Real Relationship Advice
Another tragedy. Another death of a famous person. The first course of action for people is to look for who is to blame. That seems par for the course, right? Someone takes their own life and then the surviving family, fans and media need to find the culprit who pushed the star to their death. Who is the perpetrator of this heinous crime, according to the media and fan sites? Celebrity Rehab. Yes, according to the media, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Celebrity Rehab are responsible for the death of Mindy McCready, Joey Kovar, Rodney King, Mike Star and Jeff Conoway. That is what they are saying and we know that ‘they’ are always right.
Well, ‘they’ are wrong. Very wrong. These people were addicts. These people were broken from the way they dealt with reality to the state of their relationships. Despite their celebrity, no matter what level of fame they had achieved in their lives, they were no better than a homeless addict. Their only saving grace is that they cleaned up a little better and maybe had some fans that still regarded them as special. This is not, in any way, a disparaging comment. This is the reality.
We would like to believe that addiction is different for the rich and beautiful but it isn’t. Addiction is a mean mistress who will strip you of your dignity, gut you of any attachment that has meaning except for that of their drug of choice, and leaves you a husk of who you were. If you believe that having Celebrity Rehab televise the reality of addiction and recovery had anything to do with the subsequent deaths of these people then you are in denial of what addiction really is.
As a Substance Abuse Counselor for many years, I have seen my fair share of death. It is not uncommon to see someone graduate from rehab and then die, whether due to relapse, violence or just from the sheer fact that your body was not meant to handle the substances that were used. Perfectly sober individuals die spontaneous deaths and we are left wondering why. But, when a person abuses a drug and their body for years, there is no wondering why. We know that their body was worn out.
In the case of Mindy McCready, her suicide should not come as a surprise. This was not her first attempt. She suffered the death of her boyfriend mere weeks before and the stress of the loss had her turn to the drastic cure of suicide. As mental health professionals, we can look at her death as a tragedy but one that could have been predicted. She was an addict. She did not deal with her feelings like sober individuals who feel their feelings. Her feelings were overwhelming to her and that is why she used. Following the death of her boyfriend, she was using alcohol and prescription drugs. She had attempted suicide before to no avail. This time, she assured her outcome by using a shotgun. This was a woman who was done hurting. When someone is this determined to die, there was little hope that anyone could have intervened.
Sadly, she left two children, a family and many fans. To them, and the families of the other who passed and were former Celebrity Rehab patients, we offer our deepest condolences. However, stop blaming anyone for their deaths. They chose to use. Their addictions consumed them. The only thing to blame here is addiction, who has taken more people from their families than war.