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Sober House 2 with Dr. Drew: Exclusive Interview with Jennifer Gimenez

Posted on 04/06/2010 by Jackie in Sober House

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Jennifer Gimenez from Sober House 2 with Dr. Drew

Jennifer Gimenez and Dr. Drew


By Jackie Helm


Jennifer Gimenez spoke exclusively with RealityWanted.com about being House Manager on Vh1’s Sober House 2.  Jenn's experience as an actress, model and former addict allow her to directly relate to the Sober House residents.  Jenn is a sweet but strong leader in the recovery process for her peers and despite the headache and the pain, she’d do it all over again.


Q. Jackie, RealityWanted:  You have quite the trying task as House Manager at the Sober House.  Can you start by clarifying your role?

A.  Jenn:  In Sober Living, people who are recovering addicts and alcoholics will come in and run a house.  The people who run those houses get free rent to stay at the sober living house.  My experience was that Dr. Drew and the producers brought me in because of my recovery; not because I work in recovery.  There is a difference.  I relate to them on a different level.  I am not part of the treatment facility team.  On Celebrity Rehab, Dr. Drew has a team.  On Sober House, I run the house.  I enforce the rules and I give them the tools to live during their transition into the real world.  Am I the boss?  Yes.  I have the ability to kick people out if I needed to.  However, for the show, I talk with Dr. Drew about to do.


Q.  Jackie, RealityWanted:  Your position definitely has its share of drama and stress.  Let’s take, Dennis Rodman for example.  Isn’t it irritating to experience constant rebellion and attitude from adults?

A.  Jenn:  I think it was like that with every one of the resident’s in the house.  With Dennis Rodman, I knew coming in that he is a game player.  He is a 5 time NBA championship winning game player.  He’s been trained to play his whole life.  He came in with a game attitude.  He wants to see how far he can push the buttons.  I am also dealing with someone who is an alcoholic.  Dennis Rodman was game strategy plus the alcoholic in him.  I pretty much had to gain my respect with him and everyone in the house.  We are talking about hard core drug addicts and alcoholics. 


Q.  Jackie, RealityWanted:  I understand that but after three weeks of rehab and now almost two weeks of the Sober House, is his behavior game play or the real affects of alcoholism?

A.  Jenn:  I think it’s both, actually.  After the night that Dennis went out and came home late, he didn’t want to write and didn’t want to give me his phone.  Finally, he gave me his phone and he wrote.  He gave me respect and I didn’t have problems with Dennis after that.  The respect part came from his best ability at that time. But then the alcoholism would kick in and it’s a disease.  The disease is really strong in that house with everyone.  I think the disease had a bigger part of them than they had over the disease.


Q.  Jackie, RealityWanted:  The friction between Tom Sizemore and Heidi Fleiss is unfortunate and rather unnecessary.  Who do you say is to blame?
A.  Jenn:  I wasn’t there when everything took place when they were dating.  But I definitely think there is a lot of unnecessary arguments and explosions with the two of them.  Obviously they are both hurt.  I don’t know who was right or wrong and I can’t have judgment on that.  I was just there to enforce that they couldn’t fight and that they shouldn’t fight and that they should keep themselves separated.  I felt like I was a referee a lot of times.


Q.  Jackie, RealityWanted:  Even Dr. Drew tends to sugar coat what he says to Heidi, why doesn’t anyone seem to want to tell it to her straight?  When Heidi brought Tom sushi, she was obviously trying to grind his gears.

A.  Jenn:  I was told to keep the house calm because there was a lot going on at that exact same time.  When she came down, I was caught off guard.  And she did go and antagonize him a little bit and he exploded.  I would say “knock it off” to both of them.  What they did in group was between them, the group and Dr. Drew.  There is a lot that viewers don’t see due to only having 47 minutes of show time.


Q.  Jackie, RealityWanted:  When Heidi tested positive for amphetamines, opiates and benzos, can you tell us in street terms what she was high on?

A.  Jenn:  She was high on meth.  I don’t know exactly what pills she had taken.  Opiates are usually Oxycontin, Vicodin, heroin…but I am not saying that she was on heroin because I don’t think she was.  Benzo’s are pills like Ambiens and Adavan.


Q.  Jackie, RealityWanted:  When Tom was freaking out over his phone, he mentioned wanting his phone to call his girlfriend.  Was he referring to Monroe who entered rehab at the Pasadena Recovery Center with him?  We all want to know if she succeeded in sobriety as well.

A.  Jenn:  Yes, that was Monroe.  I was in awe.  I wondered if I should duck because he was going to try to throw a vase at me.  Ten minutes before that he had just finished reading about how his recovery came first.  Tom has a very explosive side to him.  The Tom that I know (from being in treatment with him years ago) is really sweet guy inside.  But as Bob Forrest said, the disease has a big power over Tom.  It’s not just the drugs, it the disease.  That is what a lot of us suffer from.  Once the drugs and alcohol are taken away from us, we are stuck with “us”.  There are a lot of issues in us.  There is a lot of work that Tom needs to do to get better.  I know that Monroe visited Tom at the Sober House, but I don’t know if she is still sober.


Q.  Jackie, RealityWanted:  Everyone says that Mike Starr is a sweet guy too.  He also seems to struggle from a similar split personality.

A.  Jenn:  Mike Starr was my biggest problem at the Sober House.  Mike was nice of seven minutes out of the day.  The rest of the day it was non-stop, “I hate you Jenn, I am going to kill you Jenn”.  Then two seconds later he would say, “I am sorry Jenn”.  I think there is more going on there that I wasn’t warned or told about.  I think Mike had a lot of psychological stuff going on.  Mike was a very tiring person to have around.  I would have to beg and plead and then get angry with Mike and finally that would work.  I was constantly trying to smooth things over with Mike.


Q.  Jackie, RealityWanted:  That must have been hard to deal with. 

A.  Jenn:  It was a very grueling and exhausting process.  I felt like I didn’t have the time for Mike.  I think it would help if Mike had somebody one on one with him all the time.  There were times that he was very sweet.  But I am also the authority figure and people don’t like that, especially alcoholics and addicts. They don’t like being told what to do and say.  But because they are in a sober living house, I am trying to give them tools to transition into the real world.  If they go back in the world they way they are now, they are pretty much doomed.  I had to change my way of being when I was in recovery.  They say you need to change one thing and that is everything. 


Q.  Jackie, RealityWanted:  Do you think there is hope for Mike?

A.  Jenn:  I do, I believe in miracles.  I think there is hope for everyone.  Mike has a lot of work a head of him.  Some of us have to do that work.  I will go to any lengths to stay sober.  I wasn’t so responsive to that in the beginning.  But today my life is completely different because I followed directions. 


Q.  Jackie, RealityWanted:  With so much focus on residents like Mike, Tom and Heidi - how are the less dramatic resident's doing in their recovery such as Seth, Jenni and Kendra?

A.  Jenn:  I’ve talked with Seth, Jenni and Kendra and they are doing great.  Jenni has been sober for about a year.  She literally is the reward for what I do.  A lot of times on the show, I ask myself, “Why am I doing this”?  But then you see someone like Jenni, who is really active in her recovery and has done a 180 and she’s a miracle.  Kendra is doing a really great job, she’s a sweet girl.  I am really happy to see that she is doing well.  Seth is great.  I’ve known Seth for 10 years and I know his wife, kids and family.  We have a lot of history and it was hard to have him come back to the show.  He knew how to get to me.  He will do his little “Seth-ism’s”.  This time I was like, “I am not going to play your games because I don’t want to go to your funeral”.  This time I had to be a lot stronger.

You will see on the next show that Seth looses it on me.  I was asking him to take the trash out.  The only thing they have to do in the Sober House is to not break curfew, clean your room and do the chores we ask.  We don’t ask them to paint the house and clean the windows.  But we get lazy when we get out there and most people don’t want to leave the house when they are using or drinking.  I felt like I was playing mom most of the time.  But Seth is doing in great.  I am really proud to say that those three are doing really good.


Q.  Jackie, RealityWanted:  After Kari Ann Peniche’s final departure, do you know if she sought help elsewhere?

A.  Jenn:  I do not know and I do hope that she gets help somewhere.


Q.  Jackie, RealityWanted:  Well I give you a lot of props for what you do for the people in Sober House.  Do you ever feel like you are getting more than you bargained for?  Would you even consider taking on a Sober House 3?

A.  Jenn:  After the first Sober House, I thought, “Hell no, I’m done, it’s over forever”.  When I was done and was able to decompress from the process, I thought, “I could do that again”.  So when Sober House 2 came along, I was like “Sure”!  It’s worth it because of the rewards that come from it.  When people say that their life was saved because of this process, or when a mother compare themselves to what I was going through, when people say that the show gave them hope…yes I would do it again.  It sounds crazy, but yes I would do it again.  It’s funny because, I do not work in recovery and I don’t have the doctors’ certificate, but that is not what this is about.  When it comes to alcoholics and drug addicts, I am just one alcoholic talking another.  That is what the Sober House is.  That is what I’ve been taught in this whole thing.  You give what you've got freely back to someone else.  That is why I do this!



Catch Sober House on Vh1 Thursdays at 9pm CST
(Photos courtesy of VH1.com)


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