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 happened in front of and behind the camera with this season’s group of patients. This week we spoke to Dr. John Sharp, who appeared last season on Celebrity Rehab and was this season’s Associate Medical Director, Psychiatrist on Call, and Director of Aftercare for the program. Dr. Sharp worked closely with the patients to make sure they remained stable and successful throughout the recovery process.
I’d love to find out how the group reacted when you told them all about Drewbee’s hospitalization.
When we needed to take the time to evaluate Drewbee and ultimately send him on to the hospital, we wanted to respect the other patients and protect them, and we sent them to an AA meeting earlier than we planned, so we sent them off and by the time Drewbee was gone, they were about to return. So I stayed to greet them, and when they came back on the unit, it was later than they were used to me being there, and right away a number of them connected what had happened. They figured it out even before I had said anything.
So they weren’t totally in the dark about his history, and they kind of knew what trauma he had had?
Yes, they knew about his history and his head trauma, they knew about his shutting down when he was overwhelmed, they saw him with these symptoms off and on throughout, especially at family weekend, and he was very often on his own or refusing to participate or threatening to leave, so nobody was surprised when he actually did that. And nobody was surprised at our efforts to prevent him from actually doing so in an incompetent way that could have led him to harm. They got all that intuitively and they put it all together. So when we talked about it, I had a very easy time explaining all the details. And the general feeling in the room was relief, it wasn’t fear, it was relief that he was where he needs to be so that they could get on with their own recovery without an added element of drama and friction. He resisted the process so much that it made it difficult for everybody else, so now they were able to get on with their own recovery.
What can you tell me about the graduation ceremony?
It was lovely. What also happened that you didn’t see was there was an interlude where one of the staff stood up and shared our thoughts about the group’s gains and hard work and the road ahead and it was very touching. The graduation ceremony was very complete because the patients were able to stand up and make their remarks and one member of the staff, on behalf of all the rest of the staff would stand up and make pertinent comments about the patients and Dr. Drew was able to deliver his message as well, it was lovely and a very meaningful part of their treatment. Normally people leave treatment on an individual basis and a lot more unpredictably, if their insurance runs out or they can’t take it anymore or they go out on a pass with their family and they don’t return, so it’s a ot more difficult, typically, to wrap up so nicely with a big bow, as we were able to do here.
One of the things that was pointed out on this episode was how patients at the end of rehab try to create rifts between themselves to make the separation a little easier, and we saw that with Deanna and Jasmen. What was the overall feeling between all the patients by the end, was it mostly tense like those two, or was it more supportive?
People do tend to find reasons to be upset to make it easier to leave and they can launch off with that as opposed to feeling sad, that’s definitely a likely possibility with Jasmen ad Deanna, but what we were seeing even more between the two of them seemed more real, they found some differences and were slightly upset with each other over them and we were able to work with and resolve those feelings.
Is there anything that you can say about the group after having kept in touch with the patients after the filming ended? How are they all doing now?
Well, so we knew from before we started that we would be providing after care and Dr. Drew asked me to be in charge of that — would they be all together or separate, and how that would evolve over time remained to be worked out — so even at the last minute we were just trying to get the best current sense of what was possible. Everyone did great job of getting settled into sober living, as early as the night after graduation, they were sleeping in a new place. The very next morning when Bob and Shelly and Drew and I got together to have a group meeting it really felt like everyone was adjusted and committed to making their life in recovery work. So there was good energy and good intentions and this just continued over time.
We made numerous changes to send one or two cast members, to one or two different places and try to find the right fit with what part of town, and the house manager and the kind of activities that were easily available in the neighborhood and the match between the environment and teach cast members individual needs. Fate if you will, continued to improve as we were able to help them fine tune their working environment. It really did work out well. We still are encouraging everyone to become fully self-sufficient and fully stabilized and I just think that that’s going to take more time, but they have been with us for all this time since we finished the TV part of the show, and the hard work really continues. It takes time to recover and it takes time to be able to grow up as adults who are clean and sober and they’re doing that work on a daily basis, it’s really very impressive.