Monday, 18 May 2015

Celebrity Drinkers

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,

SM

21 comments:

  1. I feel really sad for her. It's hard enough going through this as an unknown. Imagine being famous!? No thanks! I hope she manages to get herself together. A x

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  2. I had two girl friends who when I met them in our late 30's were both sober since they were young, 18yrs & 25yr old. Well both at different points decided that they could handle having a drink now. Well they were very wrong, it was like they turned on a switch and they were drinking out of control within weeks. One friend figured it out within a month and stopped but the other took years. She bottomed out, drinking all day, she would have to get up at night and drink her beloved chardonnay to stop the shakes, having a affair and her husband divorced her. She did go to rehab and she moved away. Broke my heart, she was beautiful, giving and really fun to be with.

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    1. How awful! I hope she's ok now....

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  3. Has anyone seen Jonathan Rhys Meyers in today's paper? He's not doing moderation at all

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    1. Just looked it up! Poor guy. Don't you just want to hug him, whilst simultaneously taking his vodka away and pouring it down the sink? x

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    2. I had a bit more than hugging in mind! I think he's lovely bless him x

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    3. I'm with you wink, fnarr fnarr.

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  4. Thank you SM! Your timing was perfect. We have just had the big mountain weekend with our drinking buddies. I stayed AF and it was made a bit easier because our friends explained to us that they have significantly cut back on their drinking. They no longer drink every night, just on weekends, and not as heavily. In some ways though, this made it more difficult for me. They are much bigger drinkers than I ever was and they seemed to be managing the moderation thing just fine. I did keep an eye on how much they drank though and it still seemed like a lot. They didn't give me a hard time but they couldn't understand why I would feel the need to stop entirely, "just cut back" they would say. I've tried that though and it doesn't work, at least not for long. Your blog today really helped me to know I have made the right decision for me. I am so glad to be done with that daily struggle.

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    1. WELL DONE NEINWINE! You're amazing! Now you can do anything! Just remember - even if you could moderate, how much of your life would you wish away just waiting for the next drink? What a waste! SM x

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    2. Well done! I haven't "come out" as a non drinker yet, precisely because I don't think I can deal with the "come on, just have one..." or "it's a holiday, you can quite next week...", at least not yet, so well done you, for climbing more than one mountain this weekend!

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  5. It is interesting how few examples there are of people who got sober and claimed an ability to moderate.
    Possibly because many people find sobriety is actually one of the greatest gifts we could get, and they have no interest in destroying their peace and happiness with the prospect of a couple of drinks...
    I hope Sally asks for help and gets sober again. And that those she loves have the ability to give her a second chance. And they find happiness.

    Drinking isn't a privilege we have lost. It's a poison we choose not to drink.

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    1. How do you always make everything sound so beautiful, Anne? Your serenity and wisdom are so inspiring. In awe SM x

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  6. I felt so sad when I read about Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I truly believe you have to want to quit before you can access help and that staying sober isn't easy. Its hard to see someone who has been sober get swept back into the evils of alcohol. What we can do is learn from them and praise how well we are all doing for managing to stay in sobersville. Does that make sense?!? You're doing great SM. x

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    1. Hear Hear LNM! And you're doing great too. Sending waves of hugs to Jonathan xx

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  7. Ah. I was googling 'resenting sobriety' when I came across this blog. I've been sober for just over 3 years, finding it a bit tough at the moment. Was thinking, haven't I done my time, surely after all this time I'll be ok. I know I won't but I'm not happy about it. I'm a bit peed off at the fact alcohol is absolutely everywhere. At least those giving up hard drugs don't have them offered to them every time they go out and get complete bafflement when you say no thanks, no not even one! Grr. Drives me nuts. I know I'll be ok, I'll get through this but as they say in AA, of which I'm not a member, it's what I needed to hear so thanks chaps. Interested to hear others are fascinated by celeb non drinkers! Let down by Zoe. Sigh.

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    1. Hi Moosey! Three years is amazing! You are incredible. Please tell me that life isn't entirely bad 3 years down the line? I hope it's just a blip you're going through - we all have down times, drinkers and sober people. Please stay in touch. SM x

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  8. Hi SM no it's not I promise! Really just venting - sorry to sound negative. It was a relief to read the reminders about moderation because I know, in truth, moderation ain't my thing! In anything! And I needed to be reminded of that. Badly.
    I suppose you do just in reality need to take each day as it comes and accept its not all rainbows and fluffy clouds. It's ok to feel a bit crap every now and then.
    For me best feeling is waking up alert, nausea and guilt free. I always felt slightly ill even on a good day. Don't miss that at all.
    Keep going, it does get easier (despite grumpy cow here having a moan). xx

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  9. Just re-reading the comments regarding alcohol being everywhere and as yesterday was my first AF day it was even more noticeable. I watched 'Corrie' and it was virtually in every scene! Ridiculous! I have also felt sorry for people in the past because they 'don't drink' how stupid was that??

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  10. I feel as though Sally B is angry at her husband and punishing him by destroying herself. She hated living in Parliament but he wouldn't live out with her, so she found herself some horrible hobbies and a chap happy to take advantage of a well publicised vulnerability. Educating her in fine wines my arse. Getting her pissed and into her knickers more like. Hope his wife isn't as dignified it at home as she is in the papers, his knees ought to be wearing a groove into the carpet.

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