As the house mother on the gritty VH1 reality show Sober House, model and actress Jennifer Gimenez is helping others stay clean and sober -- something she once couldn't envision for herself. She's been sober since 2006 and says, "I'm just lucky to be alive." Jennifer shares her inspiring story.
Jennifer on her history of drug and alcohol abuse: I took my first drink when I was 12. By 16, I was drinking to get drunk. I went from being a high school kid to being backstage at fashion shows where everyone was drinking. When I was 18, two of my friends who were models offered me coke. They had a $100 bill rolled up and it was on a nice tray -- it all looked so glamorous. After six months, I was using every day.
Jennifer on getting sober: I finally went to Las Encinas Hospital [where Dr. Drew Pinsky is medical director of the Department of Chemical Dependency Services]. When I first started recovery, Dr. Drew was horrified. He thought there was no hope for me. He thought I'd be dead in a year. But something finally kicked in. I stayed in there 9∏ months. I've been sober ever since.
Jennifer on feeling better than ever: My whole life, I felt like I was wearing a mask that I've finally taken off. I live my dreams today. People come up to me all the time and say, "I'm so proud of you." In my wildest dreams, I never thought that would happen.
For more from VH1's Sober House star Jennifer Gimenez, pick up the new issue of Life & Style, on newsstands now!
Photo Credit: Brad Swonetz
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