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, discusses her Drewbee’s sudden departure from rehab and having to chase him (in flip flops) through Pasadena.
You were running all over Pasadena, it looked like, to find Drewbee this week.
I want to tell you what happened during that chase, because you guys didn’t get to see all of it. The thing was, Drewbee really didn’t want the cameras around him anymore, you don’t see a lot of closeups on Drewbee in the last couple of episodes because he was already detaching ever since the night in the alley, . Dr. Drew describes it so wonderfully, he says that what happens is that people withdraw and their disease is so much more powerful and his head injuries make it even deeper for him and his choice to not want to stay there. When his family comes, he has all this guilt and desire to not want to live, and we’re really just here trying to get them to live. To show them that there is hope. When they disconnect like that, the risks are so high at that point.
So I was there with the group and all of a sudden Drewbee just wasn’t there. He dropped the mic and just walked out. He walked so fast and there were no cameras around him at that moment and I ran after him like “Drewbee, what are you doing?” As he walked out, everyone thought I walked out with him, but he was a few steps ahead of me, and he walked up to a tree and I just said “Please, let me just get a hold of Dr. Sharp, and whatever you do, please don’t run north, that’s a bad area,” and he just took off. We were running, I was running after him through the streets and the cameras were chasing me, but he was jumping walls and I was trying to jump with him, and he jumped into two backyards, and before i ran into the second backyard, I was like “What am I doing? I’m going to get eaten by dogs!” and I realized the best thing for me to do was go back and regroup with production and see what we can do. We needed to find him and everyone jumped into their vans — our fear was that Drewbee was going to go down the wrong block and something terrible would happen. I jumped into a van with one of the executive producers and Will got in his van and we were frantically looking for him. I mean, he just wanted drugs. Finally, I see Drewbee and I jumped out, still out of breath from running, and I said to the producer “Don’t ever underestimate me again!” I’m an addict. I knew where I would run if I was him. So I just went out there and tried to talk to him and say “If you’re gonna leave, lets just get back to the center safely so you can discharge.” By law we can’t make them stay. And so I told him, I just don’t want to see you die, and if you leave today, you’re going to die. And he came back because he trusted me.
That was a crazy hour, I was so scared for him while he was out there, it only takes a second for the wrong thing to happen.The statistics for staying sober once you leave rehab are really slim. In a group of eight patients, you’re lucky if two remain sober. The chances of them relapsing are really high. And then if you leave treatment? You’re gonna use. It’s been proven. And because Drewbee is such a hardcore user, the chances of him not using are basically zero.
Was it that his head trauma affected his reasoning and didn’t allow him to come around to the process the way everyone else did?
I think it’s partially the head trauma, but I’ll be honest, it’s just the addict in him. His disease is that strong. He wouldn’t have been there if he didn’t want it a little bit, but the only requirement for relapse is desire. And his desire was there. He’s been in treatment, I think it’s twelve times, and it hasn’t worked. He has a problem staying strong as most addicts do.
When you were chasing Drewbee through the streets, did you realize he would likely end up in a hospital and not back at rehab?
No, once I brought him back — the disease was telling him to leave rehab and find drugs or alcohol, rational thinking no longer exists — so in that mode, I was thinking maybe he was just having a moment. I wasn’t thinking anything besides “I hope he doesn’t die before I find him.” I was just determined to find him, and I couldn’t believe I found him. When we came back, at the doctor’s suggestion they sent him to the hospital and they did the right thing. But let me just say, there were about six to nine vans out looking for Drewbee on the street, we were all on a mission and were very concerned for him. My primary purpose was just to make sure he wasn’t going to die.
[Photo: Getty Images]