Famous people — more than you’d think — have the same problems with drug addiction, alcohol abuse, alcoholism and the myriad other forms of addiction as the rest of us. Most of them manage to stay beneath the radar, despite the efforts of a disrespectful media circus. Occasionally, one will share his or her “experience, strength and hope.”
About a year ago Roger Ebert, the famous movie critic, wrote an essay in his blog about getting sober in Alcoholics Anonymous. There could be some argument about Mr. Ebert’s adherance to the principle of anonymity, but there is no arguing but that his story is compelling and, for many of us, truly our own as well.
As an aside, Mr. Ebert put his story in writing after he lost the ability to speak due to cancer, brought on by another addiction — cigarettes.
In August 1979, I took my last drink. It was about four o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, the hot sun streaming through the windows of my little carriage house on Dickens. I put a glass of scotch and soda down on the living room table, went to bed, and pulled the blankets over my head. I couldn’t take it any more.
On Monday I went to visit wise old Dr. Jakob Schlichter. I had been seeing him for a year, telling him I thought I might be drinking too much. He agreed, and advised me to go to “A.A.A,” which is what he called it. Sounded like a place where they taught you to drink and drive. I said I didn’t need to go to any meetings. I would stop drinking on my own. He told me to go ahead and try, and check back with him every month….