Addiction specialist Sherry Gaba speaks out in defense of 'Celebrity Rehab.'
One of the saddest aspects of working in the field of addictions is learning about the death of a client or patient you had the privilege of working with. That is the case with 29-year-old Joey Kovar of The Real World: Hollywood and Celebrity Rehab. Joey's female friend found him dead on Friday with his ears and nose bleeding. Sources believe he had overdosed on a mix of cocaine, Viagra and alcohol.
I worked with Joey on Celebrity Rehab, both on camera and behind the scenes, facilitating psychotherapy and life-coaching and sadly, he is the fourth death I have mourned in the last few years. The other deaths included actor Jeff Conaway, Alice In Chains bassist Michael Starr and Rodney King, who became infamous as the victim of police brutality in Los Angeles circa 1991. Do You Suffer From Love Addiction?
Celebrity Rehab and Dr. Drew have often been criticized for exploiting alcoholics and addicts, and I have sure had my fair share of naysayers complain to me as well. The bottom line is this: addiction, untreated without a recovery program, kills. I know only too well, both professionally and personally, that the disease of addiction is out to get addicts and alcoholics, especially when there is no recovery in their lives.
Those I treated on Celebrity Rehab were just as serious about their recovery as anyone else I have worked with at in other rehabs and in my private practice. In fact, some couldn't afford rehab if they had not been on the show to receive treatment. While they may have hoped to gain noteriety through the show, I also believe whole heartedly that many cast members also wanted to recover, and to help others along the way.
Let's also try to remember that many celebrities have succeeded in overcoming addiction. Most likely, they were vigilant about attending 12-step meetings, seeking psychotherapy, attending an intensive outpatient program, and working with a sponsor. Then, there are those who engage in other spiritual practices, such as meditation, Buddhism or reading addiction literature. Whatever their program, addicts and alcoholics know that a program only works if you work it. 3 Tips For Finding The Love Of Your Life
The pressure of being an addict and having to face family and friends is difficult as it is. Now, imagine you are a celebrity with millions of people watching your every move, just waiting for you to make a mistake. The stress is real, and with today's social media, TMZ-type programming and blogs, there is no privacy for celebrities.
What is important to remember is that addiction crosses all lines. It doesn't care whether you are a celebrity or not. Remaining sober and in a recovery program is a personal decision, but a necessary one. Whether it is your children, spirituality, life balance, faith, 12 steps, psychotherapy, or life coaching, every addict or alcoholic must find that anchor if there is any hope of remaining sober. Staying on course with positive action is essential for successful recovery, no matter how famous you may be.
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