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Fame & Addiction

If you Google almost any celebrity, really almost any celebrity, chances are there’s going to be something about drugs, booze, or harmful behavior close to the top. I just tried it with Dustin Diamond, the most random celebrity I could think of, and immediately found this story.

Dustin Diamond played Screech on Saved By the Bell. He’s been out of the spotlight for years. Yet searching his name turns up numerous articles about his drinking and drugging. Why is that?

Dustin diamond

image via Cartoon Brew

Why is it that fame, current or past, seems to breed addiction? Why do we end up tearing apart our pop culture heroes? Why do we get entertainment out of watching them fall into active addiction or mental illness?

I’m asking these questions to myself as much as I’m asking them to you, readers. I’m guilty of all of the above. To make it worse, I’m a woman in recovery! If anyone should have compassion and love for those struggling with addiction, it should be me!

Now don’t get me wrong, I do feel compassion for celebrities who aren’t doing too hot. Remember when Amanda Bynes was all over the news? I found it horrible that we were making entertainment of her mental illness and possible addiction. Still, I found myself unable to turn away.

Why? Why do I, and why do we, do this?

Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer. What I do have are some thoughts that, upon careful reflection and meditation, may lead to an answer.

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Why Do We Enjoy Watching Celebrities Fail?

Do we? I don’t know. What I do know is that I take some weird and twisted satisfaction from watching celebrities fall down. I’m almost ashamed to admit it!

You know in the Big Book when it talks about “murder by character assassination?” I think my fascination, all of our fascination really, with watching celebrities struggle is linked to that.

It makes us feel better to put other people down. It takes a lot of spiritual work to get rid of that simple truth. I’ve been sober for almost seven years and I’m still working towards it!

So, watching celebrities falter and suffer from addiction, mental illness, harmful behaviors, etc. may be a form of that. Like I said above, I don’t know for sure.

I do know it’s vital for our sobriety to treat everyone, no matter how high or low, with patience, tolerance, and love. We’re doing a pretty crappy job of that by taking part in the “celebrity shaming” culture.

Does It Makes Them Seem More Human?

Let’s look at Amy Winehouse. She of the smoky voice. She of the multimillion-dollar fortune. She of the addict and alcoholic disease.

I love Amy Winehouse’s music. It hit me right in the chest from the first time I heard it. Plus, she was talking about refusing rehab! That’s something most of us women in recovery can relate to!

amy winehouse

image via Billboard

Amy Winehouse seemed larger than life. She seemed like some sort of musical Goddess. Maybe watching her struggle with addiction made her seem more human. Maybe it made her seem more approachable, more relatable.

Again, I don’t know for sure. Maybe this isn’t the case at all. Maybe I’m just off on a tangent that I need to reel myself back in from. God knows that’s happened before!

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Do We Secretly Hate Celebrities?

Well, do we? I’ve thought this before. Are we so envious of the rich and famous that we’re secretly rooting for them to fail? Are we so jealous of their status that we take a sick pleasure in watching them fall?

Look, I want to be famous. I’ll just put it out there. I think everyone does. It’s not my primary goal in life (thankfully, my primary goal is to help other women!) But who wouldn’t want millions, billions even, of screaming fans? Who wouldn’t want to never worry about money again? Who wouldn’t want to have their every need taken care of?

Is my desire to be famous the reason I find myself glued to the TV and sites like Perez Hilton? Who knows. What I do know is I need to find a way to treat struggling celebrities with the same compassion and care I treat women in the rooms with.

What’s the Solution?

Yet again, I don’t have an answer to this question. I do have some ideas though.

I think the solution, like the solution to most problems in my life, lies in prayer and meditation. When I stop trying to answer these questions myself, when I give them up to a God of my own understanding, I’ll be able to practice love, tolerance, and patience for everyone.

So, how do I get to this point? Simple. I need to start praying for celebrities. That seems strange, right? I need to bring men and women who have everything they could ever want into my prayer life. Weird world!

It’s true, though. When I have a resentment, I pray for the person I’m resentful towards. I pray for days, weeks, months, however long it takes to get rid of the resentment. Why should celebrities be any different? Just because I don’t have a conscious resentment towards them doesn’t mean I can’t go to God with my issues.

Okay, ladies, starting right now I’m going to turn off my computer and go pray for some celebrities! I’ll let you know how it goes. If you find yourself unable to turn away from the TV, I suggest you try the same!

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