Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Celebrity Recovery

I have a very dear friend who would on occasion go off whenever someone talked about a celebrity in a meeting of AA. I thought it was a trifle odd that he did that. One day, I did something I frequently do - I googled his name. For no good reason. I just did it. And I discovered that his name came up at the "ne'er do well alcoholic husband of..." Another alcoholic. A famous alcoholic. An infamous alcoholic. Now deceased. Wow. I had no idea.

But I know the way people talked (and still talk) about his late wife. Her name could be, and probably is, the punch line on many a joke. His children are hers. They have had to deal with this all of their lives. And they are very nice people. When I met his son I immediately dreamed of him sitting at the Thanksgiving dinner table at my home - I coveted him as my son-in-law. He is so handsome, and so nice, and such a gentleman. If I could somehow get a son-in-law without one of my daughters cooperating, he would be mine now. But I digress...

I began to realize how much it hurt him that his beloved late wife was still comedian fodder. Even in death. He could do nothing to control that. But, holy cow, he sure doesn't like to hear people in AA discussing celebrities falling from grace, and he will be more than happy to let anyone have an earful about that.

We do that, you know. Last winter I attended a meeting where the topic (I am not making this up) was "Is Tiger Woods really a sex addict?" I wrote about it then. I was horrified. Unfortunately, only 2 or 3 of us thought that was an inappropriate topic for a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.

That was an insanely inappropriate thing to discuss in an AA meeting.

But I think even more importantly, we need to think before we talk about others. ANY others. I do not have the right to tell you what I think of Lindsey Lohan or David Hasselhoff or any others who have had public flame-outs. I don't care if they never hear what I said about them. It is hurtful and I do not need to do it.

Every alcoholic should have a chance to get sober, whether it is a nameless, faceless panhandler on the corner, or someone who is a household name. We should not make it more difficult for any of them. It is difficult enough.

There are wonderful AA members who also happen to be famous people. I have been in meetings where they humbly act like everyone else. But they need our cooperation in order to do that. To deny them that opportunity may be to deny them their very lives.


Kelly said...

wow, I can only imagine.
I can relate this experience to being in the room when someone talks poorly about people suffering from depression as I am actively struggling (and they have no idea).

I think it is a good thing to remember to only talk about our experiences and strengths and hopes and shortcomings, and leave others out of it. Seems safer and nicer that way.

Just Another Sober Guy said...

Thanks for sharing... I sit in a meeting at times with a guy who is an internationally known musician. One whom I held in high regard prior to my getting sober and I never knew he was until I came into the rooms. When I realized who he was I was nervous about approaching him, so I did not.

After I was coming for about a year, he shared something at a meeting and it was as if he was speaking directly to me - I needed to hear it. Afterward I clamly approached him and thanked him. We had a pleasant conversation and I humbly acknowleged his persona beyond the rooms.

If this man, in his field can get and stay sober I believe anyone has a chance and moreso deserves a fair chance. He is not secretive about his sobriety however and handles himself appropriately.

I am happy to have had the opportunity to meet him and respect his sobriety as much as or more than his musical abilities.

dAAve said...

You make good points (of course). But human nature being what it is, and we being alkies on top of that, nothing is surprising.
I am/would be guilty as well, I'm sure.

shadowlands said...

I wonder who it was? Sorry, but that's the first thought that came into my nosey alkies head. Second, you are correct, everyone deserves their moments/s of clarity. God given, not fame induced.
Alcohol. the great leveller, as I heard in a meeting.

Apart from that, I am thinking about one of your rhubarb pies. I wish you could email them, I would be forever nagging for one, so I suppose, for your sake, it's a good job we can't. Email pies, that is.

Have a sober day! God bless.

shadowlands said...

Oh, and another thought...principles before personalities. That kinda fits the post too, I think?

Syd said...

Making fun of others has never felt good to me. It is cruel. And each person deserves to be treated with respect, even if just for being a fellow traveler in this life. I know that each of us has feelings. The acronym THINK comes to mind--is what I am saying thoughtful, helpful, intelligent, necessary, and kind.

AnyEdge said...

Because I've been to a number of meetings in Southern California, I've seen and been at meetings with a fairly large number of recovering (and habitually relapsing) famous people. And you know what: their journey is none of my business unless they want me as a sponsor.

that girl said...


Mary LA said...

Everyone who walks into an AA meeting deserves not only the right to anonymity but a basic right to privacy.

Mad Men Girl said...
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