Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew is back for a fifth season, and we’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to talk about the show with Dr. Drew and some of the other staff at the Pasadena Recovery Center to get an inside look at the rehabilitation process. This week on the show, we met most of the new patients, including Michael Lohan, Amy Fisher, Jeremy Jackson, Steven Adler, Sean Young and Bai Ling. Throughout the season, we’ll be mixing it up and speaking to a few of the people behind the scenes, this week we kick off episode one with Dr. Drew and resident technician Jenn Gimenez‘s thoughts on the new season and how this group differs from past groups.
First up, our chat with Dr. Drew…
How do you think this season will be different from previous seasons?
Dr. Drew: There’s a lot more about relationships and co-dependency this time around. And a bit more conflict, they were a somewhat uncharacteristically just not quite as cohesive as previous groups have been, which is both good and bad. You know the group before were BFF’s after two days, and that’s not realistic either. With that most recent group before this, we were busy saying “Come on now, you guys have known each other for three days, this is ridiculous.” This group was more like, “Can’t we all just get along?” The biggest problem for me was Steven and Amy, that was the most disruptive relationship. The other ones tended to follow normal course.
Did you have concerns about bringing Steven back, especially considering when Jeff Conaway came back for his second time, he took an attitude like he knew the process better.
No, Steven was willing to work with us, he was sober, Jeff never was really willing to work. He’d keep going back to the surgeon, keep going back to the pain meds. Steven had been doing great and he just had a recent slip and it just so happened that we were doing this thing, so we went and got him. I was worried about Jenn Gimenez to be able to sort of be professional and put aside her concern, which she was able to do and she did a nice job.
When you see someone like Jeremy Jackson whose drug use is so extensive that he’s spent $200,000 on steroids in the past couple years, it was obvious when he was telling you the extent of his drug use that you were pretty incredulous. Do you ever try to hold back your reaction?
I will let people know if I think they’re gonna die. My incredulity toward Jeremy was because he was claiming to be sober and I was like, come on. Come on now, look who you’re talking to. It was incredulity at that, that’s addict stuff.
If somebody’s doing so much that I think they may die imminently or may have horrible withdrawal I’ll be very, very frank with them about what I think.
When somebody’s using something like steroids as opposed to alcohol or cocaine or heroin, do they think that addiction is not the same as the others?
Right, that’s his denial. You’ll see later in treatment he really comes to terms with it completely, but that whole business of “I’m sober, but—” is just nonsense.
I wonder if Michael Lohan’s image will change because of his participation in this show.
I think people will like him, he’s a very likable guy.
You knew each other before he came into treatment, didn’t you?
I didn’t really know him, we knew each other very casually before this, but we got in deep. Michael tells some incredible stories, he really digs in and I really didn’t know any of that. Before, my involvement was basically…about his daughter. I didn’t really know anything about him and this was really very interesting, oh my God, his stories are so traumatic.
Does that change your opinion of his daughter’s situation?
It certainly deepens my understanding of what Lindsay’s dealing with, but now I know Michael very, very well now. Michael is my patient, Lindsay isn’t.
The dynamic of this year’s group is more contentious—
Not contentious, but they didn’t pull together as a group. There were boundary issues and then there was aggression, which is also a boundary problem. Lots and lots of boundary issues, they found it difficult to trust each other.
We later to spoke to Jennifer Gimenez, whose very real trauma of seeing Steven Adler after their tumultuous, abusive time on Sober House, became one of this episodes biggest issues. Despite Jennifer’s being “scared s—less” at Steven’s arrival, she says she’s able to see the “beauty” of the situation, which is his willingness to seek treatment.
About your breakdown with Steven coming, how much time did you have to let it sink in?
Jennifer Gimenez: I was coming in for my shift, and I was told probably about an hour or an hour and a half before Steven was coming in, so I was completely shocked. I knew everyone else who was coming in, but I didn’t know about Steven.
Do you think they kept that from you on purpose?
Well, I know they were trying to figure out who they were going to bring in, because it was going back and forth. So when they told me, I went into complete shock. Again, because I am a trauma survivor and had that experience, I had thought I had resolved it. Going through the years and working it out I thought I had resolved it but when you’re looking at someone who’s walking through the door and is intoxicated, you go back into that mode and that trauma.
I knew immediately as that was happening that I had to separate myself and my emotions and my feelings away from the fact I was going to be working with him and helping him get better you know because everyone has an opportunity and I believe we have to be equal to help people to get better. But I am so thankful that Shelly was there.
I have seen Steven through the years and he will be lovely with me and then towards the end he will be like, “That f—ing bitch!” You know what I mean?[Laughs] He will just go off. Like I can just brush it off.
I know it will be uncomfortable, I thought I was going to be the one he was going to attack the whole time because he has done that. I feared him coming in intoxicated and him turning everyone against me.
Watching Steven walk in is amazing for me. If you come back to treatment, that is amazing—it is so hard to do, so hard to do. The fact he wants to come back means he wants help. He wants to change his life and that’s the beauty of it all. He’s very, very loving and very kind. Even when I seen him through the years there are moments when he is very nice. It’s not like he’s being abusive to me throughout the years, it’s just that he starts saying things afterward because he gets angry. In his eyes I’m the girl that got him arrested. In reality, I’m the girl that called the police to get a 5150 to get him detoxed. We were afraid he was going to die on the street. That’s the truth, I called the cops because I was scared for his life, not to get him arrested. And because he had drugs on him, he got arrested.
And at the end of the day, he’s still breathing—so it saved his life. And that’s the beauty of it. So it’s great to see his willingness come in.