CELEBRITY SUBSTANCE – INSPIRATION OR TEMPTATION?
Almost every day, it seems like another celebrity substance abuse issue shows up in the news. If you’re a person going through recovery, seeing this can trigger a lot of emotions – and even a bit of temptation.
Celebrity substance abuse stories, while sad, prove that we are all human and that addiction is a disease that knows no boundaries with respect to gender, race or socioeconomic status.
Some people look at celebrity’s lives as if they were perfect.
Here’s a news flash: what you see on TV and in the cinema isn’t real. What you see from the media insofar as how they portray celebrities is also not real.
News outlets are notorious for painting a glamorous picture of celebrities because it attracts audiences to their TV show and advertising revenue. If you’re gullible, from the outside looking in, celebrities or even fake celebrities (like Instagram “models”) seem to have achieved success: a big house, fancy cars, expensive clothes and a small posse of groupies that accompany them wherever they go.
Looks great, until you learn that on some day, the celebrity is curled up on the bathroom floor, retching over the toilet after a bad reaction to a substance.
The reality celebrity substance abuse takes a terrible toll on the celebrity just like it does for anyone else. They endure the same consequences – lost jobs, failed relationships and legal complications. You just don’t see it until it all unravels.
To the average person, their news feed might paint a very different picture of what might be going on behind the scenes. In fact, there’s a great book called “The Harder They Fall.” In it, many celebrities tell their shocking, devastating stories of addiction and the consequences in shocking detail. Rest assured that there’s nothing glamorous about celebrity substance abuse.
In fact, the fall from grace is even more unconscionable when you realize that the celebrity was hiding their addiction by continuing to post fluffy social media stories showing how glamorous their life is.
Such actions are classic cases of denial in a futile attempt to gain a sense of balance. It’s as if the celebrity is saying to himself, “hey, yeah, I abuse drugs or alcohol, but I’m still able to function and people love me cause I’m cool.”
Looking at the Celebrity Lifestyle and Substance Abuse
In today’s social media world, our news feeds are full of stories about people attending parties, raves, concerts, festivals or any number of activities in which substance abuse is prevalent.
For a person going through recovery, this can be distracting. Any story on your social news feeds that shows people having a good time inherently stirs memories or desires within a person to want to partake of such activities because of some good memories they might have.
So how do you ignore these stories in your news feed?
The easy answer is part of the 12-step philosophy of “people, places and things.”
Start by unfollowing or unfriending any people in your news feed that are still living that lifestyle – they simply must be gone from your news feed, period.
Second, check which groups you’ve subscribed to into social media platforms, then unsubscribe if those groups aren’t conducive to your new lifestyle.
Next, consider changing your source for online news. Consider AP News, Reuters, or even Google News as a news aggregator. Avoid the tabloids at all costs because they thrive on celebrity gossip. This should be obvious.
Understanding that what you see on social media is just a portrayal that a person wants you to see and is not the whole picture is important.
No one wants you to see them at their worst, so you’re only getting a glimpse of a highlight or a snippet of a tiny moment in their day. It’s not real, it’s not the whole story and it doesn’t create a realistic expectation of life.
Young people struggle with this, especially those who are quick to judge without seeing the whole picture.
For celebrities, social media is important to how many of them earn an income, so it makes sense that they make their lives seem glamorous. Some celebrities are making millions of dollars promoting products on their Instagram. It only makes sense for them to paint a rosy picture of a their life. It makes even more sense when they’re getting paid to endorse a weight loss product when they’re actually spending $2Gs on a cocaine habit.
What you see online is very rarely an accurate portrayal of someone’s life. When the life of a celebrity unravels, that’s when we get the real story.
Several celebrities have been quite forthcoming about their struggles with substance abuse. The press may not necessarily report when someone famous makes a public appearance under the influence of drugs or alcohol, unless they are stopped by police or involved in an accident or some type of altercation. However, the media does report when someone checks into a treatment facility.
When a fan reads about her favorite celebrity being admitted to an inpatient treatment facility to get help for drug or alcohol addiction, there is a danger when the media reports seem to gloss over the seriousness of the situation. A young person who dreams of time in the spotlight and the glamour of a celebrity lifestyle may not get the message about the potential harm that substance abuse can cause, unless the celebrity in question specifically decides to become a sober role model.
There Are Important Details Missing from Celebrity Stories
What you don’t know is the terrible consequences and the daily disasters a celebrity has gone through before their addiction problem has become public. Once it has, it typically includes a story about how the celebrity has checked into some super lavish cliff-side rehab facility in Malibu.
Another news flash – $30,000 a week rehab facilities have a success rate that is no better than regular rehab facilities. In fact, it’s often worse. That’s fine though, because te average person reading about a celebrity likely doesn’t have the financial resources to afford such a lavish a rehab center. Another piece of reality is that the celebrity doesn’t have to wait for approval from an insurance provider or struggle to find a treatment center that offers financial assistance.
In the typical rehab story, a celebrity disappears from view for a time and then reappears, looking healthier and well-rested. He has a new lease on life after getting help but is unlikely to talk about how difficult it was to get to the root of the addiction or how staying sober is now going to be a lifelong journey taken one day at a time.
Celebrity rehab stories definitely don’t talk about continuing care and needing continuing support after finishing a residential treatment program. They often gloss over how their family was involved in their treatment plan. It’s like celebrities are somehow different from the rest of us, and nothing really bad ever touches them. Of course, anyone going through recovery knows that this is not the case.
There Is Nothing Glamorous About Drug and Alcohol Abuse
There is nothing glamorous about someone having a substance abuse problem. It’s a medical condition that has the potential to be fatal. Early intervention with professional treatment is the best approach to help those affected to become sober, whether they are a celebrity or not.
The best advice we can give about social media during recovery is to first change your friends and groups. Next, change your news sources and last but not least, make new friends, choose new activities and go to new places.