Each week on 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 about meeting the brand new group.
Episode one —
Let me tell you, I was bawling for probably sixty percent of the whole, entire show.
Because you were affected as a viewer, or because you got to know the patients so well?
Both. Because I know these people and we have such an intense relationship and we all bonded — all of us, including Bob, Shelly, Dr. Sharp, everyone — you know, they’re human beings, and when you see what they’ve gone through, you’re like, oh my gosh, this poor kid. Like, start with Eric, I love Eric, and when they went to film him and then here he is he’s getting out of jail, you can’t direct that, you can’t script that. It was just, oh my gosh, I can’t believe this. And then when he gets out and he needs that fix, God. I’ve been there. I never shot up, but I had moments where I was like “Mom! Not now!” and she knew exactly what I was doing. It was so heartbreaking. You really do see that he’s a level-ten addict.
Had you seen any of the footage of the patients before they entered treatment, like his arrest or the hard partying in all the other clips?
I saw some clips, but nothing like what’s on the show. I was really glad that they’re not holding back with the intensity though, this is what goes on in real life.
Was there anyone whose story affected you really personally?
I think Eric affected me on that level of the whole thing with his mom and asking her to get away, he just needs that one more fix to make it trough the night, I understand that. That affected me. I gotta tell you, the footage of Ashleigh, too, made me hysterically cry.
That alone feeling, that hopelessness and sadness, she is at the bottom of the barrel there and I’ve been there too. That one broke me. We can all be in a room with a million people and feel so alone, and that’s what the disease does and in recovery, you get to change that. It was like watching moments from my past. The footage was so raw. And when she came in, I saw this girl who could not stop shaking, and then I saw her progress. She really, really affected me. Michael‘s relationship with his family was also heartbreaking, how he feels so guilty with his parents and his sister and what he’s done, I think guilt, shame and remorse is what we’re always feeling, but he’s a sweetheart and his family is amazing, but sometimes too much love can hurt somebody too. We can enable people into a grave. Thank God for Michael, that’s not his story.
What about Deanna?
I”m close with her now, but the things that her mom said, I can understand maybe she was trying to give her tough love, but when you tell someone “That’s what you deserve,” about getting raped, I don’t agree with that. I don’t agree that anyone deserves abuse.
Dr. Drew said on the show that this is the sickest group you guys have ever worked with, what’s your take on that, how do they compare to past groups?
I’d say it’s 100% true, this is by far the sickest group, from the detoxes to the level of addiction. I mean, just look at Ashleigh, she’s so young, 30 or 31, and her liver is failing. She is so sick. A nineteen year old like Michael shooting forty bags a day of heroin, I mean, that’s pretty sick. You see me at the end of this episode holding Deanna’s hair back and the reason I don’t have my jacket on is because there’s vomit on it, and there was vomit in my hair, I mean, there was a lot of heavy withdrawal and you guys only saw one shot of it.
Since you’ve been through withdrawal, how do you feel seeing people go through it?
I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. And I feel that we’re the light and we’re there for them to see that there is hope, and that’s where, professionally, I can get a little bit detached and I just tell them they’re gonna get through this and I know what it’s like. I knew they were going to be able to get through it if they just believed.