I took up the challenge to occasionally highlight a famous alcoholic or addict that represents a realistic yet positive image to the public. With the high number of people suffering from addictions, especially among the ranks of the rich and famous, you would think this would be a relatively easy task. It’s not. I guess it’s just human nature to glom onto the drunken excesses or drugged induced antics… I know at least this is true with the press. So it’s a little harder than I thought to find something TDA blogworthy, but with a little creative searching I did find something fitting (unfortunately, a little dated) written by one of my favorite authors, Stephen King.
In this EW article, King is giving his view of the flap over the fabrications James Frey made in his book A Million Little Pieces. He expands upon his critique to make observations of alcoholics and addicts in general while admitting to being in recovery from both forms of addiction.
Substance abusers lie about everything, and usually do an awesome job of it. I once knew a cokehead who convinced his girlfriend the smell of freebase was mold in the plastic shower curtain of their apartment’s bathroom. She believed him, he said, for five years (although he was probably lying about that, it was probably only three). A recovering alcoholic friend of mine reminisces about how he convinced his first wife that raccoons were stealing their home brew. When she discovered the truth, she divorced him. Go to one of those church-basement meetings where they drink coffee and talk about the Twelve Steps and you can hear similar stories on any night, and that’s why the founders of this group emphasized complete honesty — not just in ”420 of 432 pages,” as James Frey claimed during his Larry King interview, but in all of it: what happened, what changed, what it’s like now. Yeah, stewbums and stoners lie about the big stuff, like how much and how often, but they also lie about the small things. Mostly just to stay in practice. Ask an active alcoholic what time it is, and 9 times out of 10 he’ll lie to you. And if his girlfriend killed herself by slashing her wrists (always assuming there was a girlfriend), he may say she hung herself, instead. Why? Basically, to stay in training. It’s the Liar’s Disease.
And did I wonder, pre-Oprah, if there were other lies in A Million Little Pieces? Nope. I just wondered when they’d start coming out. Because if my own career as a drunk both active and sober has convinced me of anything, it’s convinced me of this: Addictive personalities do not prosper on their own. Without unvarnished, tough-love truth-telling from their own kind — the voices that say, ”You’re lying about that, Freckles” — the addict has a tendency to fall back into his old ways. And the chief old way (other than using, of course) is lying through one’s teeth. And speaking of teeth, did I believe Mr. Frey’s were root-canaled without benefit of anesthetic? Nope. Never did.
Now this is not exactly being a sobriety cheerleader or recovery advocate but it is the truth and it’s coming from a man that’s has walked the walk and is willing to inform others about the reality of the disease. Kudos, or should I say Cujos, to Mr. King for being a positive influence in the recovery world.