Friday, November 13, 2009

Amber Smith Talks Sex Rehab, Stalking and Obsession

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Amber Smith Talks Sex Rehab, Stalking and Obsession
Amber Smith (Getty Images)
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‘Sex Rehab With Dr. Drew’ kicked off this month, and features film directors, rock stars, models, sports stars and porn actresses struggling with sex addictions.

One of the most likable women on the series is Amber Smith, the striking former supermodel and actress.

She documented her rehabilitation from opiates and alcohol on ‘Celebrity Rehab’, as well as its followup, ‘Sober House.’ Although she quit using and boozing, when the cameras stopped rolling, she felt something was amiss.

The model realized that she was falling back into the cycle of addiction. Her new problem wasn’t with drugs and alcohol. It was with men. She had been pursuing a man for 12 years to the point of obsession. Despite her fear of baring too many intimate details of her life in public, she decided to face her demons on the new VH1 show.

This is what she had to tell us about her journey.

Tell me about this obsession that led you to the show.
Dr. Drew invited me on ‘Loveline,’ his radio program. He asked how sobriety was treating me, and I said, ‘The truth is, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m sober but I’m depressed.’ The truth was, I got really obsessed with a guy. I couldn’t stop. I’m following him all over Los Angeles. It’s the only thing I was living for. I wasn’t working, I wasn’t functioning. I asked him, ‘Is this normal?’ I mean, this guy had a girlfriend, I didn’t think he was interested, but I couldn’t stop. And then it came out that I was obsessed with another guy for 12 years, not even living with him, just hooking up really at first, and then I got really obsessed with him for 12 years. That’s a long time to never forget about someone. I had mentioned that on ‘Celebrity Rehab’ and that’s where it came out initially. We never go into it then, but then I talked to Dr. Drew about it during the radio show.

You were telling me that there’s a difference between sex addiction and love addiction - and you say that regardless of the title of the show you are love addicted. Could you tell me more about that?
I was really worried about the way he spoke about it. In love addiction, women addicts have an over idealized view of love and obsession starts and it’s a real strange phenomenon that is really an intimacy disorder. Sex addiction is about fear and intimacy. It’s primarily an intimacy disorder even though it sounds salacious - a sex disorder. Love addiction is the opposite, it’s fear of abandonment. We get so needy that it drives people away.

Any anxieties about being on this show?
This is a different show and they’re really pumping it up. I’m just holding my breath and hoping that it starts getting real and starts getting into what sex addiction and love addiction is. Not focusing too much on all the drama. I take it very seriously.

You’ve done other ‘Celebrity Rehab’ shows before where you talked about drugs. How is this different?
It wasn’t as hard to talk about [drugs]. On the drug show I exposed my drug addiction. It’s more acceptable. It wasn’t as hard to talk about. This one was harder, it was like ‘ooh, you want me to what?’ I had a meeting with all the doctors and told them it was scarier stuff. There’s a deeper level of shame. To go on TV and say ‘I’m obsessed with this other person. I’ve stalked this man.’ I almost backed out. It was too shame-based. But I went for it.

On this week’s episode, Phil Varone (the SKID ROW/SAIGON KICK drummer) was talking about you.
Someone told me that Phil the rocker told them he had a crush on me! Someone told me and I was ‘really? I had no idea.

Are only addicts predisposed to sex or love addiction?
I think even normal people who don’t have drug issues to find out why they react the way they do in relationships would benefit from something like this.

What did you think about the term “sex addiction” when you first heard about it?
I would not have known about this addiction, I thought it was a silly term. It’s really dangerous - it creates stalkers, stalking victims, suicides, homicides - people who become obsessed end up killing themselves. You don’t know that it has to do with other trauma. And it is very textbook, so textbook that it’s embarrassing. And it does sounds silly - love addiction - when really it’s obsession and neediness that drives people away. The only intimacy we’re interested in is no intimacy.

What good will come out of this show?

It’s taking that shame out of it. The more you expose those secrets that were never talked about, it’s gotta come out, but it’s hard to watch.

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