Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dr. Drew 's Sex Rehab - what it's lacking

Imagine my surprise when I was cruising the channels the other night and I stumbled across Sex Rehab with Dr Drew on VH1. Unfortunately I couldn't watch it - my elementary school children were in the room at the time and I didn't want to risk DVR-ing it (all three of my children are adept at finding our recorded shows and watching them). So I had to wait until the kids were asleep and it was airing before I could get a chance to see what this was all about.

If you haven't seen it, Dr. Drew Pinsky (along with masters level clinical psychologist Jill Vermeire) hosts and guides eight individuals suffering from 'sex addiction' through a detox-like program at an inn-patient facility. Much like Celebrity Rehab, the show delves into issues related to addiction, abuse, trauma, recovery and sobriety. In the episode that I had a chance to watch, the cast were encourage in an intensive art therapy session to release their anger by smashing plates or other objets (I have always had my doubts about cathartic theapies).  While succeding in getting a handful of the cast to be reduced to tears and face their emotions, I began to wonder where this was all going. Interested, I resolved to follow the episodes for the next few weeks in spite of the language, strong sexual content, and painful stories of sexaul brokenness.

By a strange coincidence, three of the cast were on a recent episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show (original air date 11/23/09).  In so many ways, Dr. Drew gets it right, but he falls (in my opinion) just one step short of true healing. He can offer the hope of healing, but he is limited in that he is unable to offer a true source of healing: the forgiveness found in the blood of Christ and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

One of the more interesting individuals on Sex Rehab is former adult entertainer Jennifer Ketcham. What strikes me as so significant about Ms. Ketcham's story is that of being unable to 'connect' with people. It never ceases to make an impression on me - the depths to which sexual wounds which are inflicted upon someone and those they inflict upon others. Our sexual nature is such an embedded part of who we are, and it has such a sacred dimension to it, that whenever our sexuality manifests itself in a corrupted form - one which seeks to gain power over another, to dominate, to exercise a hedonistic selfishness at the expense of another - it can wreck havoc in the lives of so many. To hear her story of being sexually promiscuous at 12 and preying upon her classmates to exercise power over them is both terrifying and devastating. To hear her story of being raped and to see how this has impacted her life is truly heart-breaking. Her involvement in pornography is hardly a surprise given her painful story, and it offers another example of how pornography is a counterfit for real human connection - for the real human need to know and be known as good. If you are able to watch this show, and hear her story and not have your heart burdened with compassion for this woman, I do not know how you can call yourself a Christian. It is here in these places that our understanding of humanity and love should most call us to compassion for one another. It is here in this place of compassion that the message of God's love and forgiveness is most powerful.

To watch how Dr. Drew and his colleague attempt to treat those who have struggled with so much pain and suffering without the message of the gospel of Christ is also mystifying. Is this all that the world has to offer? It is here in this place of brokenness that the forgiveness of Jesus, the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and the love of God the Father is able to restore and redeem. It is here in the incarnation of Christ that we have a great high priest who took on our form, has sympathy on us, and humbled himself that the Church is able to go just one step beyond what the world has to offer. But, unfortunately many in the church are too quick to demonize, to ready to ostracize, to willing to judge those who have been sexually wounded and who wound others. When this sacred part of us is torn and corrupted it takes more than a few broken dishes, communal tears, vague reference towards 'spirituality' and a reality show to make us whole again.

As my wife and I watched the show, my wife looked at the screen and said, "I hope she meets Jesus."

It's my hope, too - for every member of the cast of Sex Rehab and for Dr. Drew.

It is in Jesus that I believe (and I know) the lives of each one of us can be restored and we can truly live.


  1. I have not seen the show ... just read this post. I have not seen her, or know her ... But I hope she finds Jesus as too.

  2. I am a 61-year old grandma who has the wonderful privilege of gracing my home with my adult daughter and 1-year old darling granddaughter. We too have been taken in with viewing Dr. Drew's celebrity rehab programs. At times we are in awe of how sexual abuse, and other forms of abuse and neglect have impacted the lives of these celebrities. We are moved with compassion and pray that they will know, understand and accept Jesus in their lives to truly be forgiven and start their lives anew.
    We have wondered how different and compelling it would be to see a program similar to this, produced from a Christian perspective. Maybe someone will take this project on and show the world how to receive true lasting peace and healing for their troubled hearts and minds.
    Glad to be blessed,
    Joan, Lisa and Shayla

  3. freed by the saviour!as a women who knows the saving grace of a heavenly dad I can testify that the only way 2 b truly free of sexual addiction is with the power of the holy spirit as we all hav a spirit hole in our lives that only God can fill that is as big at birth as it is wen we age suffice to say that any evil thing can get a hold of our hearts at any stage of our lives from the time we see and can work out images they can get a hold of our minds and create desires that God nver meant us to take on and all to the joy of that rotten DEFEATED enemy we call the devil but once jesus gets a hold and fills our lives he can take away all that the enemy meant 4 evil and turn it round 4 good.So awesome is He .other measures and remedies r temporary bandaids but in jesus is complete and lasting healing for all our woes. If he could do it 4 me his heart is 2 see all the captives set wonderfully FREE. AH