Dear Lea Michele: It Is Going To Be Okay

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Dear Lea Michele: It Is Going To Be Okay

We wrote an article recently about the sad and early death of Cory Monteith, on which someone commented "Do you have you any advice for Lea Michele?"  If advice would be useful, I suspect that this is not the time for it — except perhaps to try to help her to make greater sense of this painful time which may, in due course, help her face a future without Cory. Right now, she should focus her attention on letting herself feel the loss.

As someone who has lived with alcohol addiction for many years, and endured a death that was likely alcohol-related, my heart goes out to Lea with an agonizing wail of compassion and frustration. We feel great sadness for her not just because of Cory's death, but also for the time she spent with Cory while he struggled with his demons.  It is possible that, if the last position she took about his excesses was acceptance she may be agonising whether she should have mounted a greater challenge.  Alternately, if the last thing she did was an ultimatum, she may be haunted by the question "Should I have been more loving and accepting of Cory as he was?"

The likelihood is that, like many of us in similar positions, she tried everything she could to bring some sort of order to the chaos of addiction. She has most likely jumped between those mind-numbing polar positions of acceptance and ultimatum, a typical component of living in addiction-tinged relationships.

Because we love our addicted friends, partners or family members, we get regular glimpses of their amazing real selves, as well as the vulnerability and anguish of their struggles. This makes us want to stay by their sides forever. And because we love them, when they lie and deceive, worry us to bits, turn on us in their drunkenness, let us and themselves down as their drug of choice takes them away into the twisted world of their own, through hurt and anger we rise up and declare that we cannot take this life a second longer.

As a singer myself, I watched Glee with my daughter from time to time, attracted by the brilliance of the musical performances. Therefore, I was deeply frustrated by Monteith's early death. How many times do we have to watch exceptional talents like his and Amy Winehouse's die far too early?

In our work with both alcoholics (www.247helpyourself.com) and their partners (www.bottled-up.com), we are developing more and more of a passion for changing this culture of excess.  We would like to reclaim the word prehab, and make it to mean the input friends and loved ones could provide as an early intervention. That would mean less and less need for rehab. Instead of constantly putting out all the fires that occur, can't we learn to soak society with new attitudes and educated ways of intervention? 

More personal development coach advice from YourTango

I long to be rich one day, not to have a fancy house or car, but to be in a better financial position to provide the means for a vehicle for change. Perhaps the most powerful tool for change we have for our younger generation is the concept of image. Telling a teenager not to do something that is dangerous just seems to enhance the peculiar lure of forbidden fruit. However, there are other ways to get the message across. To tell a teenager, male or female, on a regular basis that drinking or getting stoned is a sexual turn-off, I suspect would hit the mark much more powerfully. 

Let us send a strong, regular and definite message, enhanced by any star that is willing to stand up and be counted, that getting drunk or getting stoned is not cool or attractive. It lets us down and turns us off.

As we said in our first article, we recognize that you can't force people. You can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink. We can and must understand that love and care can influence change. We are glad that the people in Bottled Up continue, despite their struggles, to still love and be with their alcoholic, because we believe that care and compassion are more powerful forces for change than punishment and lectures.

We need to continue to discover effective intervention strategies that can be applied by families and friends (prehab). We need to learn to gallop the horse until he becomes as thirsty for change as we are.

Lea, you are beautiful and talented, and you will go far. When the grieving is over, you may want to take up the legacy of Cory's death with a new passion. You could help implement new ways forward in these painful areas. You have a gift and an opportunity of great influence on your generation, and may choose to invest the pain to ensure that Cory's death is a catalyst for greater impact on the way that people live, love and celebrate life. Our hearts are with you, Lea.