But of course it's the rare addict who doesn't also have a history of addiction in the family. Add to that the common experience of some type of trauma involving relationships in childhood—perhaps abuse or abandonment or exploitation in some form. Drew then explains what any therapist would: As a result of such influences, a person's ability to regulate emotions becomes stunted, twisted, retarded. And what better compensation for escaping those pesky feelings you don't know what to do with than a fifth of vodka, a crack pipe, or a bong?
None of this is spoken from firsthand experience. It's a funny paradox—Drew, who grew up in a solid, pleasant, upper-middle-class home, never has more than an occasional glass of wine with a fine dinner. How, exactly, he got drawn into the gritty world of substance abuse, he's not sure, except to say, "Growing up, I always felt like there was something wrong with me. I could never figure out how other people worked. I've spent a lot of energy and a lot of training and a lot of years in therapy to understand it. Once I understood it, I couldn't imagine going though life and not being involved with the human being. Addiction is, in my opinion, the problem of our time."
Then as he started treating addicts, they became, in their own strange way, addicting. "Normally you go from patients who are acutely ill to chronically ill, and in this you go from people on the verge of dying to better than they ever knew they could be. You get a couple of those under your belt and, wow, you want to see that happen again. It doesn't have to happen every time, but to know there is a possibility you can get somebody there—and to know how to get them there if they would just goddamn listen to you—is pretty compelling stuff."
Rewind to a part of Drew's lecture where he mentions that "about 80 percent of alcoholics/addicts also have sexual addiction/compulsion issues."
Which segues into the curious incident of Daniel Baldwin, who once described himself to ABC's Primetime as a "die-hard cokehead" and had been in and out of rehab facilities nine times before signing on for the VH1 show. Daniel left Celebrity Rehab abruptly after six days of shooting, when the cameras discovered that he had showed Mary Carey pictures of his genitals. Daniel didn't return requests to be interviewed for this story, so there is no way to hear his point of view, but Drew wants to put the experience in context: "I have two sick people, and my job is to keep them both safe. I know for TV you need a villain, but I would caution everyone against that. Daniel is a good guy struggling with his sobriety, and yes, he has issues, like everybody."
Daniel was one of the few participants to come into Celebrity Rehab not loaded, says Drew. "I bet he's sober right now."
Zoom in on Brigitte Nielsen sitting in a booth at the chichi Italian eatery Ca' del Sol in Toluca Lake, looking more sober, and quite frankly much prettier, than she has at certain times—specifically on The Surreal Life, another reality show where the ex-model developed a relationship with rapper Flavor Flav, which then became its own spin-off aptly titled Strange Love. She orders a bottle of mineral water to go with an antipasto for lunch. Before, that water might have been a martini, or five. "I don't have a problem going two or three weeks without drinking, but then something will trigger me and I don't just want a cocktail, I want the whole bottle."
We Hear You!