My latest television obsession is Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. It’s like watching Surreal Life and Intervention at the same time. The celebrities are mostly washed-up as far as stardom goes but most seem to really want to make a change in their life. The exception being Jeff Conaway whose slurred mumblings, seizures, DTs and vomiting spells STILL don’t create the fire under his seat to want to change. Also, the Baldwin brother drives me batty with all his creepy ‘I’m the therapist, too’ talk and guilt trips he tries to put on other people. It’s obvious he’s been to a lot of therapy and he knows how to talk the talk but he just doesn’t do it well. He doesn’t really know how to help people, he just knows how to make them feel guilty.

I watch Celebrity Rehab with the same fervor that I watch Intervention or any documentary on eating disorders – I’m reminding myself where I don’t want to be. I’m living proof that you can overcome addictions of many kinds and there is something about watching other people go through the experience that is so compelling to me. I think it’s the same kind of reaffirmation you get from going to AA meetings. It’s good to see people working to overcome and working through their shit.

Dr. Drew’s (who you may know from Loveline) approach reminds me of many of the good doctors and therapists that I’ve been lucky enough to know over the years. He’s straight to the point, no holds barred but all with an air of confidence that you can do it! He centers the patients within a few moments of talking with them and you can immediately see where the reality TV wears off and the real therapy begins.

So much of life (for many people) is avoiding real feelings and situations. And once you start avoiding with drugs or something else, the something else starts to take over and I don’t think you know when it stops being something you do ‘for fun’ and it begins to be something you can’t stop doing. But, one day, you wake up and can’t remember the last weekend or weeknight for that matter that you didn’t get high or get smashed or go home with a random stranger or a friend with benefits and you’re broke and broken and you start to feel in your gut that maybe, just maybe, your life is not really in your control anymore. And then you score some Meth or Coke and forget all about it for a few more hours.

Watching these sex, drug and alcohol addicts coming to a place where they can see how to make changes is absolutely fascinating to me. As is watching them backslide and then try again. I remember it all.

I have nights where I can’t sleep because I’m remembering some of those times where I was willing to do just about anything to score some drugs and I didn’t care who I hurt or what it cost me. I cringe and say some forgiveness affirmations to myself and I try to shut out the visual images in my brain and fall asleep. But usually, it takes a long time to move on from those thoughts to something else. My addiction times have really scarred me and I have no fail-safe way to really and actually forgive myself for all the damage I did. I know it’s not healthy to dwell on it and I know it’s not helping me. But I can’t figure out how to let it go.

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13 Comments

  1. I’ve been really surprised by this show. Watching Jeff Conaway (I had a huge crush on him as Kenickie) convulse and vomit his way through rehab is heartbreaking. His girlfriend is the closest thing to a textbook example of an enabler as I’ve ever seen.

  2. I swear I watch most of the show with my fingers over my face, a la a horror movie. And Conaway? Riveting and horrifying. It’s really too raw.

  3. I’m so sad to hear that about Jeff Conaway.

    Maybe watching those shows is partly about forgiving yourself. Maybe it’s too hard to forgive yourself so you watch these people and forgive them similar transgressions instead. If that’s true, I’d say you ARE forgiving yourself by proxy and that’s a good thing.

  4. i just watched that last night for the first time. i agree the baldwin brother was over the top annoying to me. as for jeff conaway, i think he’s a goner.

    being in recovery myself, it is both interesting and sad to witness.

  5. omg. I thought I was the only sane, intelligent person drawn to this show.
    and I can’t stand to look at Jeff Conaway. It makes me sad. He was such a hottie in his day and he looks so much older than he is.

  6. if you figure out the answer to the letting go thing, will you tell me? I have the same problem. I’ve tried to let go of my mistakes but they keep coming back.

  7. a friend of mine once told me, “that’s what you did; not who you are.”

    It helped. As someone who has only experienced you as a recovering person, I can tell you that who you are today is lovely, and all that matters.

    xo

  8. I’m obsessed with Celebrity Rehab. I just can’t get the images of Kenicke out of my head. Gosh, he can’t even get out of a wheelchair.

    And the porn girl…it makes me sad. So hard to get out of that world (porn, that is.) Not that I know this personally.

    And I’m in love with Dr. Drew. In love. He’s so kind and such a looker.

    The show scares me to death. And that’s why I love it.

  9. I can’t figure out how to forgive myself either. I’m sorry we’re alike in that way! I don’t have advice on this matter because I suck so badly at it, too. But, for what it’s worth, nobody is perfect. To err is human, to forgive is divine. Let go and let God. Um…shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

    I find it does help to think about all of the mistakes that great men and women have made. You’re only human, and it comes with the territory. Think of yourself as a warrior, be proud that you have failed, but continue to try. It takes more strenght and personal grit to get up once you’ve fallen than to have always been held up by everyone else.

    If you can’t allow yourself to feel okay with the choices you’ve made, then at least you should be able to see that you are extremely courageous. And that is more than most people can say of themselves.

  10. It’s inspiring and encouraging to see a person go through, learn from, overcome and rise above any controlling addiction: eating disorders, drugs, alcohol, relationships, destructive attitudes, narcissism, depression, negativity or spiritual indifference. In the eyes of God, all people are VIPs who are worthy of celebration! May we all progress beyond whatever would hold us back from our happiness.

  11. You know that saying – the one where you do the best you can, and when you know better, you do better? You did the best you could with what you had. And then you developed/were given/fought for new tools with which you could do better, and so you do.

    And, at some point, maybe you can look at the way you were and imagine all you know about that time and place and your heart then. Imagine it all was someone else, with all that you know.

    And if you can forgive that other woman, hopefully you can forgive yourself.

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