I had heard about the show, even read about it – but I had never seen it. So I decided that it was time to watch a season, and I chose season 3, simply because I had read that Tom Sizemore was in it (A good actor, in my opinion).
So, Celebrity Rehab Season III, it was!
I must say CR was easy to get hooked on, as an escape from your own reality but as I have finished watching the nine episodes, I’m left feeling all kinds of uncomfortable.
First, how morally acceptable is it really, to air such train wrecks for other people’s enjoyment? People in their lowest (or on a fast line to get there) parts of their lives, in desperate need of help to stay alive – and at the same time, like modern gladiators fighting in front of a cheering crowd. “Kill him!” “Stab him”!
Seeing as I am not yet over the hill (and far away) I am also a part of the Internet era where shows like Big Brother and Paradise Hotel has completely taken over. We thrive on people being miserable. Perhaps as a boost of our own egos. Life is stressful as it is and observing what we consider “real life-stories”, as they play out in front of our eyes – acts as a film, a dream, a departure from reality. A break that we so desperately need.
It’s still morally despicable though and we’re all hypocrites!
Being at the brink of giving up, though, I guess caring about the cameras and who is watching, is a small price to pay to get help. For some, shows like this or Dr Phil Show might be the only way to afford or to get proper care. The fact that they’re being labelled means little when it comes to staying healthy and being alive. And, I guess it’s a teaching tool, an education for people to watch. A scaring-tactic, if nothing else. A small glimmer of hope that there is help and a better life out there, for the people in the same situation, where every day life is drug-ridden.
I got angry, I felt compassion, I was cheering on and I was appalled. I got to see small glimpses of the therapy sessions where secrets were revealed and you could “understand” better why drugs were such an easy option. But there was not enough sessions aired, to get a complete picture. Instead, focus was on following the dynamics of the group, the drama and the melt-downs. And yes, of course that is a vital part of any kind of reality shows. This show, however, is about deep and dangerous drug addictions and I would have liked to see more of the rehab-part of it. More sessions, more treatment.
Aired was days of detoxing, puking and convulsing (scary scenes!) as the drugs exited bodies and minds that started the long journey back to the life of being sober. Feelings arouse and memories came back from drug suppression. After 21 days, continued rehab was an option for the contestants who wanted it. Twenty-one days! That’s (while probably a life time for the drug addicts) nothing at all! There is no way that the whole habit of life can change that quickly. Especially when it comes to such powerful poison. And without further treatment it takes a super strong will to succeed, not to fall back in to the old swing of things again. Dr Drew and his staff (consisting of ex-addicts themselves) treat the “willing” participants for 21 days and then -unless they want to continue- set them free to fend for themselves. Perhaps a bit exaggerated by me, but more or less the truth. And yes, they are adults, they make their own decisions. The problem is that the decisions are most likely made with an addicted mind. If not influenced at the moment, then at least influenced by the feelings and notions of an addicted mind. To have a rehab treatment for only 21 days seems pretty insincere and makes me think that it’s all for viewer ratings when it should be about someone’s life. On the other hand (yes, I am a Libra, I look at all angles) it is a good start for a continued treatment.
Dr Drew Pinsky stayed serious and showed a sincerity towards his patients. His right hand staff, however, seemed pretty unprofessional to me. Of course, I haven’t followed their work 24/7 and I sure respect their strengths in life, to kick the habits and chose to do something good with the experience. For me, though, it seemed like a bunch of kids running the rehab house, though. Not enough rules, not enough understanding or one-on-one interaction. But again, that’s what VH1 decided to broadcast and my interpretation can be way off. Only the staff themselves (and the patients) know.
What moved me so much was to hear about their life stories, to understand the pain they went through. The realization that life is very unkind and unfair and some end up with the shorter stick of it, not always with the tools to cope. Especially unsettling was the notion that 5 people from Celebrity Rehab has passed away since the first season aired – where three of them from Season 3!
Joey Kovar – A young man who lost his way. Instead of trying to deal with his up-bringing that apparently caused him so much grief, he went on a mission to become famous and joined the cast of MTV’s – the Real World (does that still exist?). In CR he said he wanted to get clean for his unborn child. He never wanted to be the kind of father to project his own problems upon his children, like his own did. He seemed to be in a better place leaving rehab and declined the continued treatment. Two years later he was found dead in an apartment, an apparent drug overdose. And now his children has no father at all. Sad.
Mike Starr – The old bassist in Alice of Chains who lost his best friend and band mate, to drugs, joined the CR-house with the hopes of getting clean and to deal with the demons and guilt inside of him. Mike showed a lot of desperation during the various stages of his detox but as the 21 days were up, he was in good spirits and even decided to continue his treatment. About a year later he was found dead by a drug overdose in his home.
And then we have the singer Mindy McCready who was the “Angel of the group” (according to Dr Drew). Always caring and empathic.She had a rough childhood which she followed up with abusive relationships. Mindy stated herself that she was addicted to being a co-dependent in her relationships. The pain of her losing custody of her son, was very apparent in the show. Mindy struggled with inner demons and her addiction seemed aimed at ending her life. She tried to commit suicide 5 times and the last time she succeeded. After her boyfriend (and father of her second child) killed himself at their home, she followed suit (a month later) and shot herself – three years after CR was aired.The two sons were not in her care. Just tragic and heart breaking.
So, would I watch more seasons? I probably would. They say that any series or film that make you think and feel a long time after – is a good one. As stated above, “good” can be debated but it certainly got me thinking and feeling. And unless you aim to be stuck in a rot, it’s healthy to develop and grow as a human being. And one way of doing that is to broaden your horizons. I guess, in a twisted and cheap kind of way, Celebrity Rehab shows another way of life. A side to reality that you don’t get to access unless you have personal experience.
I read that Drew Pinsky will no longer participate in CB (after mindy’s death). He caught too much heat when his old contestants died. I get that. Both the media’s desperation for a story and Pinsky’s feelings of being unfairly blamed. He too, is a human being with a wife and kids. He too struggles with disease, grief and loss. I read that he got cancer but that the prognosis is good. Ultimately, he chose his profession out of passion to help. Of course, a reality show made him money (and um, who says no to money?) but the bottom line is that I am sure his treatments helped someone and if only one person is helped, then it’s really worth it.
Hopefully people (celebrities or not) can continue to seek and get help in a more subtle way, after the cameras closed on the CR.
Other celebrities on the show:
Lisa D’Amato – Alcoholic model who went on to win Americas Top model – All star cycle and ended up being married and becoming a mother.
Heidi Fleiss – Hollywood Madame number 1. An addict of all kinds of drugs. Reports say that she is still using drugs and has been arrested for driving under the influence, among other things.
Kari Ann Peniche – Model with drug problem. I read that she became a mother but that her son was tested positive for meth at the age of 10 months. Say what?! :/
Mackenzie Phillips – Daughter of John Philips (the Mamas and the Papas) who was taught to do drugs by her own father. She was also molested by him and all the grief from her childhood turned her into a hard core addict. She is apparently sober and wrote a book about her ordeals, as well as being a drug- and alcohol counselor.
Dennis Rodman – Alcoholic basketball player. Living life as a party. From what I can gather, Rodman entered himself into rehab again in 2014 because of his alcoholism. This year he is doing some tour where he will spill on the details of his wild life. Alcohol-free?
And then, Tom Sizemore – Who struggled with being an actor and being an addict for most of his life: Media says that he is still doing drugs and even leaking videos of such behavior. Still, Sizemore’s career is back. He has been filming non-stop for a few years now. I guess all publicity is good publicity?