By Gina Salerno, Account Coordinator, R&J Public Relations
One of the hottest topics in celebrity news right now concerns alcohol and drug addiction and rehab. The celebrity or “rockstar” lifestyle is a persistent infatuation of both the media and fans who seem to have an insatiable desire to know what their favorite celebrities are doing every moment of every day.
In a recent cover story in PEOPLE Magazine, actor Matthew Perry revealed his life-long struggle with alcohol and drug addiction. Perry’s current sobriety has transformed him into an advocate for healthy, sober living for those who live with many of the same struggles he is working to overcome.
Although Perry’s story is thus far a triumphant one, the story of Glee’s Cory Monteith was much more tragic. Monteith was unable to get the help he needed before it was too late; he passed away from a lethal mix of alcohol and heroin.
Unfortunately, the media’s relentless fascination with celebrity struggles with addiction only paints a partial, often misleading, and certainly simplistic picture about the disease of addiction. In so doing, they marginalize the difficulty of achieving and maintaining long-term sobriety (hint: it is almost NEVER achieved via a simple 30-day detox program).
The reality is that addiction is a chronic disease that can never be “cured,” but only managed. It does not discriminate by gender, age, race, or occupation. There are no boundaries when it comes to being addicted to any substance. Long-term treatment in a stable environment is the best option, as I have learned from working closely with R&J client Integrity House, a substance abuse treatment facility located in Newark and Secaucus, New Jersey. Integrity House works with recovering addicts, showing them the way to a clean, sober and productive life. The goal of Integrity House is to help the addict break the habit of addiction, and to provide the long-term care and follow-up that allows people to achieve enduring sobriety, to make something good in their life, and to become productive, tax-paying citizens.
The media glorifies radical behavior by a celebrity who may be under the influence of a substance or alcohol, but often fails to point out that a celebrity is still a real human being with real consequences. Surrounding yourself with people who won’t tell you “no” often results in the ultimate consequence. Matthew Perry recognized he had a problem and got comprehensive, long-term treatment. Unfortunately for Monteith and millions of his fans, that realization never came.
Do you believe the media gives too much coverage to celebrities who are addicted to alcohol or drugs? And do you feel that the media paints a realistic picture of addiction and recovery? Please tell us your thoughts below.