Examining Rehab with Dr. Drew (Episode 6)

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Dr. Drew’s weekly commentary on Celebrity Rehab continues! After the jump, the hardest-working doctor in showbiz talks Friends & Family Weekend, Jeff’s empty promises, Brigitte’s triggering and why he thinks Vikki’s portrayal on the show is unfair.

celebrity_rehab_6_1.jpgIn this episode, Jeff threatens to leave…

Shocking! Jeff? Threatening to leave?

The saga continues. One thing he says is, “You guys don’t need this,” as though his absence would be charity.

I don’t even remember that happening. I don’t know what he was talking about. It’s Jeff: we stopped listening a week earlier (laughs).

celebrity_rehab_6_3.jpgWhen the planning is underway for the family weekend, you urge Chyna to reconnect with her sister. Is it important for her to do so, even if it would be uncomfortable to her?

Yes! You want to heal as much as can be healed, and you want to get the important people back in the game with them. You want those relationships restored, if they can be. You should know that my expectation was that her sister was not as evil a person as she was making her out to be. In all probability, her sister would have been delighted to hear from her. Again, I caution when dealing with addicts looking at things in terms of good and bad. It’s usually just human struggling. And humans basically are pretty darn good and care about the important people in their lives. They may not understand how to manage certain things, but we’re there for that.

celebrity_rehab_6_2.jpgYou know, I don’t know if she even gives reasons for why she thinks her sister is so evil.

There’s a lot of stuff that went on about other people that, because they couldn’t get written clearances from them, they couldn’t air. They didn’t want to hurt anyone or be sued. But there are at least four people that I can think of that did horrible things to our patients that you won’t see on TV that, believe me, were discussed extensively in treatment.

celebrity_rehab_6_4.jpgAs the episode goes on, there’s more drama with Jeff. I think this most shocking thing he’s said on the show so far is, “Will you get that camera off of me?”

(Laughs) That’s shocking! The translation is: “Get the camera. Come here!” Goodness. God bless him.

This is the first time we see you break down and say that he’s depleting you.

celebrity_rehab_6_5.jpgYeah, I started losing it the last week. I started getting really worn out. If we do this again, I’m going to get more staff because everything was falling onto my shoulders. It was designed that way because we didn’t know what we were getting into fully. But they were wearing me down. What you don’t see on camera is me struggling to get them to do their steps, struggling to get them to 12-step meetings. And then there was them behaving like children. “There were cockroaches there!” “Somebody looked at me wrong!” That kind of stuff. That was really wearing me thin.

When you do feel beat down like, what do you do?

I run. I exercise. I go spend time with my wife and kids. I try to get away. But the way that this was set up, I’d be at home in my T-shirt and I’d get a call: get up here immediately. Like, “Jesus! No! Not again! Come on! You’re killing me already!” And in real life, I’d have another doctor or two to share responsibilities with.

celebrity_rehab_6_6.jpgYou refer to addiction as a “family disease” a few times. Can you elaborate on that?

It affects all family members. First of all, it’s a genetic disease, so it’s affecting more than one person in the family, literally. And it operates in a system. That disease affects all the other members of the system. It contains itself by using that system and we have to change the system so the disease can’t flourish any longer.

Part of the first-day activity is for family members to share how the disease has affected them. Is that just to give tangible evidence of addiction’s devastation?

celebrity_rehab_6_7.jpgWell, no. At this stage, when the addicts start getting better, the family starts getting angry. That’s just a normal part of the process. It comes from the fact that the family members no longer feel scared and terrorized by the disease, but they also know that now that the person is sobered up, they can now listen. And so they just dump. We like for that to happen in a safe environment – get it all out, get it all on the table and let’s process it.

celebrity_rehab_6_8.jpgAnd Vikki’s back this episode.

Yes. You start to see her do some work and then Jeff starts looking not-so-good. It goes back and forth. It’s a dance. And it’s not a good person and a bad person, it’s two people struggling. It’s not as though she’s there to make him sick. That’s not what she’s doing, trust me. And I don’t like the way the producers sort of present her as evil. I understand it’s TV, but that is a mistake, I think. It’s just somebody struggling.

“Evil” is exactly the word that went through my head.

Trust me, she is not an evil person. She is hurting just like the rest of them and she is struggling.

At least Vikki sort of owns up to her faults this episode.

That is the moment that I really started feeling empathy for what Vikki had to put up with regarding Jeff’s disease. I knew it was there, and I knew I would see it eventually.

celebrity_rehab_6_13.jpgThe restaurant exercise, was that thought up to counter the narcissism you talk about addicts exhibiting?

Yeah. It’s to learn to be of service. If we do this again, that’s something we have to do: more service. When I see someone doing just simple acts of service, ot adopting the whole, but going out and serving someone a sandwich, that’s when I know that sobriety’s kicking in.

Brigitte has a really negative reaction to this environment.

Well, it’s the alcohol there. That’s the problem. She wants to use.

celebrity_rehab_6_12.jpgDid you feel like exposing her to that was a mistake?

No. It was too evocative, and it was not as controlled an environment as I would have liked, but it’s not as though someone relapsed because of it. That scares me, but no, they need to understand the feelings that come when they’re exposed to that in real life.

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