I wanted too much from Dr. Drew.
To backtrack: I was booked to go on Loveline many years ago following an appearance on the Tonight Show (brag brag brag). But I was sick and throwing up so much in the Green Room (both before I went onstage and in the limo leaving -- now I want to show you the clip and see if you can tell, and I wonder if Jay Leno could smell it on my breath, but I don't keep anything, as you know -- maybe it's on YouTube and I'd love if you found it and told me -- it was my second Tonight Show appearance, in about 1995 or so). So I canceled on Dr. Drew.
Then years later I found myself obsessed with his show, "Celebrity Rehab." You couldn't have come up with a concept for a show that would better combine my most prurient interests. I also knew people on the show (Mike Starr and Jennifer Gimenez, for example), so that made me want to watch. And then there shining in the midst of it was This Savior, Dr. Drew.
I began to want to go into rehab (unlike that other time in my life when I was terrified that my friends were going to stage an intervention to send me to rehab and I kept asking them to make sure they weren't -- and they weren't -- and I was fine). Pasadena Recovery Center looked amazing to me. And when things got REALLY bad for me there, Dr. Drew would come over, even in the middle of the night, to save me from myself.
When I was launching xojane, I told my wise publicist, Marcy Engelman, that I wanted to go on Z-List-Celebrity Rehab -- not at all because I wanted to be on TV, but because I wanted Dr. Drew's help. Marcy said no.
My primary addiction is not to a substance. Or food. Or sex. It is to "helping"other people. I put the helping in quotes because what I am doing is not always helping them.
Sometimes I am actually helping people -- either one-on-one or through projects that reach more people at once -- and that is the best feeling to me in the world. Really the best. Sometimes I have "helped people" procure cocaine or blow-jobs (this was before I understood addiction -- I don't do this anymore, FYI). My dad was an addict, FYI. It is what killed him, imo, FYI. I am not enabling Cat, FYI.
When my co-dependent friend gave me a copy of the book "Codependent No More," it was a revelation. There are notes all up and down the margins of that paperback he gave me. It is underlined in various colors from various re-re-readings and the corners of the pages are triple- and quadruple-folded over, because I want to flag more than one important point on either side of many pages. And then the bottom corners of the pages are folded up to mark things lower down on the pages -- you know what I mean (or do you??). And do you also clean your fingernails on the corners of the book you are reading while you are reading, like me? Oh, no? Okay. Well, it works really well and is a good multi-task tool.
The other week, I got another chance to meet Dr. Drew when he offered to come on my radio show. This is where I went in wanting way way too much from the poor just-a-man, as you'll see....
Jane: I am sitting here with somebody that I have wanted to meet for such a long, long, long time for may reasons-- personal, professional. Dr. Drew is the host of Dr. Drew on HLN and Lifechangers on the CW. You do so many things that if I tried to list them it would take up the whole time.
Dr. Drew: I am very busy, I have a lot going on. It used to be a lot worse, when I was just doing medicine. I would get up at 5:30am every morning and struggle to get home by ten at night.
Jane: I heard your wife keeps you in line a little bit with the workaholic stuff.
Drew: She does! In fact, she sent me to therapy back when one of our triplets needed brain surgery and I was out of control with anxiety. It was one of the best things that I ever did. Since then she has watched the balance in my life and in the family. She is really good about it. I’m blessed.
Jane: That’s fantastic. Well, I want to get to this thing that you are doing with Nivea Million Moments of Touch campaign. When I heard about this, I was thinking about how I live 3,000 miles away from my boyfriend and how one of the things that you found out during this campaign was that people are interacting on their phones more than they are in person and it reminded me of my relationship.
Drew: They had a hunch at Nivea that we were not touching as much as we should because we are all so involved in electronic media. We have lost a sense in this country of what it is to be (and I’m going to use a word that is overused) happy. There is a Greek side of the word called Eudaimonia. Its not euphoria, it's just good. Just to have a meaningful good life and also to have interpersonal lives are what give us happiness. I used to deal with death and dying a lot when I was practicing medicine. When people came to the end they always tried to make meaning, and that meaning always came from their important relationships. We just don’t prioritize that. And touch is one of the first roads into intimacy.
Jane: I mean, he is touching me! [Dr. Drew had his hand on my right knee/thigh at that point. He continued touching me at regular comfortable intervals throughout this amazing surreal experience.]
Drew: If you let me touch you [why yes, yes you may, Dr. Drew!], it activates parts of your brain. It builds your immune system and makes us less anxious. It was a nice study to emphasize that. But they found out that 50 percent of the time people were reaching for their PDAs and only about 25 percent for the people they love. That's a pretty large deficit.
Jane: It really is. I find myself hugging everybody. I hug the Fed-ex guy when he gives me a package.
Drew: That’s nice. HR might have something to say about that here if there is too much of that going on at work. Before I forget, go to www.facebook.com/niveausa. We are actually giving away money for people to go on date nights and spend time together, which we need to encourage.
Jane: I wanted to tell you also that I am co-dependent.
Drew: Me too. I wouldn’t be able to do that work without really being into those people in a co-dependent way.
Jane: It’s such a healthy way that you have used your co-dependence.
Drew: I feel as though my co-dependency, which is a liability, I have learned how to turn into an asset in a therapeutic context. I really do care about these people. I am really deeply involved but, if you notice, in celebrity rehab I usually have a nurse with me. She will start doing this [he kicks my chair a couple of times] to my chair when I start doing the co-dependence thing.
Jane: I never knew that was happening!
Drew: You never see that on the TV show.
Jane: I have actually been considering, and maybe you will have me on Rehab [he has a new show coming on that is just regular non-even-Z-list-like-me folks going through rehab] if I tell you this. I think people don’t realize that co-dependence is as life-threatening as any other addiction can be.
Drew: Oh, absolutely. It's associated with love addiction. You may want to read some of Pia Melody's stuff. She has some really nice constructs.
Jane: I have read some. She has been very helpful. So I asked people on my website what questions I should ask you. Do you realize how many people, men and women, want to have sex with you?
Drew: No, I didn’t know that. Weird. [He turns a little red and tilts his caring head in that thoughtful DR. DREW way.]
Jane: You look uncomfortable! I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable!
Drew: I’m not uncomfortable! It's just not something I think about. That seems like it's for young people. I'm too old for that.
Jane: They say: “Will he take his shirt off?” “How is he such a fox?” “If Dr. Drew was my therapist, I would have a major case of transference.”
Drew: That’s funny and interesting and maybe we could work through that. Because to me, that’s the ultimate sin. When people in the position of treating someone take advantage of that transference or don’t understand that they represent something, and your job is to hold up that barrier so they can work it through.
Jane: I have been on the other side of a therapist who didn’t respect it and I understand. [She had me go and buy her liquor when she was running late with another patient. And I did ]
Drew: That’s unspeakable in my opinion. It’s just awful.
Jane: Some of the other things they wanted to know from you were, “Do your kids roll your eyes at you when you try to give them advice?”
Drew: Yes. And they don’t have to often because I don't try to do that much.
[At this point, Taylor Armstrong from RHOBH walks to the window of our studio and waves to Dr. Drew and he waves back and I ask if he knows Taylor and he says yes and I say, of course, you know everybody. Later I realize that her therapist who helped her with her late husband is the same Dr. Sophy I've seen on "Celebrity Rehab" ]
Jane: Some other questions for you: Who is on your celebrities to make out with list?
Drew: I am so happily married, it's weird. I met Rebecca Romijn Stamos yesterday. But now that she is my friend, she’s not on my list anymore.
Jane: But she might have been before?
Drew: She might have been before.
Jane: Have you ever faked an orgasm?
Drew: It’s hard for men to do, but I’ve never done it. They have been known to do that. And it’s a way for them to get out of there. Usually men with delay that have that problem or on drugs. Those are the two population who have that.
Jane: So then they fake it just to pretend that they did.
Drew: Yes, to make their partner feel good. If you're really not going to, then that’s okay, but it's too bad that they didn’t discuss that beforehand with their partner rather than getting into that situation. “Don’t worry about it. I’m still enjoying this.”
Jane: Right! Yeah.
Drew: Right, of course people try to hide it and are ashamed. It kills me that some men would ask more questions about a car they would buy rather than somebody they would be intimate with.
Jane: It’s so true. I guess I’m on that side of it too. I just don’t want to ask the questions. I guess that’s my co-dependence thing. I just want them to be happy and I want it to be good for them.
Drew: That’s it!
Jane: What’s the closest you have come to being arrested?
Drew: When I was like 15 years old, I don’t remember why we got pulled over, but one of the kids had a beer in the car and one kid had a joint in his pocket and I didn’t know it. And that was the closest. We were crapping ourselves because when the police came they made a big deal about it and then they told us to get out of here. It was the worst for me. That’s how goofy I am that that stays with me.
Jane: That that’s the closest you have ever come and you still get worked up about it. What would people be surprised to know that you do when you are alone.
Drew: I’m really not a very exciting person. Here is my favorite thing to do: to work out and listen to lectures off of iTunes U. That’s how pathetic I am, ladies and gentleman, that’s it. iTunes U, I have made my way though almost every one of those lectures. That’s it.I tend to listen to UC Berkley and Yale history lectures. Alright, I’m boring your audience now. I’m boring myself!
Jane: I heard that you’re on Facebook and Twitter more than your kids are. I read that somewhere.
Drew: I’m not really a Facebooker. Twitter I have to keep up because I have 2.5 million followers so I kind of feel responsible for them. I don’t like it particularly, but I feel the crush of 2.5 million people sitting there. Its not plesant.
Jane: Most played song on your iPod?
Drew: A lot of Louis Armstrong. Just any Louis.
Jane: That's so nice. Back to any help I can get for myself. What I would like to say about the co-dependence thing…
Drew: Do you go to Al-Anon?
Jane: I don’t. I have. I have had some interesting experiences when I went.
Drew: Al-Anon is funny. I’ve seen some actual meetings be not so great and I have seen some in areas that are really mature and fantastic.
Jane: Yes, you have to find the right meetings. There is someone from Al-Anon who I used to call. I have a good therapist. [Here's where I go into examples of two things I did in my co-dependence that involved other people, so I am leaving them out.]
Drew: As a "co," I get it. Somebody who is not a "co" would be like, “What?!”
Jane: Yeah, and still I continued to associate with those people.
Drew: I do get it. It’s not okay. You have to find a way out of that. For me, when I had that deep of a co-dependency issue, you have got to have that chord, that golden thread. And that would be that therapist really being a secure home base for you. And if he or she were to say no and come back and talk to me, you gotta hold that no. You have to come back and not do whatever you decided to do. You have to not do it. Whether it’s calling the person or the addict who mistreated you. You really have to break that addiction. That’s how you break that addiction, cold turkey. But it’s just like a drug addict, you can't cold turkey without replacing it with something. With them it's twelve step and a sponsor. With you it’s a therapist or reading.
Jane: I wish I had that person that you have that will just sort of kick me when I start being too co-dependent.
Drew: Well, in theory that’s what the Al-Anon sponsor should be. That’s why that would work so well. So before you interact with every one of those people you call your sponsor and rehearse and then call them afterwards “Here is what I did, etc.”
Jane: I do have someone that I hooked up with through that program at one point who I was calling like that and it was helpful. Like "I’m about to go into this restaurant and I’m about to encounter this person..."
Drew: Or you decide that you are not going and that person meets you instead for coffee.
Jane: Okay anything else we want to make sure that we talk about?
Dr. Drew: Just make sure to check out Dr. Drew on HLN 9pm, Lifechangers at 3pm on CW, I still do Loveline and remember to check out www.facebook.com/niveausa,
Jane: Fantastic. You're fantastic.
Dr. Drew then offers me a hug. I take it. He says I need a lot of hugs. I get back to the office and tell Emily (who has her own whole thing for Dr. Drew going on) that I talked to him about my co-dependence and she asks if he made that caring sad face he makes when he is listening to people's sad stories and I tell her that he did. I am disappointed. I very very rarely want more from people and I want more. Now let me go take care of myself.