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.