'Celebrity Rehab' season premiere: 'Someone calls me a whore, it's a compliment'

So the self-glorifying misery starts again. The new season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew premiered last night with a fresh batch of moldy stars nursing addictions and grudges.

A sullen Dennis Rodman was in denial, saying, “I’m way beyond this. I don’t need [treatment]. I’m here because of court, simple as that.”

Mackenzie Phillips said, “I sort of pioneered that ‘teen star gone wrong on drugs’ thing.” She and former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr, another newbie to the show, had no idea who another patient, country-music star Mindy McCready, was. McCready arrived with lots of painkillers in her bag, confiscated by the show’s long-suffering Shelly.

“I’m Heidi Fleiss and I was the greatest madam that ever lived,” said Fleiss. “Every woman’s a hooker to me. Someone calls me a whore, it’s a compliment.” Well, it shouldn’t be difficult to come up with group therapy topics for her. Fleiss asked Shelly whether this was “real rehab, not pretend-rehab.” Shelly assured it was real.

But is it? That’s always the question with this show. Lionized recently by The New York Times, Dr. Drew Pinksy hosts with his usual serene calm, and isn’t afraid to reveal his own ego. He began the premiere with a voiceover that said these recovery attempts have “changed me forever.” Not necessarily the patients: him.

This whole first episode was a bit of a tease, because the arguably most volatile personality, Tom Sizemore doesn’t arrive until the next edition. It’s all set up to lure more viewers into watching the interaction between Sizemore and former lover Fleiss, who has accused the star of Heat of beating her, among other things.

Is putting these two in the same rehab program going to help either of them? Or is this the most blatant evidence of what a cynical show Celebrity Rehab is?



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  • Adam

    I don’t think it’s an either/or situation. Yes, the show is crass exploitation. Yes, the show offers solid information and education on addiction and addiction treatments, and yes the show does help at least some of the people who go on it. Dr Drew may well be an egomaniac [isn’t that a requirement for being on television?], but he also clearly knows his field very well and he speaks accurately and expertly. He’s the host of an exploitative TV show – *and* he’s also, judging from the evidence at hand, and excellent therapist.

    • Scott

      It’s always refeshing to see people post on the internet who are able to see shades of grey and resist “all or nothing” interpretatios. Thank you.

      • Nancy

        Ditto. Well said!

      • amj

        Agreed!

      • MultiPass

        Agree. It’s a TV show, supported by commercials and made to get ratings and edited for drama. It’s inherently exploitative. This is VH1, not PBS, kids. So basically, Ken, This is a stupid question that YOU are writing in order to get a chat log going. Basically, you merely feeding the controversy, not providing a platform for discourse.

        That said, Dr. Drew is recognized as a talented therapist and intuit and the celebs are such a grave mess that they provide a sobering glimpse into the reality of drug addiction.

        I am riveted, horrified AND educated by the spectacle. As I am sure you are as well.

      • christianslovematch

        Grate show, so funny

      • Nihilistic

        Do you even know what you’re talking about, Adam? Dr. Drew does NOT speak expertly by any means. He’s a walking, talking encyclopedia full of misinformation and one day he’s going to get someone killed. For instance, on the premiere episode he was lambasting Heidi Fleiss for using Suboxone as a “maintenance drug” to help her with her Vicodin withdrawals. He wrongly told her that Suboxone is strictly a “taper” drug and that you should only be on it 3 days and that’s it. Any aspiring drug counselor attending his first night class at the local county college could tell you all the ways his suboxone diatribe was erroneous. Suboxone is indeed very well known in the recovery community for being an excellent substitute to methadone as a “maintenance” medication and the fact that this “doctor” comes on TV and just gets it flat-out wrong is appalling. Especially when the facts have to contend with no-nothing airheads like you, Adam, who blindly put Dr. Drew on a pedestal for his “accurate” and “expert” opinion. And this was merely ONE example of the dangerous misinformation this man disseminates among millions of TV viewers who don’t know any better (case in point: Adam and the crew of sycophantic Yes Man that replied to him).

      • lae

        oh yeah. i know what suboxone is. i just heard about it because the guy from swollen members was on drugs, and after lying and going through all the stuff you see on celeb rehab and on the gossip pages, kinda like what seth did, he went on suboxone and he said it saved his life. something about how he can function regulalry and how before he couldn’t. he didn’t want to do the meth because he didn’t want to be addicted to another drug. anyways he was mentioning that not a lot of people know about suboxone and what it does and it’s positive affects, and he said you don’t get addicted to it at all, but he also mentioned how he takes it all the time a lot. the way he was talking, even though it sounded like it was a great thing and life changing thing for him it sounds like a crutch. kinda like how i’m an anorexic and i use food as my smoke screen and crutch to get by. it’s completely understandable.

      • SHAKESOME

        @Nihilistic – I’m sure Dr Drew knows that there is such as a thing as “suboxone maintenance”. He was probably expressing his view as a clinician that it wasn’t something he would do because it’s a bad idea. I have no opinion on whether he’s a good clinician (he does some things that shou;dn’t be done) but on this issue he’s right; it doesn’t work. Sure, in the short term itlooks like a success. But eventually people have to get off it and then they are back to square one- addicted to a drug, in withdrawal, and without the supports in a self-help program. Been there, done that, seen a few people die because of suboxone. Drew is right on this one and if you’re trying to get clean and someone offers you suboxnone, walk away.

    • Jay

      As much as one can deduce from a TV reality show,Dr Drew strikes me as a heart felt servant with a clearly defined mission. A true servant hurts, feels, and sacrifices for his patients, something rare in our society. Dr Drew is likely to be there long after the camera crews are gone. Furthermore, it would be poor judgment as viewers if we measure his ultimate success by the number of reformed addicts in his program. The odds are stacked against him. If my hunch is correct, Dr Drew will probably go to his grave regretting the ones that never reformed, rather than the ones he helped beat their addiction. True Servants never find contentment!
      Keep fighting to good fight Dr Drew!

      • Jay

        As much as one can deduce from a TV reality show,Dr Drew strikes me as a heart felt servant with a clearly defined mission. A true servant hurts, feels, and sacrifices for his patients, something rare in our society. Dr Drew is likely to be there long after the camera crews are gone. Furthermore, it would be poor judgment as viewers if we measure his ultimate success by the number of reformed addicts in his program. The odds are stacked against him. If my hunch is correct, Dr Drew will probably go to his grave regretting the ones that never reformed, rather than the ones he helped beat their addiction. True Servants never find contentment!
        Keep fighting the good fight Dr Drew!

    • poshgirl

      Why are people still using the “N” word? Why has the comment above not been reported? You clearly need counseling and I hope you can not reproduce.

    • onebullet

      I think this guy burkett needs his ass smashed with a real mans putter and his ass kicked in also his genitals with steel toes on.The send him to hell were he belongs.And he is probably a uneducated person with no life or friends and had bad parenting if any.

    • Stacy Adams

      WOW!PEOPLE STILL SAYING THE “N” WORD HUH??HOW MATURE MUST ONE BE AND WHOEVER WROTE THAT CRAP SOUNDS LIKE THEIR JUST PLAIN IGNORANT TO ME.I REPORTED THE COMMENT.DR. DREW IS WRONG ABOUT THE SUBOXONE ISSUE.AS A RECOVERING ADDICT MYSELF IVE SEEN THE POSITIVE OUTCOMES OF PEOPLE ON SUBOXONE AND IT REALLY IS A WONDERFUL DRUG.METHADONE IS WHAT IM ON AND I REGRET THAT SO MUCH THAT I WASNT AWARE OF SUBOXONE BEFORE I WAS PUT ON THE METHADONE.I THINK DR. DREW IS A VERY CARING PERSON.YES HES A CELEBRITY THAT DOSENT MAKE HIM A BAD DOCTOR.OPINIONS ARE LIKE ASSHOLES WE ALL HAVE ONE THOUGH.AS FOR THE LITTLE BRAT GIRL ON THERE I CAN DO W/O SEEING HER ON TV FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.SHES A VERY MINIPULATIVE LITTLE GIRL AND RUDE I DEFINATELY DONT LIKE HER AT ALL.

    • cyn

      To Burkett. Real classy post there

    • Missy

      Sorry, you are going to have to face the music. You need to get a part time job, no matter how litlte time you have and start paying something towards your debt. Otherwise it’s telling your parents that your an moron and ask for help. Using the student loan to pay your debt is illegal. Step up and be an adult. It won’t be easy but it will teach you a valuable lesson and that is what life’s about.

  • Gina

    I miss LoveLine.. why can’t Dr Drew bring that show back? Way more interesting than this nonsense.

  • Mary

    No respectable rehab would put a former boyfriend of someone in the same treatment, especially if that boyfriend had a history of physical abuse with the patient. That is just irresponsible.

    • SDTim

      Agreed! Dr. Drew made a bad call with that decision

      • Rachel

        I am sure it was a call made by VH1, not Dr. Drew.

      • Nihilistic

        Yes, of course, Rachel. Dr. Drew can surely do no wrong.

    • money

      I agree with you on that. I think this was more for the viewers and the ratings on the show.
      As far as Saboxone, I think this will be a controversy that won’t end until there is even more testing of this drug.

  • marjo

    I like the show and I love Dr. Drew. I thought the quote about the patients changing him was showing humility. Maybe it is crass or exploitative but it is a lot more heartfelt and genuine than a lot of other reality shows and I do think it has educational value. And if the show helps some celebs rebuild their lives/careers or reputations in the process, so much the better. That’s more than I can say for Big Brother or Real World.

    • Ligia

      HooRay!!! So happy to hear everything is still a GO! Just cunitnoe with your exercises and all your recovery instructions. Really enjoyed getting to visit you when you looked so much better! Love you and all the family!

  • Daniel Fidler

    The latter, sadly.

  • Ali

    Way to take Dr. Drew’s comments out of context in order to paint him in a negative light, Ken. He was talking about why he keeps helping addicts when so many of them relapse and fail in their attempts at recovery. He was explaining what keeps him doing this because he is asked that all the time. He said he thinks of the people who have changed their lives out of rehab AND how those people who’ve changed themselves have changed him. He’s helped more people than most will ever help.

    • LD

      Agreed!!!!!!
      I love the show. I hate that they’re bring Miss Teen “BRAT” back. Until she is taught respect and manners, I do not want to see her.

      • marky

        She was diagnosed with Borderline Personality disorder-very serious. Maybe from her childood abuse. But i don’t wanna see her either. I’ve only seen eyes that hateful to new people on schizephrenics(?)etc.

      • LD

        Marky, I do not care what disorder you have (she clearly turns on the charm when she wants something) at her age, she is old enough to have respect for other people. She acts worse than a real star who thinks they are owed something. She is not too old to be put in her place. Her past is just excuses to act that way. I have all the sympathy in the world for abused people, most do not act as “hateful” as Miss Teen BRAT does. It’s bad enough when its a toddler acting that way (which would need to be taught respect and manners or there is consequences)For someone who is “all” about her looks, she needs to be told how UGLY she really is just b’c of her actions.

      • morgan

        LD:

        Someone who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder can’t understand ‘normal’ logic or rationale. She’s as hateful as she is because she is in a severe amount of psychological pain and she has never learned the coping tools. Asking a BPD person to just “act her age” is missing the point of the diagnosis entirely. That’s why she’s in treatment – to learn these basic skills as well as learn ways to minimize the amount of pain she feels so that she can start acting her age.

      • LD

        Morgan;
        It’s funny she can be sweet when she wants something. She is not a toddler. She is old enough to understand. If she really couldn’t, she would not have made it in pageant world. I do get people do have disorders, BUT giving every “brat” in the world excuses is why the world is going to pot. No one is taught manners and respect anymore. You can be sick and still respect other people (especially if you can win pageants). Stop making excuses for spoiled rotten brats in the world.

  • J.

    I think Dr Drew is legit as far as wanting to help people with addiction. He’s been doing it long time. However, I think he has no control over the people the producers of the show drag into his clinic, thus he’s almost as duped as the audience and the celebs in question.

    • Nihilistic

      Wow, you’re in absolute denial if you don’t think Dr. Drew has 100% greenlighted the casting of every quasi-celeb that walks through the doors of Pasedena Recovery Center. And to those of you that think it wasn’t his idea to bring Heidi and Tom Sizemore to the same treatment facility to battle it out in front of the cameras, I have some land I think you’d be interested in buying! Dr. Drew is foremost an entertainer, a tv personality, a talk show host. He’s got all the credibility of a Dr. Phil, and apparently the same amount of blind followers who eat up all his dangerous misinformation as if it were 100% pure fact. Sorry, but I like my doctors to have a last name and appreciate the little things about them: like when they don’t have a television crew tailing their every move.

  • Glowbug

    I like Dr. Drew from back when he had his radio call in show –he gave sound adivce to teens—he has a good approach towards people—who knows maybe these shows helps someone get help (also Intervention is hard-hitting & eye opening) Celebrities will be celebrities even in rehab its all about themselves–I did not recognize Heide Fleiss– why do woman continue to disfigure themselves with bad plastic surgery–now there is a show stop people from having useless surgery

    • Neda

      I hated his radio show. He pathologized every person who called in. That’s not therapeutic, it’s narcissistic.

    • Kesorhan

      He still has loveline. It’s on the radio at night Sunday-Thursday.

    • skaynekurtis

      …ya, she’s lookin’ as rough as ever!!
      I kid you not…I was actually in a truck collision with Heidi…here in Las Vegas…right before Christmas! She was really strung-out…and wanted no part of waiting for the cops to arrive to take our statements.

      • Lisa

        Every time I see Heidi I can’t keep from staring at her mouth. She has the strangest mouth, lips, and teeth! It almost looks mask-like. Does anyone else find themselves trying to figure out her mouth?

    • Satonica

      Umm,she always has and has anyone ever heard of the word “aging”? I can tell you that it’s not pretty either.

  • Job

    …and he too probably doesn’t know who some of them are initially (!)

  • Cardsgal

    I’m amazed that Dr. Drew has maintained his dignity and credibility while doing this reality show. However, the “celebs” are usually choosing to participate in this show because they are PAID, and I don’t think most of them are really ready to change. And, this season does seem more exploitative than seasons past.

  • Jon

    I’m amazed that Dr. Drew is still allowed to “help” anyone. Clearly he has lost all semblance of responsibility when it comes to his patients. He has become a TV producer first and a doctor second. There is absolutely no justification for televising group therapy sessions. Your personal and private demons should not be water-cooler fodder for the world. Your personal pain should not be out there like a tabloid story. Just the fact that Drew lets this happen is enough to make you know he doesn’t care about these patients. Furthermore, he often establishes dangerous and unfair conditions for his patients. Former lovers who used drugs together in the same rehab? Absurd. People who continually violate the policy of the rehab by getting high and bringing drugs in allowed to remain? It would never happen in real life. Letting someone who smoked crack on the premises and is just entering rehab join a group midway through their therapy? Completely irresponsible. It’s even worse that Drew is so self-righteous. So to answer Fleiss’ question — yes, this is very much “pretend-rehab.”

    • Ali

      Pretend Rehab? Tell that to Nikki McKibbon who has been a year sober after being on the show. Doesn’t sound like to pretend rehab to me if people are actually helped. If he didn’t care about his patients, he wouldn’t answer the phone when Andy Dick called him at 3 a.m. suffering from a panic attack (read the NY Times article). In all your criticism of the show for broadcasting these deeply personal issues, you seem to forget that the patients in question AGREED to this. Furthermore, if you actually watched the show last night, you’d remember that when Mackenzie Phillips asked to speak to Dr. Drew off-camera, he obliged. The reason why he is allowed to help people is because he is knowledgeable and good doctor.

      • Chris

        He obliged her “off-camera” request not because she was too uncomfortable to talk about it (like she said on the show), but because it would have thrown off her publicity timeline for her new book (which is why she’s on the show anyway). This wasn’t a medical or privacy decision, it was obliging her PR plan.

      • money

        If a person wants to become clean and sober they can do that in almost any environment and if someone learns from the experience so be it.

    • Nihilistic

      Thank you, John. You are the only other sane one here.

  • CarrieMae

    Actually, I don’t think the New York Times article lionized him. It was fairly balanced and raised legitimate points about the difficulty in separating Dr. Drew the therapist from Drew Pinsky TV producer and also regarding Dr. Drew’s own narcissism which is he has written about in regards to celebrities.

    • Hemantkumar

      Sandra,Hang in there. It will get bteetr. I know you are bored, that is a good sign. The more bored you are, the bteetr you are getting hahahahaha. Let me know if you need anything. I will try to come see you soon. Have a good day on Thursday.

  • Michele

    I am a substance abuse counselor. Currently I facilitate an intensive outpatient program. I have watched Dr. Drew’s TV forays into rehab typically with great interest. While it IS television, I think there has been some beneficial work done there. I especially enjoyed watching the personal work patients did in Sex Rehab.
    However, if you’re a therapist, it doesn’t matter if you are employed by television producers or not, there are certain state and federal codes of conduct that must be adhered to, or you are in danger of losing your license. I agree that putting a former couple together in residential rehab, especially where domestic violence has been an issue, is not only a bad idea, but violates all standards of practice. I do not understand why this is allowed to go on by the California Board of Behavioral Health.
    I, also, have been changed forever by the clients I have. But it’s not about me. At all times, in all circumstances, their well-being must be my priority.

    • money

      Agreed! “Do No Harm” must come first. This is a definite question of ethics. Confidentiality is blown out of the water on this program but I’d like to point out that the stars are used to their lack of confidentiality.

  • Sue

    I love this show, for what it is. My fear with this season is that there is no ‘love-able’ (or even reasonably like-able) person in the cast. Mindy is the closest so far, but not someone I really know much about.

    • Kanchana

      Hi Peter,Thanks for the question and for reaindg. This was not 100% financing by our lender. Our purchase price was $114,000, we have a rehab budget of $40,000 . Our lender is covering all of rehab held in escrow, he gives us the first draw at closing so no out of pocket expenses. So now that 40k is set aside for the rehab the money towards purchase is 100k from him. He then subtracts out closing costs ( points, fees, et ) and we are getting a net wire of about 93,000. So all together we are bringing about $21,000 to the table. However, the total loan amount is $140,000 which you pay interest and payments on. ( 15% and 5 points ) Little thing called ( Dutch Interest ) is very nice for lenders. Any other questions let me know.. are you doing any flips yourself or coming across any certain issues you would like to know more about ?ThanksJarred

  • katy

    For all of its lurid, voyeuristic banality, this show does have its merits. If it helps its cast members or viewers, then the contrivances of televising it are worthwhile. However, I can’t imagine what responsible rehab clinic would admit two ex-lovers in the same small recovery session. Irresponsible doesn’t even begin to describe it.

    • money

      Not only is this irresponsible but unethical. I don’t know what they were thinking

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