Examining Rehab with Dr. Drew (Episode 5)



Dr. Drew’s weekly commentary on Celebrity Rehab continues! After the jump, the hardest-working doctor in showbiz talks Daniel Baldwin’s departure, Mary Carey’s porn tendencies, Chyna’s denial of steroid usage and the vodka Jeff Conway’s girlfriend Vikki smuggled into the facility.

celebrity_rehab_5_1.jpgAt the beginning of this episode, you note that Daniel’s leaving has created an air of relief. Were you surprised at the group’s reaction?

Daniel had a certain amount of negativity that he brought. Don’t get me wrong: my affection for Daniel is genuine and unyielding. Even with what was happening there, he was struggling with his own issues and he had the same objectivity as anyone else in treatment. He was actually helpful to several people. As time has gone on, his contribution has meant bigger and bigger things, in terms of what he did to help other patients. There was relief that he left, but there was also a big reaction when he left because of the circumstances that were brought out.

celebrity_rehab_5_4.jpgBrigitte was the most affected.

Brigitte had the most immediate, biggest reaction. It actually felt bigger when it really happened than what you see on TV. It really felt immense, that she was deeply affected by it. I’m not quite clear why. I never did figure it out. I tried to stay blinded to a lot of the things that were happening that I didn’t witness with my own eyes. I specifically told the producers that I was going run this like any other treatment: if I’m there, I’m there and what the staff tells me is what they tell me. I didn’t want them to tell me what they caught on camera. But the staff did tell me about Brigitte’s reaction and from what I understand, it was quite, quite big.

celebrity_rehab_5_5.jpgShe seems to think that Daniel abused his status as a father figure.

Yeah. In group, I was defending Daniel, and the group attacked me. Jeff specifically said that it was like I was defending a child molester. I said, “Well, you know, if I were treating a child molester, I would have to see it from their point of view, too.” Obviously, this was not that, but I was shocked at their venom. Ultimately, we were able to bring it around with them and get them to see that you guys set this up. You guys painted him as Dad. It’s your reaction, not him. You created it and it’s your circumstance that’s being played out here. You have to own all of your feelings about what this is. And in fact, in my opinion, his leaving was one of the great gifts to the group. It’s not just that his negativity went away, but they learned something about how they construct their own realities.

celebrity_rehab_5_2.jpgSharon Mitchell stops by the center this episode and she’s referred to as a “recovering porn star.” I’ve never heard that term before.

(Laughs) I’ve never heard that, really, either. I’m not sure even if that’s how she describes herself. She’s a former porn star who’s now a therapist, who treats porn stars and helps them get out of the industry.

Were you familiar with her work?

Not really. I’d heard about her. Everyone seems to know her and I’ve heard about her, loosely.

celebrity_rehab_5_3.jpgWhat were your impressions of her?

I really wanted Mary to hook up with her, and I will know that Mary’s really ready to get well when she forms a relationship with Sharon that’s a real relationship. She, in fact, was very ambivalent about Sharon, and that was a bad sign.

It’s interesting that she flips back and forth between Mary Ellen and Mary Carey.

Yeah. How she dressed and how she looked and everything.

That’s not a multiple-personality disorder manifesting itself, is it?

It’s not as profound as an MPD, but it is an identity issue. She’s really having trouble. Her real self is flimsy and empty. We had them do some art therapy and she drew a box. On the outside, it was pink and hearts and hard candy and inside she painted it completely black. She explained, “This is me. This is how I feel about myself.” It’s like whoa, Mary. That’s pretty heavy — you feel empty and black on the inside. And that’s a flimsy thing to start with. It’s a delicate, delicate thing and she’s got a lot of work to do.

Early on, Mary intimated that she had a sexual relationship with Seth before the show aired. Was there a concern about that?

Yes! We warned them sternly that that would not be tolerated. And I didn’t know about that stuff when Mary got there loaded and said, “Hey, do you want to have sex?” Thank god Seth was so desperate for treatment that he knew that if he did anything he’d get kicked out.

celebrity_rehab_5_7.jpgLater in the episode, Daniel calls and Ricco tells him what went down. Was Ricco acting as a middleman detrimental?

It was heavy. It was a powder keg at that point. We had no idea where it was going to go. And you see Mary reacting to that. She got pissed!

Rightfully so, right?

That was a tough moment. And it’s still playing out. I’ve asked Daniel to set the record straight because I’m sure he has his own version of what went down.

Should Daniel have been calling in the first place, as someone who left the group?

We allow that. I have no right to restrict that contact. If they want to contact people on the outside, I have to give them the opportunity to contact whoever, even if it’s their dealers and stuff. I just have to make sure the dealers don’t come in.

celebrity_rehab_5_9.jpgBob points out that something particular to this group is how eager everyone is to defend each other.

Yeah. They come to each others’ rescue. That’s not that unusual. It’s not wanting to see somebody else in pain, so you rush in and answer for them. I do that a lot, too. Watching myself on camera, I realized that I do that. I wasn’t even aware of it usually. It’s hard not to jump in when someone’s experiencing something painful.

There’s a discussion between you and Chyna in which she denies steroid usage. Did you buy that? Do you just have to take someone’s word for it when they deny something like that in treatment?

We have a word in treatment we use all the time: whatever. Addicts lie off the scale all the time. We just move on. We learn to trust our own instincts more than what the patient said.

celebrity_rehab_5_10.jpgAt this point, it seems like Chyna still doesn’t know why she’s there.

Well, she starts to come around. You’ll see that this is the beginning of Chyna’s involvement in treatment. The ice is thawing.

The other major event of the episode is that Vikki brings in vodka. That’s awful.

You’d be amazed. The very people that bring family members in for treatment often bring them drugs. And it’s that same impulse that I was talking about that you see in group: they can’t stand to see their loved ones uncomfortable. The patients have them so indoctrinated, almost hypnotized that they’re able to manipulate them in ways to get them to do what they want. And to be really clear: I don’t see that as a good person and a bad person. I see that as two people struggling with a bad disease.

celebrity_rehab_5_11.jpgYou think she had Jeff’s best interests in mind?

Uh, I think she needs treatment, too.

Isn’t the fact that she brought alcohol on the premises enough to have her banned entirely?

Yeah, I could have done that. But as a viewer, you know exactly what went down. I didn’t. Again, the producers were given instructions not to fill me in. Based on what the staff said, I had to make my decisions and I decided to let it ride. She needed a lot of work. If she’d only been a problem and was not interested in working with me, she would have been out. celebrity_rehab_5_12.jpgBut if I kicked her out and then knowingly sent Jeff back to that environment and was doing nothing with her, it would have been irresponsible. I had to do what I could to engage her in the process.

Just to be totally clear, you asked producers not to fill you in on what happened on camera that you missed in order to keep it real, right?

Yeah. The cameras were affecting everything, and I just wanted to do treatment the best I could.

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  1. Carol French says:

    I have a friend an ex that truly needs help and I am afraid he is going to do something to end his life. He no longer lives wtih me and is really homeless, but he sometimes communicates wtih me. He is an ex-alocolic, but has replaced that with drugs (pain meds and etx.) He has no job and no insurance and lives with the money that his mother gives him (she lives out of state). He has stolen from everyone that has tried to help him, including his family, and has invaded my home twice. He does not think he has done any thing wrong and can not understand why we have all pushed him away. IHe has communicated with me lately and everyone tells me he is playing on my emotions (he knows hos to push my buttons). He has sent me 4 emails all indicating he is ending his life, but everyone says it’s just talk (he’s done this before). Even his family wants nothing to do with him, which I think is very sad. He has become a hermit and talks to no one but me, via eamil. It’s been 4 days since he’s emailed me, but I am told he is fine…He live on a railroad car. I would explain further, but my bos would not be happy.

    I’ve seem ypur show many times and I love the work that you do, but do you only help the rich that can afford you? Why not do a show that can’t? Really help people that can’t afford you? That would make a really good show and a great statement for you…The Dr. that helps the people that can’t afford to help themselves!

    Thanks for reading my e-mail. I am just scared and worried for my friend and would like some advise from Dr. Drew, who I have grown to really respect.

    Carol…a Christmas Baby

  2. Erin says:

    Dear Dr. Drew,
    What is the potential to heal childhood trauma? In my family it has led to everything from self abuse, drug abuse, enabling, physical and sexual $^)~)$_^*)*_%(# ault. Your show is at times, very difficult to watch because some things are so relevant and yet visibly jarring and appear difficult to cure. I have watched things affect my whole family generationally, and am trying to change some of that. My sister was addicted to meth and I think she may be using again. We were both $^)~)$_^*)*_%(# aulted by my father but it’s never been discussed, but all the actions and reactions prove it out. At one point in time, a few years ago, we tried to get her into a drug rehab. My mother spoke in third person, my father and step mother completely de-railed the possibility; and life goes on as if nothing happened. I have seen my own actions affect my daughter via cutting and promiscuity. I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs but learned that I self abuse in ways that my daughter has learned to imitate. We are working together on this, takes a lot of talk and honesty. For me personally family is everything. My daughter has a very addictive personality and I was wondering what would be the best course of action to keep her on a positive road. We’ve cut out cell-phone and my-spacing and socializing but that can’t last forever and I hope she can learn how to steer herself in the most positive directions. I was curious about Chyna from season 1, if she got any better. I related to the way she acted as if everything was ok. Thank you for your work and tell Shelly she’s awesome, having seen the impact of meth and meth labs first hand. I am so impressed with what she’s done. I am happy to see someone doing something so positive with themselves after being in that kind of position. I am praying to hear positive stories of success from your show.
    Many blessings,