Dug McGuirk interviewing Jennifer Gimenez as part of Palm Partner’s new “The Real Deal On…” series.
Author: Shernide Delva
Jennifer Gimenez is a successful model, actress and reality television personality who has had a successful career in Hollywood. She’s appeared in major films like Blow, Vanilla Sky, and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, along with TV shows such as The Bold and the Beautiful. She’s also made regular appearances on the Bravo reality show Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
However, Gimenez’s proudest achievement is overcoming a tumultuous battle with substance abuse. She now has over 11 years sober and shares her story of recovery across the country. Gimenez has appeared in a variety of addiction-based reality television shows such as Sober House and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
Gimenez opened up about her inspiring story of recovery with VP of Training and Development, Dug McGuirk as part of our new The Real Deal On… series. We wanted to share just a few of the powerful moments Gimenez shared in the interview.
Please stay tuned for the professionally edited interview set for release in the upcoming weeks!
On Her Most Profound Moments:
When Gimenez discussed her more profound moments in sobriety, she reflected on her first year sober. She remembers going to Argentina to visit her grandmother in the hospital before she passed. It was summer in Argentina, and excruciatingly hot. Gimenez remembers walking on dirt roads experiencing the intense feeling of heat for the first time.
I started screaming, ‘I’m hot! I’m hot!’ Everyone‘s like looking at me like I was crazy. I realized at that moment I was feeling, I was feeling heat. […] Then I realized it was January 15th, a year later after I got sober this time around. From being in the psych ward and trying to kill myself and all that stuff, to being there, it was like mind-blowing that I actually felt and that my life got a little bit better. That was a big major turning point for me and I felt like I came out of a coma. I went ‘Holy Shit, I am alive. I’m really alive. I’m really here.” Every year, I feel like there’s always so many other moments, but that one was my first.
Gimenez’s realized a major part of early sobriety is re-learning what it means to feel.
As addicts and alcoholics, and especially in recovery and early recovery, I feel like we don’t know how to feel. We don’t know it’s okay to feel hot and uncomfortable.
On Healing Through Writing:
Gimenez says one of the best tools she discovered in sobriety was learning how to write to express her emotions.
I had to write every single day in my early recovery, and I always go back to that.
At first, the task of writing every day in treatment was far from easy.
I’d be like [writing] ‘fuck, fuck fuck”… for three pages, ‘fuck’ And then like, I think maybe like a week later, it was like ‘I feel like shit.’ Then, you start to feel like there’s something very powerful from your brain to your arm to your hand, hand to pen; pen to paper… the truth comes out.
Eventually, the writings started to express how she really felt inside:
I’d wake up, and I’m like ‘I really miss my dad today… like why’d he have to go. Why am having to struggle today? I’m so over going to meetings or whatever it is that I was feeling.’
Gimenez says understanding her emotions helped her understand herself. While she has bins of writings from those early days in recovery, she has not looked back in a long time. Instead, she reflects most on a list she made when she was determining what she wanted to be in life.
At two and a half years sober, I had to figure out what I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. […] I wrote 85 things, and I still have those in my nightstand. That’s really cool to look at. I like looking at it once a year to see what’s come true.
On Accepting Self- Care-
One of the areas Gimenez says she has struggled with tremendously was wanting perfectionism. She discussed how, ultimately, that desire held her back the most. She remembers a conversation with her sponsor when she realized the idea of perfection was unobtainable:
“My sponsor would be like, ‘Can you define perfect in this scenario’ in whatever conversation we were talking about, and I couldn’t define it. There is no perfection,” she said.
“My sponsor always says, ‘Why don’t’ you try to be more of a human being, then a human doer. I am a doer. I don’t want to be that,” she admitted.
Instead, Gimenez now focuses on breathing, living in the moment, and accepting herself as God intended her to be.
“I was born to be okay and being okay is perfect,” she said.
Eventually, Gimenez learned to accept herself and celebrate all aspects of the person she is intended to be. Her story has inspired many in recovery and those struggling with their addiction.
I don’t want to be here to judge people. I want to be here to love people and celebrate people. I think it’s so important because I know that I am in recovery. […] I also know that I am an arm length away from my next drink or drug if I choose that. Today, I choose life. I choose to live. I choose to turn my will over. I choose to be in recovery. I choose to try to be my best self and with that being said, I also, through trial and error, am going to figure out who that best self is.
Throughout the interview, Gimenez discussed important subjects such as:
- Learning self-love
- Doing the work in recovery
- Accepting Cliches (Hint: they’re true!)
- Processing childhood trauma
- Coping with grief
- Why ignorance is pain
- Feeling “the feather” vs. “the truck”
- Staying motivated in long-term sobriety
- Listening to the inner voice
- Addressing the current opioid epidemic
Stay tuned for the full edited interview in the upcoming weeks! Jennifer Gimenez story is incredibly inspiring and proves that recovery is a possibility for anyone. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free. You are not alone.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
Bam Margera is a professional skateboarder, stunt performer and television personality that transcended the sport of skateboarding in the late 90s and early 2000s. He gained prominence after appearing in MTV’s Jackass show. He has since appeared in MTV’s Viva La Bam, Bam’s Unholy Union, and various other projects throughout the years.
Unfortunately, along with Margera’s success came an ongoing battle with substance abuse. Strung in a plethora of shows on MTV and increasing wealth, Margera succumbed to the celebrity lifestyle while his skateboarding took a major backseat. He struggled on an ongoing basis with a serious drinking problem and did not touch a skateboard for five years.
Last year, Margera sought treatment on the VH1 show “Family Therapy, ” and the rumor started to spread that he was returning to his skateboard. A few photos popped up on his social media accounts and on March 13, Jenkem published an interview and short clip of Margera skating on a mini ramp.
It was confirmed that Margera is, in fact, sober and living in Spain, skateboarding every day.
Margera says, “In Barcelona I wake up and my mission is to skate all day. I know being in Spain is the best place for me right now to not drink.”
In order to get back to skating, Margera had to lose 30 pounds. He says he accomplished this feat through intense cardio every day until he achieved a more comfortable weight.
“When I was in Estonia, I made it a point to do an hour of cardio, 300 pushups and 100 sit-ups every day for like two months. That slimmed me down enough to where I knew I could go to Barcelona without looking like a f*cking fat piece of shit [laughs]. And I just knew the spots in Spain are awesome and I wouldn’t get too bothered,” he says.
On top of losing weight, Margera had to relearn the majority of the skills he once knew but lost.
“I got so caught up with the fame and bullshit, it was just easier to drink for a long time,” he said. “So, that’s what I did. I partied with rock stars, and now I’m paying for it.”
The Process of Getting Sober:
As mentioned, Margera went publically sober on the reality show “Family Ties.” In the interview, he mentioned not realizing that he had a problem when he initially agreed to do the show. At first, he says his decision was motivated by money.
“I didn’t realize I had that much of a drinking problem, but I saw the dollar signs they offered me. I was like, wait a minute, people pay a lot of money to get therapy and you’re paying me this amount to have therapy done? This is a double win, I’ll do it,” he said.
Soon, he realized his problem really stemmed from an addiction and not just partying.
“Once I went in, I realized musicians can party like rock stars because playing a guitar and being drunk go hand and hand, but if you want to skate and be drunk it doesn’t work. You’re gonna rack your nuts and slam your face, so once I realized that I haven’t skated because I’ve been sippin’ on too much alcohol, that’s when I got it.”
After leaving the show, Margera discovered how difficult it truly was for him to put down the alcohol. That’s when he realized, the decision to get sober was more than just for show, it was going to be an everyday reality. These days, Margera says he’s learned the tools necessary to maintain his sobriety, and believes he will make it through with the right support system.
“I never had any pill problems and I’ve never tried heroin in my life, but it’s been a real struggle for me to stay off the alcohol. But just as long you’re surrounded by good people and you have something to do, you’ll be good,” he concluded
Did you know about Bam Margera’s struggles? He brings up some important point about recovery. Often, people are in denial about how urgent their addiction situation is. Regardless of whether you have done “hard” drugs or not, addiction is a disease. Whether it is alcohol or heroin, you need to seek treatment if you are struggling. Do not wait. Call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
The state of Utah plans to set the bar by being the state with the lowest DUI limit. Will other states follow?
This week, Utah lawmakers voted to lower the blood alcohol content limit for drunken driving offenses from 0.08 to 0.05. The proposal passed the Utah State Legislature and now will make its way to Governor Gary Herbert, who has indicated he supports the bill.
According to the Chicago Tribune, if Governor Herbert signs the bill, the law will go into effect on December 30, 2018, the day before New Year’s Eve. It would mark the lowest blood alcohol level in the country.
The bill was originally proposed by Rep. Normal Thurston. The measure passed the Utah Senate with a 19-11 vote. Lawmakers are split on the decision along with those in the adult beverage industry.
On one hand, some command Utah for taking steps to improve safety when it comes to driving under the influence. However, others find the bill unnecessary. Sarah Longwell of the American Beverage Institute pointed to drunk driving fatality statistics, stating:
“Over 77% of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Utah are caused by people with [blood alcohol levels] of .15 and above.”
Furthermore, Longwell added that the average blood alcohol level in a fatal car accident tends to be 0.20—more than twice the current legal limit of 0.08. Looking at the stats, one could ponder if a law like this is even necessary. However, lawmakers praise the bill saying it corresponds to laws around the world in Southeast Asia to Europe.
While it might be the first in the United States, it is far from uncommon in other areas. Utah plans to lead the country in lowering the legal limit. A similar proposal failed in Hawaii, while another bill is currently receiving consideration in Washington.
Still, the other argument states that Utah has no need for a bill like this. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Utah already has lower drunk-driving statistics than most U.S. states. Between 2003 and 2012, 469 people have been killed in drunk driving accidents, and 0.7 percent of Utah residents complained of drinking too much compared to a national average of 1.9% of people.
The National Transportation Board (NTB) and other public health experts have agreed that all states should adopt 0.05% as the standard alcohol level. Deborah Hersman, Chairwoman of the NTB, said to the New York Times in 2013, that “there are at least 10,000 reasons to tackle the issue,” such as “the annual average of 10,000 drunk driving fatalities nationally.”
What are your thoughts on the decrease?
Driving under the influence is never a good idea; however, this clearly is a controversial and complex problem. Surprisingly, Mothers Against Drunk Driving founder Candace Lightner does not believe the drinking limit should lower. Lightner led the successful national campaign in the 80s to crack down on drunk driving. Yet, she does not support the proposal.
“I don’t believe it is a practical long-term solution,” Lightner told U.S. News. “You could go to 0.0 and that would save lives. You could go to a 40 mph speed limit and that would save lives, but you have to look at what’s realistic.”
“Running around trying to arrest everyone at .05 is impractical,” Lightner says.
She believes it is already difficult for police and prosecutors to take action at 0.08, better yet 0.05 percent. Many drivers at those limits are easily able to pass a field sobriety test.
Now, that you have heard all the sides to this issue, what are your thoughts? Should the legal drinking limit change? If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
Boston Medical Center just received $25 million, the largest donation in its history, and plans to use the money to fight the public health crisis caused by drug addiction and the opioid epidemic. The money will fund the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine funded by the billionaire investor John Grayken.
The Grayken Center for Addiction medicine is named after billionaire investor and south shore native John Grayken and his wife, Eilene. The couple said they wanted to go public with their donation in an effort to destigmatize addiction and encourage others to follow their lead. Sadly, there is a lot of shame and stigma associated with drug abuse.
“We have not seen private philanthropy in the addiction space to the extent we see it in other areas of health care, like cancer,” said Michael Botticelli, who worked closely with BMC in his former roles as White House drug czar and head of the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Abuse Services.
“There’s an idea that people with substance-abuse disorders are somehow less deserving of care and treatment and compassion . . . and issues of addiction can be seen as unpopular programs for unpopular people,” he added. “So this family’s donation is particularly important because they want to be open about who they are to spur other philanthropy in this space.”
Boston Medical Center president and chief executive Kate Walsh called the couple’s gift a major game changer for philanthropy in Boston “because it brings addiction medicine out of the philanthropic shadows.”
Last year, the CDC estimated that there were 33,000 overdose deaths in the country. The state of Massachusetts was not spared. Public health officials say that nearly 2,000 deaths in the state were attributed to opioid overdoses, five times more than in car crashes.
Opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers, fentanyl and oxycodone are responsible for most overdoses. Another 20 million people in the United States suffer from drug abuse or addiction, according to federal data.
“This is a public health crisis, and it’s heartbreaking,” said Walsh. “Kids and parents are struggling with this, and so many people have been in recovery and relapsed.”
In fact, opioid abuse is so prevalent that the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program opened a room last year in which drug users could use under medical supervision. The aim was more harm prevention to offset a number of overdose deaths in the state.
Walsh said she “hadn’t even fantasized” about a gift as large as the Graykens’ and the BMC projected it would take at least 15 million to endow an addiction medicine center.
“So when the $25 million figure came through, I literally gave what I’m sure was not a very attractive happy dance!” Walsh recalled. “I hope I’m not on somebody’s videotape, but it was so enormously gratifying.”
Before this donation, the largest contribution to the hospital was two $15 million donations. Those funds went to separate facility. The BMC is a facility where more than half its patients are low-income and is reliant on government subsidies. Because the hospital deals with more low-income patients, those patients are not likely to make later contributions to express their appreciation. It is not due to patients lacking gratitude; they simply lack the funds to donate after treatment like in other hospitals.
The funds from the Graykens will help tremendously with building the addiction treatment facility at the Boston Medical Center. In addition, the fact that the donation is public sends the message to how serious addiction is and how addiction should never be stigmatized. Furthermore, if you are struggling with addiction or mental illness, know you are not alone. Call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
In order to help offset the sky-rocketing costs of addiction and rehab, a California legislator wants to tax OxyContin, Vicodin and other prescription opioids. Should this be considered throughout the country?
Over the last few years, Los Angeles County has led the state when it comes to opioid drug overdoses. As a result, California lawmaker Kevin McCarty announced a new bill that would implement a 1 cent-per-milligram tax on prescription opioids to help offset the expense of rehab services.
“What we have here is a plan to create a surcharge of opiate sales in California and redirect all those moneys to provided needed services for the communities,” McCarty explained.
In 2014, more than 2,000 people died of opioid overdoses in California. In the United States, 91 people die of opioid-related causes every single day.
With this proposed law, taxes would be placed on opioid prescription wholesales, and could also impact prices for manufactures. However, some are concerned that the cost will be passed down to patients.
Emergency Room physician Dr. Stephen Kishineff was concerned that addicts who buy opioids illegally won’t be the ones shouldering the tax.
“Really the end users are going to pay for it because they’re going to pay for it in higher prescription costs or higher insurance premiums,” said Kishineff.
But he added the intention is good.
“As a society, it’s kind of a nice idea for a tax to be put on something that can be abused in order to help somebody who is abusing it,” Kishineff said.
McCarty estimates minimal impact on consumers, and if any, would be roughly a few dollars a month.
“So we think there is a real nexus between the opioid industry and the problem that we’re seeing out there on the streets. So this ties the two things together to address the problem,” McCarty said.
In the past, similar legislation was proposed at the federal level, but if the new McCarty bill becomes law, California would be the first state to enact such a tax on painkillers.
It is important to note that the funds from this tax would go towards funding rehabilitation services. The tax would be imposed on wholesalers, not at the point of sale, and would require two-thirds approval in the legislature.
“California’s opioid epidemic has cost state taxpayers millions and the lives of too many of our sons and daughters,” McCarty said in a statement. “We must do more to help these individuals find hope and sobriety. This plan will provide counties with critical resources needed to curb the deadly cycle of opioid and heroin addiction in California.”
If passed, the surcharge would raise tens of millions for county drug treatment programs. These funds would help the endless amount of addicts who lack the financial support to seek proper treatment.
Do you think a law like this could be effective?
If so, should other states follow suit? One argument is that a law like this opens the door for other prescriptions drug taxes. It also punishes chronic pain suffers who use painkillers in a safe, non-addictive way.
In the comment section of the article, several people argued against the tax, saying it posed an unfair punishment to honest prescription pain killer patients.
“I say this proposal is ridiculous. I don’t use that medicine. I don’t believe people should be taxed because of others irresponsibility. If they want to overdose let them it’s their choice.”
“Rub salt in the wounds why don’t you! Unlike cigarette tax, this med tax would compound an already painful and difficult situation for those who really need it, because of those who really don’t…adding insult to injury!”
Clearly, this is a topic up for serious debate. What we know for sure is that addiction is a serious problem and treatment is necessary to overcome it. If you need help, please reach out to professionals. We are waiting for your call. Call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135