inspire other burn victims that it doesn`t end with how your skin looks.

CYRUS: That`s a great idea. Lisa, how you doing?

BATTAGIOLA: I`m doing good, Billy. How are you? You are our angel. Thank you for everything you`ve done for us.

CYRUS: Well, it`s an honor to be speaking with you this evening, and again, I think that`s a great idea. I think that Josh meeting JR would be - we should make that happen. We are in Kansas City.

PINSKY: And I know JR, he`d jump with the chance to do something like this. He`s like you, he`s one of the guys that really wants to give back. Well, we talk about somebody who`s made something out of - but this is a big deal. Is he out of ICU now?

BATTAGIOLA: He is out of ICU. He`s on the Burn Floor.

PINSKY: Great.

BATTAGIOLA: Right now, he`s kind of getting to sit up and he`s not really walking or anything.

But funny, you were talking about bullying, the other day I was able for the first time to take him for a walk in this very special wheelchair, and we went down to the cafeteria, and a woman said, "Aren`t you going to let the handicapped kid eat first?" And Josh had never considered himself handicapped, and I just turned around and we walked off. And he said mom, did you hear what that lady said? I said, "Yes, Josh, and I have a feeling you`re going to have to get used to a lot of that."

PINSKY: Well, Josh is a story I want to stay close to. I hope you`ll help us.

CYRUS: That was Josh`s little girl in the picture there, too.

PINSKY: Let`s see that again. Put that up again, if you don`t mind.


CYRUS: Lily.

PINSKY: We have pictures of Lily. We have pictures of you with him, mom, and we have pictures of, you know, him before the burns, but he seems like somebody that not going to let this get him down.

CYRUS: Right. He`s a survivor. He`s a tough, young man.

You know, Dr. Drew, I`ve seen - and you mentioned "Surprise Homecoming," and I`ve seen a lot of homecomings this year in doing that show, and most of them were the happy reunions and beautiful surprises, and a lot of laughter and tears of joy.

But I also have seen the reality of war and have seen these soldiers come home like Josh. I`ve actually, you know, I`ve sang "Some Gave All" at their grave sides. I`ve seen the tears from widows, the husbands, the moms and dads, sons and daughters. I`ve seen the tears and that`s the reality of war.

And I`m glad to see that our troops are coming home, and all of us as Americans, we need to applaud these soldiers and thank them for their service and let`s take care of our soldiers. Let`s don`t relive what we`ve done before as a nation, going back to Vietnam, let`s take care of our soldiers.

PINSKY: I`ve think many of us have a short memory about that. They may have forgotten that. Thank you, Billy, for saying so.

Now, we`re going to look into these reunions next up. An overseas soldier is reunited with his family. Billy Ray is back with the family and video of a very emotional reunion. Stay with us.


SGT. FIRST CLASS JOHN BLANSHARD, SOLDIER REUNITED WITH FAMILY ON "SURPRISE HOMECOMING": I want to surprise Erika and the kids, Chris, Hunter, Kyra and Tanner, simply let them know how much I care for them.






PINSKY: That of course is pop music sensation Miley Cyrus performing recently at "CNN Heroes, An All-Star Tribute." Of course, I think you know the talent runs very deep in these genes. Her dad is country music star and superstar and multi-Grammy nominee, Billy Ray Cyrus.

Now, Billy Ray hosts a show called "Surprise Homecoming" on TLC. Tell me a little about it.

CYRUS: You know, it`s "Surprise Homecoming," just -

PINSKY: Exactly what it says.

CYRUS: Yes. My job was to keep that element of surprise, arrange the reunions. For me, it was like a little but of Christmas every time we did one.

PINSKY: You`re Santa Claus.

CYRUS: I felt like Santa Claus and -

PINSKY: Were you part of the surprise? Do they know you`re coming, too?

CYRUS: At times I was part of the surprise. And then at times, once I got to town, everybody knew there was a surprise going down. So it was a lot of fun, though. It`s a lot of fun.

PINSKY: Well, listen here. One military family describes life without their loved one who was stationed in Afghanistan. Take a look.


ERIKA BLANSHARD, WIFE OF SOLIDER JOHN BLANSHARD: My name is Erika Brown. I am a nurse here in Colorado Springs. I`m a home health nurse, and my boyfriend is Sergeant First Class John Blanshard and he`s currently deployed to Afghanistan, serving one year.

Knowing that he goes out on a mission pretty much every day, every other day, I hold my breath until I hear from him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your dad is supposed to be there for you. I understand he is gone for a good reason, but sometimes it`s very hard.


PINSKY: Joining us now is First Class Sergeant John Blanshard, his wife Erika, and one of their four children, Kyra. John, there they are. How did it feel to hear your family being so emotional during your deployment?

J. BLANSHARD: For all of them, it was hard to hear it, especially when you`re not able to talk to them every day to reassure them that everything is going to be OK. That`s the hardest part is just hearing them be that distraught.

PINSKY: Thank God everything did turn out to be OK.

Let`s check out the reunion between John and his children on "Surprise Homecoming." Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I actually have one more big surprise for you.


PINSKY: That`s nice. Kyra, can you describe what that reunion was like with your dad?

KYRA BLATNIK, REUNITED WITH STEPFATHER ON "SURPRISE HOMECOMING": It was amazing. He walked in, and it was a surprise to all of us. He walked in the door, and we were all shocked that he came in. It was amazing.

PINSKY: And John, that must have been nice for you.

J. BLANSHARD: Oh, it was epic for me. It`s - I thought Hunter, my - the oldest was going to knock me down in the locker room.

PINSKY: And Mom, you have been kind of quiet. Come on now, let`s have - let`s have at it.

E. BLANSHARD: Oh, my gosh, it`s just been absolutely amazing to have him home and have him safe. And we`ve just been nonstop. We`ve had the wedding since, and it`s just been great.

PINSKY: Well, funny you mention that.

CYRUS: Congratulations.

PINSKY: Yes. Billy Ray, I don`t think he knew that, he knew you were engaged. But - and this - speaking of surprises and the show is called, of course, called "Surprise Homecoming," it lived up to its name again when it was Erika`s turn for her surprise reunion with John.


J. BLANSHARD: You`re all I`ve ever needed, all I`ve ever wanted and you complete my life. I want to have a family with you. Will you marry me?



PINSKY: Erika, well done!

CYRUS: Awesome!

PINSKY: Well done.

E. BLANSHARD: I have to tell you, Billy, you were there for the day of the wedding. My girls actually walked out to one of your songs for my bridesmaid came out to one of your songs.

CYRUS: Oh, really. Which song was it?

E. BLANSHARD: Well, "Achy Breaky Heart."

CYRUS: That`s cool. That`s awesome. John, it`s great to see you. And I tell you, the Blanchards and Erika, these are the mothers, the daughters, the folks that stay at home and keep the family together while their loved one is serving our country, they`re all heroes. And that`s all part of the sacrifice and the team that makes America great.

So thank you all for your service, your sacrifice. It`s great seeing you, and congratulations on the wedding.

PINSKY: Indeed, guys.

E. BLANSHARD: Thank you.

PINSKY: And, John, if in fact your wife, if Erika is going to be playing "Achy Breaky Heart" as one of your most romantic - we call them interludes, you`re going to have to sport that mullet like Billy Ray had back in the `80s. He`s really into that stuff.

J. BLANSHARD: You should have seen it.

PINSKY: I did see it. I saw the video.

J. BLANSHARD: They had mullets on. They had -

PINSKY: No. Can we have - can we get that picture? We need that picture. Well, there`s a picture of Billy Ray. But I want to see the - is it the

CYRUS: That`s Kentucky waterfall there.

PINSKY: The bridesmaids?

J. BLANSHARD: The bridesmaids came out with it on.

PINSKY: Bridesmaid had a mullet. So that`s why I want to see those pictures.

E. BLANSHARD: Oh, yes.

CYRUS: That`s my kind of wedding.

E. BLANSHARD: And this one came out to Nelly, here comes the boom.

CYRUS: Wow, awesome. So cool.

PINSKY: So, you guys, congratulations. And john, to you and your family. Thank you for your service, all of you guys.

E. BLANSHARD: Thank you very much.

J. BLANSHARD: Not at all. And thank you for having us.

E. BLANSHARD: And thank you, Billy, for everything. We truly appreciate it.

CYRUS: God bless you. I appreciate y`all. Continued success, be happy. Live, love, laugh every day, count your blessings.

PINSKY: And of course -

J. BLANSHARD: You bet we will.

E. BLANSHARD: Thank you.

PINSKY: Thank you, guys and Billy Ray, thank you for being here. It`s really a pleasure seeing you.

CYRUS: I`m honored to be with you.

PINSKY: Let`s keep up on Josh. And you and I maybe, I would like to do something on PTSD and soldiers - post traumatic stress disorder.

CYRUS: Let`s do it.

PINSKY: Let`s do something.

CYRUS: Let`s do it.

PINSKY: But keep up your good work and I will keep you and - let`s stay close.

CYRUS: OK. You got a deal.

PINSKY: I feel like I have a similar - like an old soul mate here in you.

CYRUS: You do, sir. Thank you. Thank you very much.

PINSKY: I appreciate it. And my daughter says hi to Miley, by the way. She`s still a bug fan. She`s away at college and stuff.

CYRUS: Great. You may have heard the song I wrote for Miley was called "Ready, Set, Don`t Go." Hopefully your daughter as you guys, I hear that a lot from dads, that their daughters are leaving for the service and leaving for college, and "Ready, Set, Don`t Go" is that moment that I`m sure you realized as a daddy that you think you`re ready to let go, but sometimes you`re just ready, set - oh, just -

PINSKY: Now, I`m not ready. I`m with you. I like the going and coming.

CYRUS: You just want to hold on.

PINSKY: I`m getting used to the going and coming, that feels OK, but it takes some getting used to.

CYRUS: There you go.

PINSKY: Thank you, buddy.

Next, 38 million Americans are binge drinkers. That figure may surprise you but doesn`t surprise me. We`re going to take your questions and comments about this epidemic after the break.

And here now is a clip from Billy Ray Cyrus` music video "We The People." Stay with us.





PINSKY: The Centers for Disease Control reported this week that 38 million Americans are, get this, binge drinkers. They classified binge drinking as having four to six alcoholic beverages in one sitting. That`s actually somewhat of a conservative estimate of bingeing. So we`ve got a problem here.

College kids drink the most, they have nine at a time. And by the way, these are the kids that have the most consequences from the using as well, and the most medical and social consequences.

Look around you at work, on the street, in your home. One in six people are knocking back a problem amount of alcohol. A binge episode.

Now, we asked in - we asked how many drinks you usually have on a Saturday night. Here are the results of the poll. Fifty-one percent of you, that`s over half of you, say that they have just one. So most people are drinking. Eighteen percent say two to three. In the state of California, that`s DUI time. Eleven percent say four to five. And 20 percent of you, one of five, have more than five drinks.

We are taking your calls live regarding this topic. JoAnn in Louisiana, tell us what`s going on.

JOANN, LEESVILLE, LOUISIANA (via telephone): Hi, Dr. Drew.

PINSKY: Hi, JoAnn.

JOANN: It`s an honor meet you.

PINSKY: It`s my pleasure.

JOANN: Me and my best friend love your show.

PINSKY: Thank you.

JOANN: And she told me to tell you that she thinks you`re so hot. Anyway -


JOANN: OK. My name is JoAnn. I am a single mother. I`m 24 years old and I`m in college. I just started college, this is my third semester.

PINSKY: Did you notice a lot of binge alcohol going on campuses?



JOANN: No. I was doing all the bingeing when I was 18, 19.

PINSKY: Interesting.

JOANN: It`s getting better, but I can`t seem to quit drinking.

PINSKY: Oh. Well, that`s a different issue. That`s no longer - although binge - consecutive binges that are uncontrollable and cause consequences is a part of alcoholism, but if you really know you have a relationship with alcohol that you can`t control, particularly you have a family history, that`s alcoholism, even if you`re not drinking every day.

And so I tell you what, JoAnn, really, the only way I know of that really reliably deals with this condition is 12 Step. You`ve just got to find an AA meeting, look it up online. They will come pick you up. Raise your hand and say I have a desire to drink, I need a sponsor and just start doing what they tell you to do, and there are much better things ahead.

Let`s go to Rose in California, go ahead there, Rose.

ROSE, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew, how are you?

PINSKY: Hi, Rose. I`m good. How are you?

ROSE: Good. My husband unfortunately is a binge drinker. He consumes probably about 30 pack or more in one day.

PINSKY: Oh. When he binges? How often is he bingeing?

ROSE: He probably starts on Thursday and ends on Sunday.

PINSKY: Yes. That`s a very dangerous kind of drinking because he`s likely to have withdrawal on Sunday or Monday, and, you know, binge drinking is one of the hardest forms of alcoholism to treat because they do do it in binges, and so their perception is they can control it.

The perception is I can do it when I want to. I want to do it on Thursday to Sunday. I don`t want to do it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, see, I`m controlling it. But what they don`t see is that it`s controlling them, it has dire consequences.

Something to remember about alcohol, it`s the only drug from which people commonly die in withdrawal, it`s a common thing. It`s a poison averse (ph) to all tissue. It`s associated with cancers, obviously liver disease, it effects the brain. And for young people, every unwanted contact you could imagine, contact - outcome you could imagine, you see alcohol there, whether it`s unwanted sexual contact, STDs, pregnancy, whatever it is, you find alcohol. So this is really a serious issue.

Next, a woman who was a virtual shut in vows to meet hundreds of her Facebook friends in person and does in person. Meet her after the break.


PINSKY (voice-over): Coming up, Leigh Anne Touhy. She`s the real life powerhouse of a wife and mom played by Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side." * (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PINSKY (voice-over): Coming up, Leigh Anne Tuohy, she`s the real life powerhouse of a wife and mom played by Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side." She made a difference in the life of Michael Oher who became a standout in the NFL. And now, she`s making it happen for others.

But first, meet a woman so afraid of leaving her home that she sometimes didn`t for 30 years. Arlynn Presser says she was debilitated by panic attacks. So, why did the 51-year-old commit to meeting all 325 of her Facebook friends who live all over the world? She`s telling us how and why she confronted her fears, and what she gained by going outside her comfort zone.


PINSKY (on-camera): It is the New Year, and of course, that comes with resolutions. Can you imagine resolving to meet all of your Facebook friends in one year? That is what our next guest did. Take a look at how far she got in 2011.


ARLYNN PRESSER, MET 292 FACEBOOK FRIENDS LAST YEAR: It`s January 1st, and I have met 291 of my 325 Facebook friends, and I`m meeting my 292nd tomorrow, and that will be the end of this year`s New Year`s resolution.


PINSKY: BUT there`s more to this story. Romance novelist, Arlynn Presser, was terrified to leave her home and had panic attacks just thinking about it, but Arlynn decided she needed to make a change, and she is here with us tonight. Also, I have clinical psychologist, Ramani Durvasula. Arlynn, tell me how you came up with the idea of meeting your friends on Facebook?

PRESSER: Well, I started to realize that I was spending a lot of time in my home, and that I was becoming kind of isolated, and at the same time, I was able to tell myself I had a great, vibrant social life because I have 325 friends.

I mean, every morning, when I checked my Facebook account, there`s 325 people, and we`re interacting, we`re playing scrabble, we`re sharing music, we`re telling each other what`s going on in our day. And suddenly, I realized, wait a minute, who are all these people, and what kind of relationship do I really have with them.

PINSKY: And hat did you learn by -- it must -- we call those pseudo intimacies what people establish online. You must have more of a genuine intimacy now with these people.

PRESSER: Yes, and I`ve learned so much about how different people are and about how people manage their lives, and I really enjoyed seeing new things and doing new things, and I`m really actually, I hate to say it, I`m kind of proud of myself, even though I only managed to meet 292 of the 325 friends.

PINSKY: Well, Arlynn, let me interrupt, and say, I think you should be proud of yourself. You shouldn`t apologize for that. That`s part of your therapy here tonight. But speaking of new things, in the year of traveling, she had some interesting experiences. Arlynn`s son, he accompanied you, right, Arlynn, and he shot videos of his mom meeting with her Facebook friends.

Her friend, Gretchen, apparently sells wine and taught Arlynn how to open a bottle of champagne with a sword. Talk about a panic attack. Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Here we go.

PRESSER: Wow! Oh, my God! Oh, my God, you did it! Wow! Oh, wow! That was amazing! Such a lean (ph) technique.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: THE Russian soldiers when they invaded Paris, they took their swords and they fell in love with champagne, and they would open them so fast, they would just follow the bottle and up with their sword, and it takes off that full top ridge and the cork. Set the sword on the edge of the bottle a little further down to give you some space to roll up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And no, you don`t want to click it.

PRESSER: I`m sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just slide it up all the way fast.

PRESSER: Slide it up all the way fast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Try again. Oops.



PRESSER: Oh my God!



PINSKY: And Arlynn, there you are, apologizing for yourself again, and yet, you`re developing mass when you opened that bottle of champagne with your sword. It looked like that belonged in your hand,

PRESSER: It was a wonderful moment, and Gretchen was very, very patient with me. It took a lot of different bottles of champagne. It took a lot of different --

PINSKY: I don`t want to hear about that. No, no, don`t tell me about a lot of different bottles of champagne.

PRESSER: I`m sorry.

PINSKY: Different disorder we`re talking about. But, Arlynn, I do want to talk about your panic. And I think people have been, I don`t know, that you`ve become somewhat the poster child for agoraphobia, and I`m a little worried about that, because, indeed, what you should be as a poster child for social phobia and overcoming that, because that`s exactly what you did.

You had these pseudo intimacies, and you went out and you made them real relationships, even though you were anxious about it. Is that accurate?

PRESSER: Yes. But I also overcame some other -- some sort of ancillary fears, you know, the fear of flying, for instance. You can`t go on -- I think I added it up, and it was between 45 and 50 flights this year. You can`t do that and continue to be scared of flying.

And, you know, I am not scared of trains any more. And, you know, I had a bunch of different things in which every day I woke up and said I don`t think I can do this, I`m just too scared and I`ve done it anyway.

PINSKY: And Arlynn, this is what I wanted to break down and this is why I asked Dr. Durvasula to come in. And by the way, hats off to you for this. You`ve done an amazing thing to take command of this. We would vote agree with that.

PRESSER: Thank you. PINSKY: But I don`t want everybody with panic to get the idea that they should evoke their panic and go out there and just overcome these things. But before you comment, but before you comment, fear of flying, for instance, is something that if you fly a lot, you`ll overcome. That`s what -- that will get better.


PINSKY: Social phobia. Go out, be social, you will get better.


PINSKY: But panic, maybe not.

DURVASULA: No. And in fact, you can worsen it. You can bring on more panic attacks. The patient can feel more out of control, and then, become more reclusive. Panic disorder is something that really needs to be approached in a very structured -- under the hedges (ph) of a mental; health professional. It has to be done with guidance.

PINSKY: Right.

DURVASULA: This is not something you face down.

PINSKY: So, we would bet, Arlynn, that the panic hasn`t really gone away. That still probably bugs you a bit, yes?

PRESSER: Sometimes yes, and maybe, I should have had a healthcare professional go with me, but --

PINSKY: No, no. We`re not saying that.


PINSKY: We`re taking issue, we`re not issuing, but we just want to make sure that your story is properly digested by people out there, that people understand --

PRESSER: Oh, I see.

PINSKY: If they have social phobia, they have trouble relating in social environments, that`s something they should go out and face down. The have fear of flying. That is something I would suggest people go out and face down. But if they have panic attacks, and let`s describe what that is for people.

And I know we have some footage of Arlynn having panic. I`m hoping we`ll put that up. Certainly, we will on our website, but let`s talk about how people know they`re having panic and what they should do about that.

DURVASULA: In a panic attack, they tend to be sudden, unexpected --

PINSKY: Unprovoked, sometimes.

DURVASULA: -- unprovoked. And the person feels like they`re having heart attack.

PINSKY: Or they`re dying or look (ph) crazy.

DURVASULA: -- or they`re dying or losing control, and it is terrifying, because many people really do believe that they`re dying and they want to get help or they want to get out of the situation.

PINSKY: They go to the emergency room over and over again.

DURVASULA: Absolutely.

PINSKY: They can have lots of somatics and chest pain, shortness of breath, vomiting, all that is panic.

DURVASULA: Yes, dizziness, yes.

PINSKY: Dizziness. Right. And so, if people are having those kind of symptoms, he would say, that`s something to get evaluated.

DURVASULA: Absolutely.

PINSKY: And it`s often associated with other conditions, trauma, depression, other stuff that we do treat and we can treat, but By going out and facing your panic can make panic worse. And it sounds like, Arlynn, you had just a multiplicity of problems, but by really going out there and attacking a few of them, the overall syndrome got a lot better.

PRESSER: I think that`s right. And I certainly do understand the panic attack mode. I mean, and that is something that I`ve had a lot of, and I`ve had to learn to control the urge to go to the emergency room.

PINSKY: Yes. Very good. Well, Arlynn, thank you for sharing your story with us, and I hope people really think about your story carefully. Is there any last messages we have for folks out there that may be having panic, phobias?

DURVASULA: They are the most eminently treatable of mental illnesses. They have excellent --

PINSKY: And by the way, let me just full disclosure, I had panic attacks in college. I have general anxiety disorder, and it`s something that gets a lot better, can get a lot, lot better.

DURVASULA: Yes, it does. It can get a lot better. So, they`re very treatable. So, seek help.

PINSKY: Yes. As I did, as a matter of fact. So, thank you all. And thank you, Dr. Durvasula. Thank, Arlynn, for sharing your story.

Now, next up, do you remember Sandra Bullock`s Oscar winning portrayal of a mother who helped save an at-risk teen? I know it was a great story, and we are going to talk with the real life mom from "The Blind Side" when we come back.


SANDRA BULLOCK, ACTRESS: Do you remember when we first met, we went to that horrible part of town to buy those dreadful clothes. And I was a little bit scared, you told me not to worry about it because you had my back. Do you remember that?


BULLOCK: This team is your family, Michael. You have to protect them from those guys. He`s your quarterback, all right? You protect his blind side. When you look at him, you think of me, how you have my back, how you have his.



PINSKY: Welcome back, and it is award season again, and of course, we all remember the Oscar award-winning performance by Sandra Bullock playing a no nonsense mom from the south with a huge heart who helps an at-risk youth in the movie "The Blind Side."


BULLOCK: Stop the car. Big Mike, hey. My name is Leigh Anne Tuohy. My kids go to wind gate. You said you were going to the gym. The school gym is closed. Do you have any place to stay tonight? Come on. Come on.


PINSKY: I thought that movie is so great, because it`s a reminder of something I say all the time in this program is that we affect one another for good, for bad. Sometimes, a person just needs a little guidance, a helping hand or just somebody who cares about them for a few minutes, and that can be a catalyst that changes a person`s life, sometimes dramatically.

Leigh Anne Tuohy, the real life mom from "The Blind Side" helped Michael Oher become the amazing young man he is today. So, what has Leigh Anne been up to since the film and who else has she helped along the way.

Well, joining me is a family who has been helped by the Touhys. Jonathan and Julie Davis and their two kids, Jack and Joy, and the co-founder of the Making It Happen Foundation, there she is, Leigh Anne Tuohy herself. So, I got a million questions for you Leigh Anne, but let me just ask the one question. What was it about Michael that made you pull the car over and stop that one night. Do you remember that moment?

LEIGH ANNE TUOHY, CO-FOUNDER, MAKING IT HAPPEN FOUNDATION: Oh, gosh. Absolutely. Who wouldn`t remember that moment? You know, I think as a mother, every warning bell on my head went off. You know, here was a young man that was in inappropriate neighborhood, inappropriately dressed for the weather. Just, you know, warning bell, warning bell, warning bell.

PINSKY: Like he was in imminent danger.

TUOHY: You just knew that there wasn`t something right about it.

PINSKY: You figured you`d just help him out that night and figure out what to do in the morning.

TUOHY: There was no plan. There was no agenda. You know, everybody thinks it was a smoking gun. Everyone has a theory as to why we did what we did. It`s amazing what we`ve heard.

PINSKY: Before we get into the foundation, I wanted to go there a little bit, because I hear that kind of stuff swirling around, and it interests me how you deal with that, because I know, you know, he`s your son now. He`s an all pro-athlete. He`s amazing. But people question your motivation, and then, what was she up to --

TUOHY: He doesn`t need his mother protecting him any longer, but unfortunately, I have very protective instincts, and yes, you know, we hear it all. The good far outweighs the bad, let me say that. The good far outweighs the bad. Everyone has an opinion, and sometimes, I get my feathers get ruffled --

PINSKY: Well, I may rough your feather because I saw some of the comments that are online, and I`m going to throw something to see what you say about it, but first, let`s look at a clip from the "Blind Side" moving showing Michael`s tough background.


BULLOCK: Let`s go get him.

AARON: Don`t get out of the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey. Oh, that`s Big Mike, man.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big mike, where you been, baby? All right. Who that fine thing you got driving you around, like Miss Daisy or something.


PINSKY: Now, obviously, he understands what you did for him. Has he been able to pay it forward to others?

TUOHY: Oh, Michael is very philanthropic. That`s a big word for me. He`s very philanthropic. He`s a giver. He pays back all the time. Amazing, little kid selling candy bars comes up, and you would think that he would give them one or two dollars, and he`ll just like take this clump of money. And I go, do you know how much you just gave them? He said, I don`t know, doesn`t matter, they need it. And, all three of my kids are big givers.

PINSKY: Speaking of philanthropy, tell me about the foundation and what it does. Then I want to talk to Julie and Jonathan and how the foundation helped them.

TUOHY: Well, the foundation, our foundation, Make It Happen Foundation, we really operate by the popcorn theory. You know, when you pop popcorn and the kernels get hot, and then the hot one pops out, and -- we just kind of we reach out and grab one, because we get so many requests, it`s overwhelming.

PINSKY: For what? For what kind of things?

TUOHY: Everything you can think of, for anything, adoption. We, our choices are around child care and adoption, but we get them for please keep us from getting evicted from our home, please help us to pay for our child`s medical bill. Please help me, my husband has cancer.

PINSKY: Your requests now over the moon.

TUOHY: Overwhelming.


TUOHY: Overwhelming.

PINSKY: Julie and Jonathan, how did you hear about the foundation and what did it do for you, guys?

JONATHAN DAVIS, HELPED BY TUOHY FOUNDATION: Well, Julie, well, you know, we adopted Jack in 2008. We began pursuing our second adoption in 2009. Eventually, that led to being contacted by the adoption agency in 2010, October of 2010. We were put in contact with a birth mother who was due in November.

We matched that birth mother and we`re waiting for the baby to be born. We get a call unexpectedly due to a car accident, the baby had to be delivered emergency fashion, and so we had to get to California quick. We had to -- I guess, the biggest obstacle for us that we were now responsible for medical bills that we couldn`t cover.

JULIE DAVIS, HELPED BY TUOHY FOUNDATION: So, our baby girl was waiting or us in California, and we had extra medical bills to pay for, and circumstances were such that if we didn`t get there immediately, Little Julie was going to be placed in foster care. So, it was urgent. And so, we started praying, and we got our friends to pray for us, and a member of mom`s group at Leigh Anne Tuohy`s church and was talking of them about praying for us.

And I just jokingly said does anybody here know Leigh Anne Tuohy, we could use a miracle right now. And so, we prayed. And then, two hours later, I got a phone call from a precious friend who was overjoyed. She had contacted Leigh Anne on our behalf, and Leigh Anne heard about our plight, heard about Julie and heard about the premature birth and just the emergency it was.

And she said we can make this happen, just go. And, so, we were able to pack our bags and head to L.A. and because of the speed of it, we were able to be with Joy during her touch and go time in the hospital and meet Joy, the birth mom, and get to love on her, introduce ourselves to her and we didn`t have to worry about the money.

And it was just so sweet. I mean, god completely answered our prayers through the Tuohy Foundation.

PINSKY: Well, thank you, guys, for sharing the story. And Julie, happy birthday.

TUOHY: Yes, I heard that, too. Happy birthday.

JULIE DAVIS: Oh, thank you.

PINSKY: Joy is saying the same thing.


JULIE DAVIS: Yes. Happy birthday. Right?

PINSKY: Quite a story. And Leigh Anne, you must have any others just like it. You`re tearing up a little bit, are you?

TUOHY: Yes. You know, I tear up when Michael runs out on the field at Baltimore, because --

PINSKY: I do, too, though. I`m not his mom.

TUOHY: But it is a -- you look down there and you know that investing yourself in an individual, it pays off. And that`s what we so stress to people to do. You know, if you can write a check, that`s great, but giving up your time is so incredibly important. You know, we just allowed Michael to become the person he was supposed to become.

Michael Oher is an amazing young man. With hope an opportunity and love, it changed his life. And, there are so many kids, that`s what they need. They just need someone to have their back, and everyone can do that. I mean, I`m not asking you to go out and do something you can`t do.

Read to a kid twice a week for an hour. That kid will remember you for the rest of their life because you changed their life.

PINSKY: Again, something I preach here is that we affect one another. We, humans, affect each other in many, many ways. And it can be -- we think about the negative ways, certainly that`s what`s reported in the news more often than not, but it`s positive ways.

But, listen, I admire what you`ve done. I admire the organization, but I want to get into the tougher questions that are asked. When I go on to the movie trailer on YouTube, comments that follow that caught my eye, and I`m going to just throw them out to you and see how you respond because --

TUOHY: Boxing gloves on.

PINSKY: Yes. Put the boxing gloves on. We`ll do it in the next segment, and it`s just -- these are tough issues, and I think you`re someone that wants to deal with the tough stuff. Let`s do it.


TUOHY: Give me names and numbers.

PINSKY: OK. Well, we`re not going to actually take any action against these folks. We`re just going to deal what the tough issues that they`re bringing (INAUDIBLE), so stay with us.


BULLOCK: Having a lily white rich family pick him up out of love because he was told, not for any other reason, and to welcome him into their house, give him love and shelter and food and realize that was their third child.



PINSKY: Welcome back. I am speaking with the real life blind side mom, Leigh Anne Tuohy. There is a big NFL playoff game this weekend, you might have noticed. And Michael Oher is going to be protecting the blind side for the Baltimore Ravens. There he is there.

But if it weren`t for the help of the Tuohy Family, no one knows how Michael might have turned out, would he have reached his full potential. And here is Michael Oher talking about the Tuohy Family.


MICHAEL OHER, NFL PLAYER: Their home, and just from me knowing right off the bat that they care about me as a person, and they want the best for me. And that speaks, you know, tons. Just to know, I mean, you can just see what type in their hearts they have. It`s unbelievable.


PINSKY: How do you feel hearing him talking?

TUOHY: Yes. That doesn`t melt your heart, what will. I mean, Michael loves us unconditionally. We love him unconditionally. It doesn`t matter that we`re White, he`s Black. I`m short, he`s tall. Those are just adjectives and that`s what we want people to realize that, you know, it doesn`t matter.

There are people that actually think that we should have driven past Michael because he was an African-American. Really?

PINSKY: Meaning, you should have been afraid of him or something?

TUOHY: Well, I don`t know, what are they thinking, because we were White and he was African-American like we never should have helped him.

PINSKY: You have no business to him.


PINSKY: All right. That`s the stuff I want to get into, because on the website to talk about the movie, you can see the trailer, scroll down and look at the comments, they read like this. Are you ready? Get your gloves on.

TUOHY: I`m ready.

PINSKY: All right. If -- this is a quote, I`m quoting. "If the Negro had no prospect to be a football player, no White folk would have given this brother the time of day." You hear that kind of stuff?

TUOHY: Yes. Stamp stupid on the forehead.

PINSKY: I`m going to read three of them. "Why does the White family have to save the Black kid again? The story is getting old." Anything in that?

TUOHY: Is there? You`re an educated man. Do you not think that`s the stupidest thing you`ve ever heard in your whole life?

PINSKY: Last one, "Black families always need the White man to help raise their kids." But it, something in there that we have to deal with, I think, we have to confront.

TUOHY: Why don`t they have something on there about the Black families that adopt the White kids? That happens. That`s happened thousands of times in this country. There is wonderful Black people have adopted White kids.

PINSKY: What do you think -- other than being, you call it ignorant, what else might it be? What do you think generates those kinds of feelings?

TUOHY: Oh, I think it`s a little of everything. I think maybe it`s history, it`s how they were raised. I think that it`s just some people that just don`t have anything better to do.

PINSKY: Are you, let`s call you color blind, do you just think race is something --

TUOHY: I think it`s absurd.

PINSKY: Race itself is something -- you personally would like to see somebody not even discuss?

TUOHY: You can raise your kids not to be that way. If you ask one of my three kids to describe you, they would say a short fellow, had on a purple tie on the day. My kids would have never said that it was a white man.

PINSKY: Skin color. Right.

TUOHY: Never. That would have never been in their descriptive answer of who you were. And that`s, you know, that`s how it ought to be, because we`re all created equal. Everyone has potential. I think half the time it`s a difference of longitude and latitude, where you were born versus someone else

But the deal is we`re all held accountable for each other, and you need to stand up for the guy next to you. I ask people all the time, do you know a next door neighbor? If you don`t, shame on you, go and knock on their door. Start there. There are all kind of people that need help.

We just need to reach out and help them. There are two things you can do. You can be in the game or on the sidelines. And in my point of view, being in the game, it`s a lot better.

PINSKY: I get that (INAUDIBLE) 20 minutes. And I get that you`re in the game. Thank you for joining us. We really do appreciate it. Hats off for what you did. I mean, I don`t know anybody cannot admire it. I get what it generates. I get it. I get people`s ambivalence, but it`s something that brings tears to everyone`s eyes.

TUOHY: I like the purple tie. Go Ravens. Big game this weekend.

PINSKY: Great game against the Texans. I got to go. Thank you all for watching. I`ll see you next time.