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Celebrity Rehab Reunion

NOW UPDATED WITH POST-SHOW MATERIAL!

If you are anything like me, you can hardly wait until Thursday night's reunion show of Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.

See, I'm an addiction addict. I can't get enough. They can't make more episodes of Intervention fast enough. I'm also a Dr. Phil convert, in part because of his expertise in addiction.

Here's an idea: The Addiction Network.

Anyway, we're all dying to catch up with our favorite C-list addicts, even though some of us already know that, for example, former American Idol star Jessica Sierra relapsed to the max.

Here are my predictions.

1. Brigitte Nielsen. She is, as fellow cast member Ricco Rodriguez said in the finale, the 2-1 favorite. I think she'll make it. I don't think she ever wants to drink again. The only catch is that she rejected the after-care sober living arrangement that each and every one of them needs, opting for her own specialized Plan B. But judging by the latest blog entry by Dr. Drew, she's gonna make it after all.

UPDATE: Brigitte Nielsen is a rock. She's emerged from this show with an entirely different reputation than she gained from her awful Flava-Flav shenanigans. She's been tempted, but she hasn't relapsed, and even if she does - because even the best of recovering drunks and addicts do - she's going to not only make it but inspire and motivate the others to make it as well.

2. Ricco Rodriguez. I kind of hate this guy, and I'm guessing he'll relapse. He still has an anger management problem. But he's come a long way. He was almost convincing in his commitment to sobriety in the season finale.

UPDATE: I have to admit that Ricco Rodriguez is proving me - and others - wrong. Partially because he's so hell-bent on proving everyone wrong. But so be it. He fulfilled his promise to "hit 90 meetings in 90 days," which is pretty amazing. I couldn't do it, and I'm not an alcoholic. Another corny success story.

3. Seth "Shifty" Binzer. I've hated this guy from the start, and that's what made it so hard when I learned that he wrote and performed "Starry Eyed Surprise." I love that song. (I guess he's in Paul Oakenfold's posse.) And by season's end, he seemed to finally understand the depth of his disease and what he has to do to conquer it. He became an effective counselor of others. He might make it after all.

UPDATE: I don't think it's a surprise that Shifty relapsed. I did find myself sympathetic for the first time. He's really trying, but as Shelly pointed out, you can't hang out in the environments that Shifty hangs out in and expect to stay sober. Particularly just four months in. As Dr. Drew has pointed out, Shifty is one of the real hardcore cases. Shifty himself knows he's sick. It's going to take him a while. But one bad slip and he could end up dead.

4. Joanie "Chynna" Laurer. Just kind of clueless for most of the show, she's a total wildcard. But she seems to have had an epiphany by season's end.

UPDATE: Still a total mystery. She still doesn't seem to know what the hell she was doing in rehab. She seems lost. But Brigitte pledged to her that she is "her Viking friend." Brigitte is Joanie's best chance.

5. Jaimee Foxworth. Still tenuous and vulnerable. Still partially in denial, and fully into addict excuse-making. She hasn't totally bought in. Dr. Drew says in his last blog entry that he knew she would use again within a couple days of leaving treatment. But she did, surprisingly, agree to go to sober living. I found it interesting that Dr. Drew wrote "She's a really substantial person." I believe it.

UPDATE: No surprise, Jaimee learned that she really should have gone to sober living. No shit! She's also still smoking (she's a pothead). Now she has it under control, though. Right. That's addict talk. Brigitte has it right realizing that she can't have even one drink. Moderation management is just another word for denial.

6. Jessica Sierra. Well, we know she relapsed badly. You could see at season's end how vulnerable she still was. There was little question about her using again; she still has a long way to go.

UPDATE: "Jessica Sierra did not attend because a judge rules that she is not allowed to be within 100 feet of a camera or a microphone," the official Rehab blog says. "Dr. Drew isn't pleased about that.

"'Jessica is amazing. It was a major loss that she couldn't be at the reunion,' he told me later. 'She was a beacon in that group. She's obviously a firecracker, but for me she was a go-to person in the group. That's why I was so pissed off that the judge was so rough on her. He treated her like a bad patient. She isn't a bad patient, she's just a sick person.'"

Jessica is probably the most sympathetic member of the group. She has a long way to go, and a lot of trauma to overcome. Reading the blog comments about and from the women in the group, you see the common threads of how much being valued for their appearance and sex appeal plays with them. It's not just the celebrities who are sick; it's the celebrity and media culture.

"Mary, who bonded with Jessica the most closely (the two of them and Jamie dubbed themselves the 'Mary J's') explained just how big of a firecracker Jessica can be," the VH-1 blogger writes. "'I had a bad experience with sober living because Jessica and I got into a fight, we were roommates there. She attacked me, she tried to choke me. I packed up my stuff and left, a week into it.'"

"They've since reconciled and Mary visits her in rehab. Mary told me stuff about Jessica's current frame of mind that I'm sure would sadden Dr. Drew if he's not already aware: 'She's really excited that her porno's up to No. 1. She needed money really bad, so she told the guy that she'd do it.'"

7. Mary Carey. Along with Jessica, the most vulnerable and a sure bet to relapse. I don't know if she believes yet that she will lead a happier life sober than the life of an addict she is living now. Plus, this is just sad.

UPDATE: Like Jaimee, Mary is not quite there. She's given up hard liquor, she says, but still drinks wine. And she still has a lot of personal work to do. Hey, this stuff takes time, so we shouldn't expect miracles. But . . . this is disturbing.

"I'm happy with the experience I had in the porn industry. It's definitely unique," she says on the show's blog. "It's a weird industry . .. I could never win (the AVN Award for) Performer of the Year, which is the girl who does the most dirty movies of the year. I never did anal, I never swallowed, I never did two guys at once. People in porn think I'm lame because I don't do that stuff, but I feel better about myself not having done it. I save anal for personal life!"

And she has huge new breasts. Like I said, though, it's not just the patients who are sick.

P.S. I missed the end where apparently Mary had some big secret to reveal. Anyone?

8. Jeff Conaway. Apparently Scientology is helping him stay sober. But you know, I think he'll go back to pain-killers and/or kill himself at some point.

I'm not joking blithely, folks. It's incredibly and horribly sad. His is a portrait of someone who has not been able to face up to and overcome awful childhood trauma, and who among us can say with any confidence that we could do better?

He was not a sympathetic character on this show, in my book, but then, he and the others aren't really characters, they are real people, and we saw one in just about as bad a place as we can imagine.

UPDATE: We learned that counselor Bob Forrest was once 12-stepped by . . . Jeff Conaway! During a period of sobriety, Jeff counseled others! But here's what he says on the blog:

"I was there to do a job and whatever rehab came out of it was a perk. It was an add-on. I'm an actor. Hire me and I do my thing. As an actor, there's a myriad of choices you make, so I would choose the one that would be the best for the show and do that. So, in a way it was acting, but it was real."

And it turns out, his fellow rehabbers suspected as much.

P.S. Brigitte said Vicki, Conaway's evil girlfriend, needs rehab herself. Which we all know, but it was great that she said it so directly.

9. Daniel Baldwin. This guy seems like a total jerk who too readily uses his considerable intellectual and emotional talents to fool and rationalize those around him and himself. I do not say that with joy.

UPDATE: A no-show. Several rehabbers said they felt like Baldwin let them down. Dr. Drew seemed more sympathetic. I think he's in great danger.

10. Shelly Sprague. I have to admit, I have a little crush on Dr. Drew's assistant. The celebrity addicts didn't seem to like her much; I guess she was bad cop to Dr. Drew's good cop. I thought she kicked ass. All business. And yes, great glasses. And a horrible past. A former addict herself, she was as low and lower in her previous life than any of the celebrities on the show. Maybe someday the inmates will show the proper respect and gratitude to their warden that she deserves.

UPDATE: Jaimee apologized for her behavior towards Shelly and Ricco gave her major props. I'm in love with Shelly, though I worry that she's too thin.

ADDENDUM:

* Dr. Drew appeared on Larry King Live - and probably elsewhere - to talk about the woman identified as Eliot Spitzer's prostitute. Guess what common thread runs through her childhood?

* "Mitch Winehouse: I Ruined Amy's Childhood."

-

Celebrity Rehab's reunion show premieres on VH1 on Thursday at 9 p.m. CST. Though Jessica Sierra appeared on The Tyra Banks Show recently, she and Daniel Baldwin reportedly did not attend the reunion show.



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Posted on March 12, 2008


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