I love celebrity ex-drinkers. 'Alcoholics' have such a terrible image problem that we need a little bit of stardust from time to time.
Celebrity drinkers help people to understand that no-one is immune from the problems alcohol causes. They also provide a counterbalance to the 'sad, down-and-out wino in the gutter' image that people have of alkies. Celebs show that it is possible to be successful, admired, gorgeous and alcoholic.
Generally celebrities are generous with their PR. People like Michael J Fox, Russell Brand, Jamie Lee Curtis, Eric Clapton, Johnny Depp, Kristin Davis and many more have been open about their battles with alcohol (and other substances) and, therefore, supportive to the millions of other (non celeb) sufferers out there.
But then you get the occasional celeb who - accidentally - drops a bomb into the sobersphere.
Having spent years proclaiming the joys of being sober and the evils of the drink, they suddenly announce that they are now 'able to drink in moderation.'
At this point every newly sober person out there starts thinking "Hurrah! X says that 'after a period of abstinence' it's OK to drink again. Yee hah! Crack open the champagne."
The wine witch is back out of her box and sitting on your shoulder. Damn them.
I've ranted about this already (see Moderation. Is it possible?) using the example of Lara Stone. Rachel Black and Nikkinuts commented that Zoe Ball did the same thing. And here's another one: Sally Bercow.
Non UK readers will probably never have heard of Sally Bercow. She's the wife of a prominent politician (Speaker of the House of Commons). She's an inveterate self-publicist who is constantly on Twitter and in the gossip columns.
Sally has been very open about her issues with alcohol. She says that in her twenties she would drink one or two bottles of wine a day and had a string of one night stands with dodgy men.
She quit in 2002 and said that she would never drink again. Things seemed to go ok. She got married to a very successful guy, had three children and carved out a career for herself as a 'media celebrity' and commentator.
But then, in 2012, she started drinking again. She told her 5,000 Twitter followers: "It's fine to drink after some time out - some people can handle it." Aaarrrgghhh! How many ex-drinkers did that tweet (and its subsequent discussion in the media) derail, Sally?
So, can Sally handle it? Well, apparently not.
Since she started drinking again Sally has been photographed many times falling out of taxis in the early hours flashing her underwear. Then she was all over the press snogging a fitness trainer in a nightclub, visibly plastered. She was sued for slander on Twitter.
And now she's been interviewed, alternately weepy then effing and blinding, confessing to a year long affair with her husband's cousin.
When asked how the affair stared she cites "a mutual appreciation of fine wine." We know what this really means. It means that hubby has been trying to get her to stop drinking (as 'friends' have reported in the media), so Sally has been avoiding him in favour of spending time with someone else 'who appreciates fine wine.'
When the story broke, did the cousin stand by poor, battered, self loathing Sally? Oh no. He hotfoots it straight back to the wife and child. Sally says she is 'heartbroken.'
Meanwhile all of this is all over everywhere, for ever and ever, for Sally's three children to be haunted by, for their entire lives.
Now everyone seems to be laying into Sally and despising the poor lass. I don't. How could I? We all know how it happens. We know what she's going through.
But Sally, please, please STOP APPRECIATING FINE WINE! It does not appreciate you! Ditch the drink. Spend some proper time with your kids, whatever you decide to do about the husband.
Then please tell the world that, sadly, however much 'time out' you have, it really is best not to have another drink.....
Love to you all, and to Sally,