As she did last season, house manager Jennifer Gimenez is set to give us her weekly take on each episode of Sober House with Dr. Drew. Below, Jenn talks about the second episode of the show: Kari Ann’s departure, Seth’s return and Mike’s opiate withdrawal.
The first major event of this episode involves Kari Ann hitting a camera man on the way to the Sober House. They notified you of this while she was in transit, right?
Yeah. The thing is with this, the crew members do not talk to anyone in the cast. This guy did not deserve to be hit, not that anyone ever does, but Kari Ann hit one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life. It was just completely unfair. At that point, it wasn’t that I wanted to kick her out because I just didn’t like her, but she had gone out of her way to make this such an impossible situation and experience for everyone. I said in Episode 1 that I didn’t think that she was fit to be at the Sober House. I really think that she wasn’t well psychologically. I’m not a doctor but obviously she wasn’t well, and that hitting just proved it. This wasn’t about recovery for her, and it wasn’t about wanting to get better. It was just about causing drama. And I know that there’s always somebody that wants to make great TV and be that person, but this isn’t about that. This is about life and death. This is about people wanting to learn to live, and she wasn’t helping.
The physical altercation, though, was the concrete transgression you needed to kick her out, right?
Well, it was more like, at that moment I went, “I was right.” What if she were to hurt herself or another cast member? She was just so uncooperative with any situation, of anything, period. She wasn’t wanting to participate in any of the things that we were asking her to do, and it’s like you know what? We don’t have time for that.
Given all of the horrible things that she said to you last episode and this episode, was it satisfying to throw her out?
No, it wasn’t satisfying…What can I say? I just felt like this level of care wasn’t for her, so it was like…I don’t know.
Was it like a relief?
You know, there was a bit of a relief in the sense that I knew that if Kari Ann continued and stayed in that house, it was just going to cause more chaos, and we were only on Day 2. If we started off that way, it wasn’t going to ever stop. This is not a show about Kari Ann. This is a show about showing people how they recover and early sobriety and the vulnerability and the lessons of that situation. And I go back to that life-and-death thing, because this is not a joke. If the disease is alive in the house, everyone is going down. If I allow pardon that behavior, what’s next? She pushed the envelope way too far.
This episode weirdly associates Mindy McCready with Kari Ann’s so-called “sex-tape scandal.” What was your take on that?
Well, I don’t know. I feel that it was very unfair to have that being talked about when Mindy wasn’t there to defend her side. I don’t know what happens behind closed doors, and no one else does. No matter what, this drama wasn’t about a solution — Kari Ann just lived in the problem. And even Dr. Drew was trying to tell her in his one-on-one with her to focus on herself, and she didn’t want to take any part of it. She wanted to just play the blame game. I just didn’t feel it was fair on Mindy’s side, and look, Kari Ann says a lot of things.
Also in this episode, you introduced the idea that everybody’s going to have to get a job, and Dennis and Tom were the most resistant.
Dennis is resistant at all time. I really think it’s just him trying to push the envelope. He’s a game player. Dennis wants to see how far he can go to see how far he can get away with things. Dennis ended up having the most touching work experience out of everyone, and he didn’t want to do it initially. Tom was down, too. He was in it. He was folding laundry, cleaning up dirty stuff, he was doing the deal. We have 7 Deadly Sins in our 12-step community, and one of them is sloth, and when push comes to shove, those guys were down. They were there. They did what they were supposed to do. Yes, they’re resistant, but that’s alcoholic and addict behavior. I don’t want to get on the treadmill, I don’t want to do certain things, but I’ve got to do it. A lot of alcoholic and addict behavior is, “I want it here and I want it now and I want it my way,” instead of doing it the right way and having to work for it.
What was going through your mind when it was proposed that Seth enter the Sober House?
It was really hard for me because Seth had been with me on Sober House last season, and we have history that goes back 10 years. Every time Seth relapses, it really breaks me. There’s a little piece of my heart that breaks, because I love him so much and he’s such a great guy. But at this point, it’s like, is it really going to work this time? And I believe in miracles. I was hopeless, and now I’m not. I have hope today. And maybe the light will come into his eyes, I don’t know. I was resistant to him returning because I know it hadn’t worked before, and I took a lot of personal interest because I love him so much. It’s like, how much more can I give him? I have to set my boundaries and I have to let go. We have to let go, and we can detach with love and tolerance. I can detach and love him from afar until he was ready to get better.
Drew said that he worried that by letting Seth come back so much, he’d gotten to the point where he was enabling him. Were you concerned about that as well?
Absolutely. Seth knows how to get to me because we have history, and he knows how to be the sweet guy by just blinking his eyes. But I have to be strong with him. I have to forget that in a weird way, he’s kind of like family. I have to forget that we have so much history, and I have to put that aside. I have to be the person that’s enforcing the rules. I realized that if Seth was going to come back this time, I was going to have to be very hard on him. I didn’t have to laugh at everything, and I didn’t have to go chase him if he wanted to relapse.
Where do you draw the line then between helping and enabling?
It’s a very slippery slope. I’m learning to draw the lines. I’m learning through my experiences on a daily basis. Seth and I, we get into it. He tells me to stop being so hard on him. I was told by Dr. Drew that I was not allowed to have Shifty in the house, I was allowed to have Seth. That allowed me to have a line and a boundary with him. I wanted no part of Shifty Shellshock, because that guy killed my friend Seth. I didn’t want the persona, I wanted the human being Seth.
The final major part of the episode is Mike’s Suboxone request. He was getting hit hard by his withdrawal at that point. Were you worried at all by his behavior?
I was worried, yeah. Day 2 was when Mike started with the, “F*** you, f*** you, f*** you, f*** you, I’m in pain.” I get the pain for a couple of days, but so does everyone else, and they’re not asking for drugs. I understood from Dr. Drew that Mike was going to have a hard kick, but he knew going into the house, too. He had already been asking me all day long about the meds, and I was like, “Oh, no.” I was told that he was a little rough and I started seeing that. More will be revealed as the show goes on…