In an interview with NBC 6 South Florida Thursday, Heather Dykman said she still can't make sense of her outburst on board a Spirit Airlines flight from Baltimore to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport earlier this week.
"When you're an alcoholic and you get that much alcohol in your system, anything can happen," she said.
Spirit flight attendants told Broward Sheriff's Office deputies that Dykman, 40, erupted into a fit of profanity, obscene gestures, and racial slurs after the crew stopped her vodka tab at two drinks after she reportedly turned surly Tuesday. Her outburst continued at the flight gate, where deputies later arrested Dykman for disorderly conduct. Robert Niznik was waiting to pick her up, and reached out to the BSO for help finding Dykman, who is from Maryland.
"They told me there was an incident on the plane," he recalled.
In bond court Wednesday, Dykman told the judge she flew in to South Florida to get help for her alcohol addiction. After bonding out, she finally arrived to her intended destination, the newly opened Harbor Village Detox Center in Miami.
The staff, headed by CEO Niznik, are helping the mom of two young daughters get clean for about a week, before she transitions into the second phase of her 30-day rehabilitation program. Niznik said he and his team are impressed by Dykman's courage to speak out about her experience.
"The fact that she came out and said, 'Look, I'm an average person, and I suffer from addiction. I have a family, I'm a mother, and I'm looking for help,' I think that it really kind of gives hope for people who may have otherwise been afraid to seek help," Niznik explained.
"If you have cancer, you go to an oncologist and get help. No one asks. It's not an issue. When you're an addict, it's a secret, no one wants to talk about it," said Dykman.
By sharing the pain of her addiction and arrest, Dykman hopes she will inspire others to come forward.
"If one person takes away what my experience was – me getting on national television and talking about my alcoholism – then this wasn't necessarily worth it, but I'm okay with that," she said.
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