Each week after Rehab With Dr. Drew, we’ll be talking to some of the staff on hand at the Pasadena Recovery Center to find out everything that went down in front of and behind the camera with this season’s group of patients. This week we spoke to our friend Jennifer Gimenez, the resident technician at the facility who had battled demons on her own, and she offered up her insight and some behind-the-scenes details for this episode. Tonight we discuss Erika’s false positive drug test, Ashleigh’s agitation toward the rest of the group, and Jasmen’s need for family support.
At the end of the last episode, it appeared we were dealing with appositive drug test, but tonight we saw that it was like all a ruse and it wasn’t positive after all, it was just the effects of having benzos in her system.
I know! Here’s the thing though, benzos normally stay in your system for a while, but it was her behavior that was concerning me and I believed the rest of the patients were very concerned for her and the fact that she also had her boyfriend there, who was not really in a lot of acceptance of his own part of the whole situation and how tumultuous that relationship is. It was concerning us; I mean she was definitely not Erika for a good four hours or so, it was a little bit longer than four hours, and I was watching her behavior, and everyone kept coming up and coming up and I’m not going to just jump the gun, we don’t normally do that in treatment, like go “Oh ok! Someone thinks she’s high!” But you’re going to observe and her behavior just got more and more out of control and I do say in there that I was concerned ’cause her eyes at one point were like rolling back and her pupils were so dilated that it was a concern, but thankfully we did the procedures that we needed to do and we tested her and we talked to Dr. Drew, we checked the medications, and we went through what standard procedure is in treatment, but it was good that that it ended up being a result of her not using.
Was she annoyed by everybody doubting her?
I think she started getting more paranoid, I don’t think she was so annoyed, as much as she was just really scared at one point, but she wasn’t annoyed with the group. I think she was more scared and felt bad and she realized that it was going out of control and it was spinning out of control for her.
So everybody in this episode is just on edge. So I’m wondering if you can talk about that a little bit just as far as in your own experience how bad that can get and if it can cause a lot of friction among people in these group settings?
Well this is definitely the agitation show on this episode, because they’re all feeling feelings that they’re not used to. The getting off of drugs and alcohol now, it’s day four, day five, and feelings start coming in that they’re not used to coping with and there is a lot of issues and there’s a lot of issues that they have not ever in their life dealt with. They lost coping skills and all of sudden they’re in a small environment with people they don’t know, and feelings are kicking in, and you’re gonna see them unravel, and get very angry. It’s part of the grieving process; they’re grieving the loss of drugs and alcohol, and then starting to see their reality just a tiny bit. They’re learning to cope and we’re trying to give them some tools and we allow them to process and to kind of work things out on their own. Eric starts really kind of unfolding – his reality is kicking in and he does not have any coping skills whatsoever and he just wants to run.
Ashleigh definitely seemed agitated and had a lot of feelings against the group this week.
No one’s ever gonna go through the same things at the same time, so you’re gonna see their emotions act out in different situations, such as, Ashleigh likes to have her way, certain things in a certain way and, look, they don’t know how to live. It was sloppy, and it was disgusting and we would have them clean, and there was always people cleaning as well, and you just can’t follow them around like a parent, and there has to come a point where you say something and that was what I was saying with Ashleigh. At one part in the show you see me saying to her “You don’t have to attack them,” ’cause her first thing she’s holding, holding, holding everything in and then she shuts down then she’s like. It’s going to come out and I’m trying teach her how to communicate, this is all about communicating and learning to find your voice and to find a balance voice. So she got to come and process it with me and then she did it in the group, and then she act out on Eric. I think she was holding it in and finally she just let it out and it could be somebody looking at you the wrong way or it could be the ashtrays, or it could real — if you take that situation away, she’s still going to have these responses. I’m glad that she was able to have them in treatment.
The other thing that struck me this week was Jasmen’s mother, who was not supportive of her decision to want to stay in a sober living facility and take a continued recess from her regular life. I’m just wondering if it’s disheartening to hear that kind of conversation, it just felt like in that moment her mom was going against what was best for her.
Yeah I mean, look there’s a lot of parents and there’s a lot family members and loved ones that will not go on this journey of recovery with you and it is sad. There’s some people that will be supportive and they really do ultimately and I really do believe that Jasmen’s mom, she definitely wants her daughter better. Jasmen and I had started getting very close and to see what the beautiful thing was, that she all of sudden really did want to get sober, not just like clean up, but she really wanted recovery. She started believing that there was a better way of living and the fact that she was actually voicing this was so important. I say that a lot to people when I work in treatment or if people in recovery, it’s like you know your parents or family members may not want to do this with you and this is where it becomes a selfish program and it’s about you. Do you want to live and do you want to be there for — with Jasmen’s case, for her daughter, for her life, does she want to show up for it, and she’s going to have to take matters into her own hand. She’s an adult and hopefully she starts seeing that, which I do believe she is seeing it, she wants a better life for herself. The seed has been planted and it’s starting to grow, which is a beautiful thing.
I feel like I always gloss over Michael in that way you guys have said that people gloss over a kid like him in treatment because he’s sort of under the radar and seems like he’s doing pretty well. But this week he got a little bit of attention, just because it was hard to pinpoint his reason or the catalyst for he started doing drugs and what his deeper issues were. I’m wondering if it’s common for somebody like him – he says he deals with low self-esteem and he has guilt; if that’s just as prevalent as somebody who’s had major trauma, to start their addiction?
Absolutely. Again Michael is and does fit that beautiful quote of “the All-American Guy, the All-American Boy,” but again let’s not mistake that he is a level 10 addict and has the gene of this disease and he has exposed himself to it, so even though he’s kind and he’s sweet, he’s really endearing, he’s so intelligent, and he has a really good heart, there is also something deep rooted in him. I think that there is more and more will be revealed as you see that, I believe. Sometimes it takes them a little while to unfold and to start really starting to see the things. The bottom line is he’s an addict and he has the gene and he exposed himself to the disease. Even though he says the right things and is sweet and well-mannered and grew up correctly, with a family that loves him, that still doesn’t take away the fact that he suffers from this disease and I think it’s extremely important because there’s a lot of Michaels out there. There’s a lot, a lot, a lot of Michaels that can just get by and hide that. “I hid it for a long time until I couldn’t hide it. I was loved; I was loved as a child and grew up that way.” I understand where Michael is coming from and just speaking with him, we don’t want to necessarily just throw at him what his issues are, we want him to be able to see as well. The guilt, shame, and remorse, there’s more to it. What else is there? The self-esteem, low self-worth and all that it definitely adds to his disease. Also, I mean at the end of the day he’s an addict. He does the same thing that everyone else with addiction does.