It was clear from tonight’s Real World episode that Joey felt let down by his roommates — so let down that he could barely put his frustration into words. Now that he’s back home in Chicago, and has gotten some distance from the whole experience, Joey’s finally taking a stab at expressing just how difficult it was for him to return to the Real World…
RC: Did you feel betrayed by the roommates’ behavior when you moved back into the house? Do you still, or have you moved passed it by now?
Joey: You know, I guess in a way, I did feel a little bit betrayed. By some more than others. It was my understanding that things would change around the house in order to help keep me on the road to recovery; but unfortunately, the very first night back from rehab, every roommate but Will and Sarah went out and got messed up. To me, that was a little messed up. But I am all about being positive nowadays, and I do not and will not hold a grudge on anyone for anything. At one time I was a very negative person and held a lot of grudges — most of my life was one letdown after another. Now I’m in a very different place. The more positive I am and the more I give back, the better quality my life is and has been!
RC: How did it feel when the roommates said stuff like, “Nobody here owes anything to anybody”?
Joey: You know, I was quite surprised to hear that from Brianna’s mouth — it really hurt me. I guess that shows you what kind of place Brianna was in at the time. To me, a comment like that is very selfish and self-centered. ’Til this day I stand by my conviction that it’s not about owing anybody anything, it’s about being a good person, having class, and just plain acting like a human being. Bottom line, we all take our roads and there are bumps along the way, but one day hopefully we shall all learn from those bumps and choose a different, better path. If I kept on the same road, I would have blown out a tire.
RC: Some of the roommates appeared more sensitive than others. What did they do that helped you settle back?
Joey: Sarah was absolutely amazing — she helped me out so much. She stayed in with me at night, she took me to church with her, and she helped me get involved in activities like “random acts of kindness,” where you help the needy with food and such. Those are things that we learned in rehab that help with staying sober. Will was great as well. We did other activities together like going to a Hooka Bar, where you just sit, chill, and smoke flavored tobacco. It was a nice place to unwind and talk. He also let me listen to these CD’s that help you relax and put you in a better mindset. Will also left a note on the table the night I came back from rehab basically telling the rest of the roommates off about how they couldn’t even pull it together for Joey’s first night back from rehab. That mean a lot to me.
RC: You told Sarah that you never felt like having a drink more than the night after the first improv show. Were you worried you would relapse?
Joey: Well of course I was worried about relapsing — it was and still is the last thing I want to do. What kept me from doing it? I think it was a mixture of my self will, Sarah’s support, and the fact that Charna came over to talk to me about it. All of that combined really helped me crush the urge that night.
RC: The conversation you had with Charna really seemed to lift your spirits. She got your number as a perfectionist! How did it feel to have her and James’ support?
Joey: James Grace and Charna Halpern are amazing people. They are two of the most caring human beings I have ever met in my life. They really helped comfort me and understood how difficult it is to deal with addiction/alcoholism because they had two close friends who dealt with the same demons. I will never forget either of them and will always hold a place for them in my heart. I really do appreciate everything James and Charna did for me while out in Hollywood.