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.