Baron Geisler at the FDCP awards night.
Photo from Donnie Geisler’s Facebook account
Why Baron wants to own rehab facility
Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2019 - 12:00am

It has been one “painful” process to get himself on track again. “It’s difficult because (our disease is) cunning and baffling. We think we’re OK and then we get swellheaded and think, ‘Maybe I can now drink?’ So, ayan na naman, babalik na naman (the addiction comes back).”

MANILA, Philippines — Baron Geisler is slowly resuming his acting career following his much-publicized personal troubles, the last of which was in March 2018 that involved him in a physical altercation with a family member.

But it seems the family rift has healed as his brother, the taekwondo Olympian Donnie Geisler, expressed support in a Feb. 10 Facebook post, showing pictures of him and his family with the 36-year-old actor: “My brother Baron Geisler (is) in town for a visit for a comeback film. I’m sure it’s gonna be a blockbuster movie! Nothing can stop me from supporting this fellow! Just believe you can and (you’re) halfway there from recovery!”

A happy and healthy-looking Baron showed up at the recent Film Development Council of the Philippines’ Film Ambassadors Night to represent one of the awardees, Brillante Mendoza’s film Alpha, The Right to Kill, where he had a brief role. The STAR along with a few reporters had the opportunity to ask how the actor is after months of rehab and being out of the public eye, save for some Instagram posts of what he has been up to, like a recent meeting with Star Magic boss, Johnny “Mr. M” Manahan.

He apologized to members in the industry he had hurt in a speech and thanked during the interview those who had been kind to him “even after how many times akong bumagsak. Nasa tuwid na daan na ako.”

According to Baron, who in the past made headlines for being in and out of rehab as well as brawls, scandals and jails while in a state of inebriation, he just came from a Davao-based rehabilitation facility and therapeutic community, where “walang sigarilyo doon. It’s one of my dreams to work in a place where there are no cigarettes. With alcohol, OK na. I no longer drink alcohol. So, I hope to quit the nicotine so I no longer have any vice.”

His support groups are the Serene Valley Recovery Center in Digos, Davao and the Yap Wellness Center in Cebu. He entered the rehab program at the Yap Wellness Center about after getting involved in an alarm scandal issue in Cebu in late 2017, and he had to attend hearings there, according to a Freeman (STAR’s Cebu-based sister publication) story in January. He reportedly left the premises and what happened next was the March 2018 incident with his brother-in-law, for which he landed in jail. He requested his family to check him into the Cebu center again and vowed to take his rehab program seriously this time. “More than one year na ako. All in all, yung treatment ko is two years. Yung una is six months and three months of outside recovery. Itong one year, two months inside therapeutic community, which is closed gate, you can’t go out and smoke. All the pain and suffering, you have to endure. They didn’t baby me there, I’m not an actor there, you do the laundry, etc. It’s a very humbling experience. First time it happened in my life.”

It has been one “painful” process to get himself on track again. “It’s difficult because (our disease is) cunning and baffling. We think we’re OK and then we get swellheaded and think, ‘Maybe I can now drink?’ So, ayan na naman, babalik na naman (the addiction comes back).

“So we have to accept it. I accepted the fact that I really have this disease. I could not solve it on my own and I needed help. ‘Pag nakainom ako, na babaliw ako (When I would drink, I’d go crazy.) Although before, I thought I was cool... astig ako but it’s not.

With brother Donnie Geisler and family.

“So, now, to thine own self be true… It’s OK kung maging comedyante na tingin sa akin sa mga tao o hindi na maangas. As long as I have work, I have food on my table and I have a better relationship with my directors, co-actors, colleagues in the industry, I think it’s a better life now.”

To avoid conflicts on the set, Baron who admitted to bouts of depression said he would open up to co-workers. “If someone gets me for work, and there’s a storycon, I open up to them na hey, ‘I’m Bipolar 1.’ There are times when I have mania, sometimes makulit ako pero nasa tama naman, sometimes I’m quiet. When I’m quiet, I’m processing what I’m feeling inside. It’s a sickness, it’s like cancer. It’s lifetime. Accept ko.”

Baron has been sober and clean for several months now, reportedly the longest for the actor, though he still asks his program director, Patrick Paulino, to accompany him to the film set and in events. “Habang di ko pa kaya aminado ako na may magbabantay sa akin, tapos ’pag nararamdaman ko sa sarili ko na OK na ako, that’s the time that they can set me free.”

In fact, at the FDCP film community gathering, he was candid enough to confess that he was feeling nervous and uncomfortable, but that he had to face the pain. “If someone drinks in front of me, wala na po masyadong problem but it’s much better to avoid slippery places.

“Natutuwa din ako parang bumalik yung intellect ko… when it comes to my character defects, I was taught by (my program director) Mr. Patrick Paulino, I have to face them head-on and don’t lie about myself.”

Baron said he dreams to be of help to those struggling with or trying to recover from the same issues as his. In this way, he can help himself avoid falling into a relapse. “My dream and what I can possibly give the industry is to help struggling alcoholics and addicts in the business or outside of it, that we help each other because who else can understand us but ourselves? So, it’s my goal to open a rehabilitation center so I can really walk the talk and be accountable for other people.”

Baron, who has several acting awards but at times eclipsed by his controversies, wants to continue acting “because (this talent) is a gift from God.”

He is going to shoot a movie again with Brillante which he calls an answered prayer. “I’m very grateful to direk to include me (in such a big film). I will do my best and I will not disappoint.”

Asked what can he tell to people suffering from addictions, he said, “Seek help always. You can’t do it alone. The key is to have an open mind and to accept. Always talk to people and friends. If you’re (ashamed), there are private hotlines. They can find them online. Talk to a psychologist, guidance counselor or psychiatrist. And of course, God. What helped me in my program is faith in God.”

He said he has a 12-step recovery program wherein “second step pa lang is you turn over your will in life to God or to a Higher Power. So, you cannot do it alone. Because if you’re an addict or an alcoholic, feeling mo diyos ka, ikaw parating tama kasi may tama ka.”

When asked how he sees life at the moment, Baron said, “It’s still scary but through constant prayer, meditation and awareness, I believe I can overcome each feeling.”

The actor has also kept himself active with a new business named Gents Barbershop in Cebu. He has also found a new love. “I’m seeing someone. I’m praying one day I get married and settle down. She’s Cebuana. Gwapa kaayo (very beautiful). We’ve been together for half a year. She’s a wonderful soul.”

BARON GEISLER DONNIE GEISLER REHAB FACILITY
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