"I've been shoplifting for the last 44 years," she says. "I probably stole once or twice a week: clothing, toys, knickknacks for the house, cosmetics. …I would tell myself, 'I don't drink, I don't do drugs, I don't rob banks.' I was trying to give myself every excuse that this wasn't so bad. But it was bad. The shoplifting started for me when I was 17 in my first relationship. It was a very abusive situation. Stealing made me feel like I was getting some sort of reward for having such a crummy life."
Ann says that seeing Alice step forward to speak of her addiction made her want to share her own story. "Alice's story was so compelling to me because of her bravery," Ann says. "I thought, 'If this woman can come out and tell her story to thousands of people, then I have to find the courage to do the same thing. I can't do it by myself.'"
Alice says that Ann's reaction is exactly why she wanted to tell the world of her difficulties. "When I was living in the shameful cycle of shoplifting and no one but my husband knew," Alice says, "I craved seeing someone get up on a talk show such as Oprah …and a woman…who looks normal, who is educated, who is articulate, who is married, who has kids, who leads a very normal life, get up and say that they had this problem. If I saw that, I might never have gotten arrested. My son might never have been exposed to that trauma. …When this opportunity came to me, I thought, 'Well then I'm going be that girl. I'm going give what I needed to have and that wasn't available then.'"
"This show aired and I was at my house and I didn't know what the response would [be]," Pete says. "I saw myself, and I stepped out of the room for a moment because it was more powerful than me going through it."
But Pete says the response to his appearance has been incredibly positive. "A lot of people have commented in my community. A lot of people have come and called. I've gotten e-mails from your show's message boards. I didn't realize that my story would really affect anybody, but I think it has. That's something that, I guess, to pay it forward for all the help that I've gotten from everybody that have helped me stand tall. I wouldn't be here today or even to tape the last show if I didn't have a network of people that were there to pick me up where I didn't think I could ever be picked up."
Stacy suffered the next two years, wracked with unspeakable guilt over this devastating loss. But she found comfort in Pete's own struggles with an accidental death. "How strong you were made me realize that I can be strong," Stacy tells Pete. "I can move on and I can let it go. Just hearing you say that it does happen in a split second. I want people to realize that it can happen to anybody."
Pete had more advice for Stacy's emotional recovery from the guilt she feels. "You said [you've tried] not showing emotions in front of people, trying to put on a happy face," Pete says. "Well, I'll tell you right now that tears are healing and if you don't cry, you're never going to heal. I cry in front of a few hundred people; I cried in front of the whole country; I'll cry again.…I say I've cried a thousand rivers and I'll cry a thousand more. But if you don't, you're never going to get better."
Allison: I think opening the lines of communication for us [is the key]. Learning that he really is happy seeing me happy. And I don't need to pretend or cover it up. … We spend a lot of time trying to be a lot more emotionally connected. We have a much more soulful relationship [now].
Ernie: Communication during sex seems to be a big key. Letting her know, giving her reassurance that I don't have a problem doing what I'm doing. I'm enjoying it. So once she understands that, she really seems to open up and enjoy a lot more.
Since coming home from sex camp, Allison and Ernie have installed a lock on their bedroom door so their kids can't just walk right in—after all, practice makes perfect!
"I didn't think I'd get to do favorite things," Jenn says. "I watch it every year, and I want go to the show so bad. If I could make every day as special as this day [for Alge], that would be great. I love you. And we love you, Oprah!"