A Princess of Substance Abuse Recovery and Role Model

When I heard the news that Carrie Fisher, (better known to the world as Princess Leia for Star Wars) had passed away I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I was on my way to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at lunch, so in the car I turned on the Star Wars Theme song and began to cry. I wasn’t crying because the Princess of Alderaan, Imperial Senator and General of the Resistance had died. The reason for my tears was that one of the true, outspoken female role models of substance abuse recovery and eating disorders had passed away.

Her Death Star Was Drug Abuse and Eating Disorders

Following the 1977 smash hit “Star Wars” the 19 year-old Carrie Fisher found fame, cocaine and eating disorders. An empire of darkness that she would battle for several decades. Fisher once told an audience that her addiction had gotten so bad that even John Belushi told her to slow it down. Yes, the same man who died from an overdose of speed and coke. In Star Wars, Princess Leia showed us an example of a strong, powerful, independent women who was as beautiful and sexy as she was intelligent and confident. On set Carrie Fisher was the opposite of Leia, usually high during filming and drunk ‘til all hours of the night. The drug abuse wasn’t the only dark side of the force plaguing Carrie Fisher during the filming of Star Wars. She was under constant pressure to lose weight and the extreme ridicule gave her a depressing and debilitating eating disorder. She wouldn’t find substance abuse recovery for another 25 years.

The Force and Recovery Were Strong With This One

In 2005 when Gregory Stevens, a Republican lobbyist spent the night in her bed and died, things changed for Carrie Fisher. He died of a drug overdose and Carrie blamed her self. This event caused her to go back to rehab and she remained sober, so we think for the rest of her life. Right now it is unclear what caused her heart attack that ended the life of the Princess, but I want to believe it has nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. Carrie Fisher spoke openly about her eating disorders and substance abuse recovery. He one woman play “Wishful Drinking” brought humor, compassion and texture to the disease of addiction and she was proud to do it. Anonymity can at times make it difficult to find those in substance abuse recovery. Carrie Fisher didn’t care about anonymity she wanted to help the entire galaxy through her personal struggles.

“If You’re Scared, Stay Scared and Get Sober Anyway” –Carrie Fisher

For many young women she was their only hope. She led and incredible sober life and was at the forefront of women’s issue in substance abuse recovery, eating disorders and mental health. She made recovery fun, acceptable and healing. In her recovery Carrie Fisher gave us a new hope, fought against the dark side and became the leader the women of the galaxy needed. In her substance abuse recovery she became Princess Leia.

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