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 has battled demons on her own, to find out her insider’s perspective on family weekend. (Due to a technical glitch, our interview is a little short this week.)
I know you developed a close relationship with Jasmen, so could you share how she felt upon hearing that her alcoholic father relapsed during family weekend?
Once Jasmen found out her dad drank, it was a let-down. And that goes back to her childhood and the whole idea of “I want to believe my dad and I want to believe his actions will speak louder than words.” He flew all the way out to change things, and then you just see the severity of his alcoholism. He took one sip and that sip led to a whole bottle. You could see it in her eyes during the therapy between her husband and Dr. Drew, when he says “I have a confession, I bought the alcohol,” you can see her anger and disappointment. No matter what, Jasmen should not be drinking, so this was a great example of being uneducated against the effects of alcoholism. Millions of family members out there say “Why don’t you just not drink?” or “Why don’t you just have a sip?” and I guess ignorance is bliss, because alcoholism is a disease and that sip will lead to the entire bottle. There’s so much awareness being brought up at this point and I hope Curtis has taken notice at this point. We weren’t here to tell him “You’re the bad person,” we were here to tell him this is why this can’t happen and now you’re educated.
At one point during the conversation about Jasmen going to sober living, when Curtis was resisting the idea, Dr. Drew said something like “he’s the reason you could die.” Like, the fact that Curtis didn’t want her to continue treatment could be the end of her success. That had to hurt to hear.
Dr. Drew has such an amazing way of executing things, but that is true. We had these kinds of conversations all the time in treatment. We would say it to that person, “This person is going to help you die.” It’s hard for the family to hear but it’s the truth. It’s not about being friends with these people, it’s about saving their lives. My objective there was not to be everybody’s friend, it was to be the voice of reason and to help them to live while we were there. I think it was great that Curtis finally got to see that and understand that.
Deanna is another patient you’ve said you had a good relationship with, so I’d love to know if she spoke with you about her relationship with her mother which seemed to get cleared up and repaired somewhat during the weekend.
You’re talking about the different types of approach that families take with the addicts they love and all these dynamics were just portions of the full sessions, the full two days we spent with them all, there were a lot of ups and downs in those two days, and you’d see the kindness of the family members mixed with other emotions. Deanna’s mom was very, very scared. A mother or father wouldn’t have flown out here to be by their child’s side if they didn’t love them, and you get to see that here. You get to have compassion for her because she was so scared. She said “I’ve tried everything, I’ve tried kindness,” but the harsh stuff her mother said, can I condone it? No. But you get to have more compassion for her when you realize, wow, her mom was at a desperate place. She didn’t know what else to do. That was a really great moment for Deanna and her mom to begin the forgiveness process. It was also important to remove Deanna from the problem, she was so fixated on that problem and we talked about it for weeks. No one ever, ever, ever, deserves to be abused by anyone, but it happens. It’s a horrible thing. But we had to get her away from that and start the healing process. Let’s stop being fixated on the problem so we can get into the solution. This was a great start for them.