Trashing Celebs

3_paparazzi-17by Bill

We’ve all seen it.  A celebrity falls victim to the effects of addiction and gets trashed in the press.  Is there any empathy?  Noooo…  Are there any attempts to use this as an introduction into the dangers of alcohol and drugs?  Noooo…  Because such things don’t sell, and they don’t get clicks — and clicks, as we all know, are money in the bank.

Another thing that bothers me when people start trashing celebrity alcoholics and addicts is that it indicates, half a century after alcoholism and addiction were recognized officially as diseases, that as a society we still view them as an issue of morals.  And it seems that most of us enjoy seeing icons brought down, speaking more to our character than that of the icons.

In my opinion, this is because nearly all of us have had our lives touched by addiction, and have experienced the chaos that addicts carry and leave behind them the way a tornado carries dust and debris.   Continue reading

Craig Ferguson Talks About Drunken Celebrities (Video)

This video was posted on NPR along with commentary about the recent problems of Justin Bieber.  Although well before Justin’s recent notoriety, it bears on him as well as the people that Ferguson mentioned.

One of my great-nephews asked me for my opinion on the video and the subject.  Here was my answer:

Wellll…let me put it this way. If I were still working in rehab, every single one of my clients would watch this video.

As far as Justin Bieber is concerned, it certainly isn’t his fault. For most of his life he’s been coddled, encouraged to do whatever he likes as long as he keeps working and bringing in the bucks. He’s had no healthy family modeling, and emotionally he stopped growing — probably — at the time he got involved in the dysfunctional lifestyle, long before he began using chemicals. If not then, certainly when he started drinking, drugging or both.

We drink to excess initially because it makes us feel different. There is something that we are trying to fix — a bad feeling, an emotional pain, feelings of not being good enough, or whatever. Drinking doesn’t make us feel good, it makes us feel better: better looking, more sociable, less bothered by poor self-esteem, maybe even loved and safe, whatever. But eventually, we drink because the alcohol has modified our brains and our thinking in such a way that we can no longer imagine living without booze or some other mood-altering chemical. Then we lie to ourselves and tell ourselves that we are just fine, thank you very much. Until it become apparent that we aren’t.

Addiction isn’t fixed by stopping temporarily, or even permanently. It’s on the way to being fixed when we are desperate enough to confront whatever it is that causes us to think we need to drink and/or drug, and begin healing — and growing — toward being an emotionally healthy, well-balanced person.

Along with the drugs (alcohol is just a legal drug), addiction is a habit: of thinking, of behaving, of dealing with discomfort. Quitting is the essential first part, because intoxication is chemically-induced insanity, and the whole point of sobriety is moving toward sanity. But until we have made the habits of a sober, sane person more powerful than those of a drunk — until we have learned to be not only abstinent but sober — we are in danger of falling off the wagon at any time. It’s not an event, it’s a process, and it takes a long time, and it takes balls.

As far as Ferguson goes, he told my story too. The details were different, but the story was the same.

Now, please watch the video and enjoy it.  Ferguson’s a funny man, even when he’s being serious.

 

To squash addiction, get rid of ‘Ambiguity’ in our attitude

Dr David Moore and Bill Manville publish a weekly column on addiction that is widely syndicated. Here is their take on celebrity addiction “reality” shows. They’re not impressed.


Bill: Did you see Dr. Drew Pinsky’s special on VH1 this week – the interview with porn star Mary Carey?

Dr. Dave: The theme seemed to be, “Ooh, the crazy things I did when I was high.”

Bill: What I did not like was that those “crazy things” were made to sound sexy and attractive. Even worse were Dr. Drew’s efforts to justify the show by announcing that “today, in the celebrity world, we’re seeing an addiction epidemic.” My reaction was, Oh, really? Stupid me; I thought you were putting a porn star on camera for the ratings.

Dr. Dave: Bill, let me put on my clinician’s hat for a moment. Do I detect an overly personal note in your objections to Dr. Drew’s show?

Bill: What you hear is an angry note. Recovery saved my life….

To squash addiction, get rid of ‘Ambiguity’ in our attitude