Jennifer Gimenez On Her Move From Sober House To Celebrity Rehab

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Jennifer Gimenez is a familiar face to a lot of viewers. The actress appeared in films like Blow and Vanilla Sky before receiving treatment from Dr. Drew Pinsky and ultimately working for him on both seasons of Sober House as the house manager. As an actress and former addict, she gained an especially useful perspective on recovery, which is why she’s a perfect addition to this season of Celebrity Rehab. We spoke to Jenn about her transition from Sober House to the Pasadena Recovery Center, and she gave us a candid, honest, and often funny outlook on what we can expect on this season of Celebrity Rehab.

Jennifer Gimenez: I came from Sober House which you know, I definitely went through it. In the sober house it was me against eight of them twenty-four hours a day. And what was interesting from my perspective was a) I was now in a treatment facility and in a closed environment with these people and b) that I was on a team. Unlike Sober House, it was kind of like me always with them and Dr. Drew and all the other counselors, but still it was a night and day difference. There are a lot of trauma survivors—you know a lot of these people are very traumatized with their life.

Do you think that the trauma is a bigger factor in their addiction, or is it more the choice of being in an entertainment field where things are flowing freely and they have access to whatever vices they have? Or does one thing feed off of another?

I think it would be both. Being in the entertainment field and being exposed to it is the next level. You know, it’s like the next thing that happens. But before that happens, these people have a gene that we inherit of alcoholism or drug addiction. Like some of these people were not necessarily celebrities to begin with, like Amy Fisher wasn’t in the entertainment world—I don’t think she was seeking that, as opposed to someone like Sean Young or Bai Ling or Jeremy JacksonMichael Lohan kind of got thrown into it because of his father… his drug addiction started before his notoriety. We’re always looking for a fix, these people are always looking for a fix. You know, you get the drugs or alcohol and they want more and then they want more and then they are in the spotlight and then it’s shopping, then it’s gambling. All these aspects come in—it’s like more, more, more.

Do you think that your personal experience as someone who is in recovery and also an actor means you can relate a bit better to them on that level as well as the addiction level?

Yeah, you know it brings a lot to the table actually. A lot of times these people in the entertainment world are like “If you love me, then I love me,” and with the drugs and the alcohol, you want more and more because you think you’re getting validated because of outside stuff and it really has nothing to do with it. And that’s something you get to search for and uncover and discover and discard and find out, like I thought what I did was who I was and that’s not what it is in real life. I have really experienced what these people have—from having it all to losing it all. At the end of the day, we are suffering from a spiritual malady and having to fix that first.

Can you define what your role is and how it differs from everyone else we see on the show?

Well, they call me a residential tech. What I do is after Shelly leaves her shift, Will and I come over and we take over her shift, which is different than Drew’s role or a doctor’s role because we run the until from 4 o’clock until the wee hours of the morning. We make sure people get their meds and make sure everything on the floor is running okay. Him and I come in pretty much as a team so that we are doing different things—giving them things to do, making sure craziness isn’t happening—I’m running the unit pretty much. It’s definitely different than my role on Sober House too because I do groups now at PRC.

How is this group different than the group you worked with on Sober House?

This group is, like I don’t spend 24 hours with them—which is sort of a great relief for me [laughs], I get to go home. I got to kind of decompress everyday. This group has an interesting dynamic going on. They weren’t abusive with me. I think it’s different because they don’t have free reign to leave the house, as opposed to Sober House where they come and go. They also know that I’m part of team and I qualify as being there. You gotta earn their respect, but they also knew they needed me to give them their meds, take care of them, make sure everything was okay. You definitely see with this group, you see them acting out. You have to check them. And I also think because I’ve been working in recovery that I know how to deal with them differently this time around. I have more of a professional outlook on the whole situation.

A lot of these people have been really exposed to the media, especially recently so you could see the celebrity “isms” for press coming out and there were moments where the co-dependency would come, and then they would go on their own way. And again, these people, we are taking the drugs and alcohol away from them and they’re like wanting to explode and they are so uncomfortable in their own skin. So there was a lot of turning against each other and you see that. The viewers get to see that whole experience. It’s interesting watching that—they didn’t want to deal with themselves so they get into each others business.

Do the people in the house have pre-judgments about the people they are going to be working with?

Each person coming in had no idea about who was coming in. As each person was walking in they were like “Oh my God, scary.” So no there were no preconceived notions/ I think they were really sort of frightened…But I got really close to the cast — they felt like I was their mommy, for some reason I keep playing that role, and they would express everything to me. Every one of them shared every secret with me and what was going on with them, so I know everything that was going on with them.

That’s so great, thank you so much Jenn for sharing with us, it’s been great to talk to you.

Are you kidding me? I love this, thank you.

  1. alonzo says:

    Hey, I DO NOT! think abuse is ever right. Verbaly or physically. But JEEZUM CROW Jenn. You really make the very most of your opportunities to over dramatize when they come your way. I mean this faked up hyperventalating is sickening!!! REALLY!!!

  2. Just Me says:

    @ Alonzo, I totally agree with you. I myself did not care for her on Sober House and now she is on Celebrity Rehab. I just can’t deal with her on this show, so I might just move on to something else. Just my opinion…

  3. Lori says:

    I can NOT stand Jennifer Gimenez. She is such a drama queen and causes more problems for the residents. Please remove her from the show. I will not watch it if she is on.

  4. K McC says:

    Good luck with Steven. I know he has a good heart and has just lost his way. Patience is a virtue. I hope this time around he takes his sobriety seriously or he will end end as they all do, dead or in jail.
    Be strong, you will survive this re-meeting.
    All the best,
    Kimberly Ann

  5. judy says:

    I totally agree with you Alonzo!! Welcome to the world of mental health professionals. It’s the nature of the beast. Sometimes we get hit. Often we are yelled at and verbally abused. Part of being a professional is seeing it for what it is and letting it roll off her back. Don’t get me wrong….there should be consequences for behaviors such as those. But quit taking it personally, already. It’s NOT. If they had control over all those things….they wouldn’t need you!!! She has no business on this show or calling herself a professional. She has obviously not been trained to work in the field.

  6. Marcy says:

    I do not feel Jennifer Gimenez is far enough along in her own recovery to be working in a rehab facility. She often gives poor advice, has too much physical contact with the patients, and seems to always bring the issue at hand, back to focus on herself. It is apparent she has had limited addiction training. I wish her the best in her recovery. Maybe in the future with more training and experience she may be a good staff.

  7. Tina says:

    Dear Dr. Drew,

    First of all I would just like to say I love your shows and have great respect for you what you offer to the teens and rehab patients. However, I just have to say that I cannot understand in any way why you choose Jennifer to be on the show. I and many others felt that in Sober house she struggled all the way though. In order to help others there are certain qualifications one must have. Just because she is a recovering addict or an actress is not enough for her to be in charge of a rehab. Not only is she weak, lacking self-confidence has a horrible temper and no self-control, most of all no compassion or understanding of any of the patients. I do not wish to be rude, I am only speaking from what is seen on the TV show. She spends more time putting on make-up and watching herself , and breaking down then she does others. Also on the very first show she already has a breakdown. Really?? I could give more help to the patients as a stranger than she ever could. There must be some reason she is on the show, a contract or she has some kind of pull. I am serious and I am not the only one. At first I thought she was some kind of a joke and the real counsler would be in soon. If you want to help your show and your patients please get a decent person that really cares. I am sorry but this is what it is. You are trying to help people right?? By the way Shelly is great, not the strong one but she is real, decent, good, honest and kind and for real. You see the difference here I hope.

  8. Aces007 says:

    This Jennifer girl Is a SNEAK and a SNITCH. She OVER REACTS SOOOOOOO FRKN much It’s really SAD. Maybe she should be working MORE on her Sobriety than appearing on the Show, which I’m sure she would disagree. She’s more worried about camera time than anything else…

  9. Jo says:

    Seriously, I don’t watch the show often but I recall her being on Sober house…… Oh my goodness, I was actually happy to see that the comments, though small in number were right on! Is she serious or is this just for ratings. How annoying and ineffective she is. I’m sorry, but the producers need to do better. There is enough drama from the celebrities, adding her to the mix is too much!
    It’s actually pathetic her being on the show…. hyperventilating won’t be the same!