The media certainly influences how we think. So, what is the overall meta-message concerning celebrity addicts? The message is very mixed. If you didn’t know any better, given the number of celebrity-oriented publications, it would seem that being famous is a common reason people become alcoholics or drug addicts.
Of course, the pressures of fame could be a significant factor in someone’s life as an addict. Pressure and stress come in all shapes and sizes. As for celebrity: How big do you have to be to be a drug addict or an alcoholic? Do you have to be a well-known politician, a famous writer or a household name? Of course, you do not!
As such, one of the lessons we can takeaway from news that yet another celebrity is checking into a rehabilitation clinic is not all that clinical. It is the human aspect of the problem. It is the realization that celebrities, after all, are human, too. It is the understanding that every family, even the rich and famous families, have problems.
In fact, one of the first “Aha! moments” addicts discover when undergoing addiction recovery in a clinic or in 12-Step meetings is the realization that addictions don’t recognize social status. The rich, the poor, the famous, and the anonymous: Everyone is susceptible to addiction.
You hear this introduction at 12-Step meetings around the world. “Hello, my name is Tom, and I’m an alcoholic.” (Or an addict.)
“Hello, my name is Janet, and I’m an alcoholic.” (Or an addict.)
Those are very common introductions heard at 12-Step meetings, although the names, of course, are interchangeable with a million others. After this brief hello, the speaker will then tell you about their life’s struggles, about their recovery, a little about themselves.
Every story is similar, but every story is different. But one of the first “aha!” moments in early recovery is that diversity is more defining those social categories. One AA member is well dressed. Their story reveals he or she is a corporate executive. The next speaker is not so well dressed. That person reveals they have an entry-level job. The next is a housewife. The next is a teacher. The next is an accountant. The next is a doctor.
Some are wealthy. Some are not. Yes, doctors might go to 12-Step meetings near to their place of work, so you might see more next to hospitals and clinics. Some meetings tend to have social divisions that are out of comfort or convenience. But, the only criterion for attending a 12-Step meeting is really this: The desire to stop the addiction you find yourself trapped in. There are no other stipulations.
You might find in an open 12-Step meeting that a next speaker is a man of the church. The one following may have never even been to church. The next works in a bookstore. The next works in a shoe store.
One of the most respected celebrity alcoholics, of course, is former First Lady Betty Ford, who is known for generously allowing her name to become a symbol of how anyone in any social status can become an alcoholic. On that list, whether they chose drugs or alcohol or both are Robert Downey Jr., Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Lindsey Lohan, Carrie Fisher, Mickey Mantle, James Agee, Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, and many, many, many others.
Addicts tend to forget they are not alone. They worry so much about their problems that they have compounded by falling into an addiction, that when they look up they still think they are looking at the bottom of the barrel. “Been Down So Long, It Looks Like Up To Me,” has been used as the title of song and fiction. This feeling makes it hard for an addict to keep his or her perspective. But they are not alone. Generally, when addicts are using, they become isolated individuals. When they want to recover, they come together.
Make A Call
If you or anyone you know is hooked into an addiction cycle, have them call the U.S. Rehab Network today to discuss rehabilitation options. Help break the cycle. In Scottsdale, Az., call 888-598-0909 for more information.