Talking Celebrity Rehab Episode 4 With Dr. Drew, Jenn Gimenez, And Dr. Sharp

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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, we spoke with Dr. Drew and Jenn Gimenez and Dr. John Sharp about Amy Fisher and Steven Adler‘s volatile relationship and Dwight Gooden‘s emotional reunion with his son.

We spoke first to Dr. Drew.

With Steven, how does it derail a session when he’s so vocal to someone like Amy and he verbally says things like she’s a “weak link” in the group?


Sometimes it’s helpful. It helps the group gather on behalf of that person and support them, but Steven was being abusive, and now he’s the problem. Amy’s not the problem, he is the problem. We ended up having to kick him out and threatening to kick him out, because they sign an agreement that they will not be abusive and he has to abide by that. He doesn’t know the work that Amy’s doing, he doesn’t know any of that. He’s a drug addict in withdrawal, he can’t possibly know. He doesn’t get to see the work Amy’s doing in her individual sessions.

Michael’s relationship with Amy comes off as very protective, is that something you want to see happen between patients?

No, that had to stop. Everyone needs to focus on their own stuff. Amy can take care of herself. That all gets very involved. People need to focus on their own treatment, not other people’s recovery. That’s the whole problem for Michael, he’s co-dependent on everybody and he gets into everything, you’ll see how that evolves. He just gets overly involved with everything all the time that’s, his problem, that’s his pathology.

When we spoke later to Jenn Gimenez about this week’s episode, one of the first things that I thought of was Steven grabbing Shelly during their group session when he was angry with Amy.

When Steven lashes out at Amy in group and ends up grabbing Shelly by the arm, when you see that were you thinking it could get bad like your own experience with Steven in Sober House, or was it a different situation altogether?

I think this was a different situation, even though he did grab her. I think at this point he’s really frustrated because for Steven and anyone in recovery, and I’m speaking from a recovery point here, when other personalities, places, or things come our way that are triggers, they remind us of traumas and tragedies in our lives. So with Steven, Amy is not the problem, Amy is the trigger that brings that up feelings..it’s his mother, it’s his band members, or other people that apply to him that he’s thinking about. The Steven that was with me who did that that was a different person, he had those moments. But you see when he had Shelly, he stopped. He let go quickly because he caught on to what he was doing. I was alone with Steven when our altercation happened and [in rehab] there is group setting and I think there would be a lot of people who would be willing to stop it.

You were also with Dwight Gooden as he wrote the letter to his family this week. Did you write letters like that with the whole cast?

Not all of them did that. Some of them would talk with me and they would just start crying, and they were really able to unleash that way. I knew with Dwight, what his case was and how this was really, really weighing on him. He really wanted to get better, and that was the beginning for him, so I think when he watches that, he will see it because I don’t think he was really able to see it since he was so in it.


Did he read that letter to his son, Dwight Jr., who was there with him this week?

He doesn’t read it to his son, no. But writing the letter allowed him to work more clearly and to be more present when his son is talking to him, because that’s the thing, he could disconnect when he is around his family, and even though he is hearing them, he’s feeling the way he is feeling — that guilt and shame — so he’s not able to be present with the people he has hurt because he has so much remorse. I knew this was going to allow him to connect more, with his moment to moment and to the present, and to the ability that he could be there for them.

Finally, Dr. Sharp’s thoughts on the episode…

Can you clarify the difference between denial and dissociation? Both terms have been used to describe Amy and how she copes with her problems, and I didn’t know what the difference is.

Dissociating is an automatic coping response where a person just literally distances themselves from their feelings, so much so that their feelings are beyond arm’s length away. There is a disconnect between the emotion they’re referring to and what they are feeling at the moment. It’s a way of removing yourself.

Denial is a term that’s thrown around loosely “Oh, she’s in denial,” but what denial means is that somebody is subconsciously minimizing the full extent of what they’re talking about or the consequence of what they’re talking about. It could be that you are minimally worried or minimally excited when there is so much to be worried or excited about. When Amy came in she seemed rather disconcerned with whatever her problems were, she wasn’t so sure she was an alcoholic – I’d say it was a mix of denial and uncertainty. And to help herself through some really tough moments, she would dissociate to keep her feelings at arm’s length.

What was your perspective on the scene when Dwight Gooden’s son came, since you were sitting in on that?

That was very touching when Dwight’s son came. This was an example of meeting with an important family member, which we try to do as often as is necessary. When you do that, it’s important to try to have two clinicians together with the patient and their family member, so Drew and I wanted to really see about supporting Dwight in being able to tell Dwight Jr. how he really felt. They had not had a heart to heart conversation like that in years, so we really wanted Dwight to get something major off his chest. Anyone who has struggled with addiction lives with a lot of regret and if you get the care you need there is a way to make peace with what you’re carrying around but to be able to tell someone that is a very important part of recovery.

At one point Dwight’s son talks about not wanting to be hard on his father and cause him to use more drugs.

And that shows you the bind that the family is in, you know? They don’t know what the right thing to do is. They don’t want to add to the stress or make things worse. The family usually has a front row seat for someone struggling with addiction and you wonder or are afraid if you’re influencing what’s going on. It’s actually good to see that an addict’s behavior is a personal journey, and being able to get the help you need is so empowering and it allows you to get to the point where you can make amends. Not only is that a relief for you, but for your loved ones who’ve been standing by, essentially powerless to help.

  1. Alana Prill says:

    I just wanted to ask Dr. Drew why did he let Steven come back when he knows he’s a loose cannon. I do not understand why he allows to Steven verbally attack Amy or anyone else. I am watching the “Triggers and Regret” episode and he is totally out of control. Yet Dr. Drew has not told him to leave — what does he have to do attack someone and seriously hurt them or are the ratings for this show more important to Dr. Drew. I would never recommend anyone I know with serious drug/alcohol, etc. problems to go to him for treatment since they might be in danger being in his rehab center from another patient there since Dr. Drew allows other patients to verbally attack others and as Steven has said on this early morning repeat show 1:00-2:00AM (7/18) that he would physically hurt someone. This doesn’t seem like a real treatment center where a patient like Steve continously goes after others raither then worry about getting well himself. I use to like Dr. Drew and had respect for him but now it seems he is just another “star” on TV who is more concenred about “ratings” than actually helping people who seem to really need help or is all of this just a staged reality show.l

  2. Annonymous Cont. says:

    Continued from above: IF I WERE ONE OF STEVEN’S PARENTS, I WOULD BE UTTERLY ASHAMED WITH THE ANIMAL STEVEN HAS BECOME.

  3. karen says:

    Jenn is absolutely unprofessional by discussing her previous encounter with Steven with Amy or any other patient. Amy stated that Jenn had told her about it. Hopefully Drew addressed this with her as she has NOT resolved her issue with the encounter.

  4. Connie says:

    OK. I have to say that I have really found Celebrity Rehab a very interesting show, up until this season. My biggest issue with the show is Jennifer Gimenez. She needs to leave!!! I can’t believe that she is telling patients (Amy) about her physical attack from Steven. This goes against so many rules of staff/patient relationships. Why would she do this, or even be allowed to do this??? We all know she was attacked,(by the numerous times the footage has been played to show viewers the attack) and we know that she is uncomfortable being in the facility with Steven. I think that Jenn just wants airtime on the show, and she will do anything she can to get it. This show is NOT about her. She is sober. She does not need help or any more attention. Why is she getting so much airtime??? I wish she would just leave!
    I also found it really disturbing that when Jenn had her scene with Dwight, that she managed to push out a tear, as he was reading his letter. Give me a break! This is NOT about Jenn. Once again, why do the producers of this show feel it necessary to show us how emotional Jenn is. In my opinion, she is pushing out the tear to get more airtime, and I bet the viewers really don’t care to see this. Stop trying to manipulate your viewers. We are smart, and we understand what the message of the show is. Much less Jenn makes a much better Celebrity Rehab.

  5. Nanci says:

    This season Steven has been such a hater. I mean really, you can totally tell that he does not respect women. How dare he judge someone when he himself has been to rehab as many times as he has been. Amy is trying to get help and trying to deal with the whole situation. Stop being the jerk Steven & get some psychiatric help for your aggressive nature. You hate wheat happened to you from your mother and yet you still cannot respect the boundaries that separate you between women. You disrespect and to tell you the truth, I look forward to Amy standing up to you and telling you to back off and worry about himself rather than watching everyone. Since when did he become a judge?

  6. Rob says:

    I agree with what everyone else has said about Stevie boy. The guy’s out of control, and for this to be allowed is so wrong, and could bring lawsuits. You are responsible for the safety of the staff and patients in there, and this idiot is verbally and physically abusing everyone.

    He’s taking Amy’s inventory as a way to take the focus and pain off his own washed up, miserable life. The guy had a great job drumming for one of the best bands of the 80s, then throws it away to shoot dope. And now, he gets to yell at other people and put them down? If I was there I would have smacked this fool when he started that crap.
    I’ve been through treatment a few times, and have been clean now for 9 years, and this would never fly at any real treatment center. When this stuff is allowed to happen, and it’s shown on tv, people needing help will think twice about getting treatment if this is the way it is with people like him getting away with that.
    Hey Doc, take off the blinders and kid gloves and put away your title as the shows producer and really get these people some serious attention. Is it real or not?

  7. mary says:

    i can not understand why people are walking on egg shells around amy fisher what steven is saying is true . why is she there . if others can not say how they feel about her and others that makes no sense i do not feel he has said anything so bad. so he now will go out and probably use again . because he will feel that amy is more important. than himself or the others

  8. Elizabeth Mathisen says:

    Steven has to go he’s too aggressive, he. had no business putting his hands on Shelley. He is on my nerves big time. And he has no business jumping on Amy all the time,he needs to take care of his own business.

  9. Samantha says:

    It is hard to feel sorry for Amy knowing that she shot a woman in the head in cold blood. She wants to act like it never happens. It is unsetttling to see her “shut down” and garner sympathy as a victim. I wonder if Mrs. Buttafuoco feels sorry for her.

  10. William Olsen says:

    I think someone need to tell Steven that he has been in the same place as Amy Fisher. Now he has more experience he should use that to nurture her on the road to recovery. Be compassionate I know from what I have seen Steven is a good guy and this behavior betrays who he really can be. Whatever Amy’s motivation for being there help her to make it a positive experience think about how many times you have been to rehab and you still are seeing the world through a veil of cognitive distortions and some times with addiction it takes a while to clear that fog help her don’t hurt her. Amy may go through rehab again who knows but don’t be the obstacle for her help her push the problems aside even if she is not being entirely honest with herself.

  11. rick says:

    Adler is an idiot and deserves no further help. He claims to want help but gets high as soon as he is out of treatment. Cut HIM loose. But of course He makes good TV and I guess that’s what counts. Right? Just like that pussy Conaway. I’m glad that ass hole is finally dead. He was a weak waste of life always blaming others for his own short comings. Believe me I’ve been injured much worse than his little fall and never cried I’m hurt, feel sorry for me. He did it all himself.

  12. basil says:

    So, not sure of the producers read this or not but here is a question: why is Steven Adler’s ABI never discussed? He is aggressive and he lacks inhibition and emotional self regulation. You have a huge audience – it would be a service to brain injury patients to discuss the way acquired brain injury affects behavior and how it interacts with addiction.

    Thanks

  13. tamo says:

    I, as a person not in rehab or an addict, agree with Steven. Amy, in my opinion, is using her ACT of being fragile as an excuse to not admit her addiction. She gets attention from everyone (oh, poor Amy. We are so sorry that you are upset…etc). She will continue to use this as long as she gets that attention/sympathy from everyone. She blames everyone (ex. media) for her actions. Had she not shot her lover’s wife, she wouldn’t have had to deal with the media. When I watch her, like Steven, I want to slap her. Apparently, she is my trigger, too.

  14. Bobbi Hassle says:

    Steven may be a loose cannon and all but Amy clearly knows what she’s doing when pushing his buttons. She provoked him and then cried that she was scared. She seems like an attention seeker to me and if she hadn’t made the snarky comments he may have supported her efforts. Obviously he has issues and his aggression is not acceptable but she fully knew who she was poking with the proverbial stick.

  15. Angela Arnold says:

    You know I really am starting to emphasize with Amy Fisher. Being a recovering addict and clean for sober now for 5 1/2 years I know the pain I put my family and friends including myself through. I really had a bad opinion of Amy from her past mistake and would like to apologize to her. If only people knew the impact of judgment from something you did in the past, especially for her cause she was a young girl who made a bad decision. Amy, I’m sorry I judged you and had I known just how bad it would have affected your life I would have been someone who would have seen all sides. Even your side. I’m sorry that it has affected your life so deeply and feel you have paid enough for your crime. Get better gal and you can do anything you set your mind to. I really hope you get better! Move forward and hold your head up now and make peace with yourself. I only hope that other people can be so forgiving.