A big moment for Demi

Thanks to Staying Strong 24/7 for their blog, and this article is a couple of years old but shows she has worked hard to overcome her addiction demons – great role model.

demi lovato
Demi Lovato opens up about heavy use of cocaine, alcohol
By Christie D’Zurilla

Demi Lovato said she hit bottom when she was on the way to the airport at 9 a.m. with a Sprite bottle filled with vodka, headed back to a sober-living facility she was staying at and throwing up in the car. She said she realized that was alcoholic behavior.

Demi Lovato said she hit bottom when she was on the way to the airport at 9 a.m.… (Mike Windle / Getty Images )

Demi Lovato may have been shy a few years back about her reasons for going to rehab, but these days she’s holding nothing back, telling all about the drug and alcohol abuse that saw her hitting bottom when she was only 19 years old.

Cocaine every half hour and a Sprite bottle full of vodka were the toxic cherries on top of her eating-disorder sundae, she told “Access Hollywood” in an exclusive interview she did Monday accompanied by her mother, Dianna De La Garza.

“With my drug use, I could hide it to where I would sneak drugs,” the now 21-year-old said. “I couldn’t go 30 minutes to an hour without cocaine and I would bring it on airplanes.”

She said she would “smuggle it basically” and wait until the rest of First Class tuned out, and then she’d sneak to the bathroom to do it, even though she had a sober companion keeping an eye on her.

De La Garza said she had an idea that her daughter was doing drugs but “for a long time I was in denial.” She said she didn’t actually see Demi, and wanted to believe her daughter when she said things were OK.

Lovato said she hit bottom when she was on the way to the airport at 9 a.m. with a Sprite bottle filled with vodka, headed back to a sober-living facility she was staying at and throwing up in the car. She said she realized that was alcoholic behavior.

“When I hit that moment I was like, it’s no longer fun when you’re doing it alone,” “The X Factor” judge told “Access.”

Mother and daughter also learned they had something in common during Demi’s struggles: Both had eating disorders, and both had to deal with them.

Lovato said hers began well before her teen years, when she was 8 or 9, starting with binge eating then flipping to starving herself and making herself throw up.

“It got really difficult [and] I would throw up and it would just be blood and it was something that I realized if I don’t stop this, I am going to die,” she said.

Fortunately, Lovato got the help she needed — and both women said they’re now stronger as a family for it.

staying strong 24/7

I just witnessed an incredible performance by Demi Lovato on the VMAs. She absolutely rocked that stage.

Before she performed, she prayed and repeated “I am enough” multiple times into the microphone. She has a lot of courage and strength and took it with her on stage today, which is just amazing and something a lot of us are not able to do.

I am very proud of her. I’ve watched her grow. I’ve watched her

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Amy Winehouse charity gives school talks about addiction and empathy

Foundation set up in singer’s memory visits hopes to counter abuse of drugs and alcohol in young people

 amy
The parents of Amy Winehouse set up the foundation.

Dominic Ruffy tells pupils about his first day at school: “I remember standing in the playground and a group of kids were talking about their summer holidays. I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m so boring.’ I’d just spent three weeks in California and I went over to talk to these kids, trying to make friends, and out of my mouth came, ‘When I was in America I saw Ghostbusters’.”

There was only one problem. It was a blatant lie. “So I made up this 45-minute story about what I hoped and prayed Ghostbusters was going to be about and, of course, I looked a proper idiot when it came out in Britain three months later.”

It seems an innocuous enough tale, but Ruffy now believes it should have been a warning sign.

“I didn’t know that that was an early expression of me not feeling comfortable in my own skin, of not feeling I had enough self-esteem just to be me. Therefore, when we were at parties and I was 13 and a cool bunch of kids were passing joints around, then, of course, I’m going to take it because I’m doing everything I can to fit in.

“I didn’t know I was going to be one of those kids who would fall in love with those substances and would immediately start selling from home to fund it. Self-esteem is the underlying issue. It affects everything. Once you get kids talking about how they feel about themselves, about their friends, that’s the key.”

At 30 Ruffy was a heroin addict. But today he is clean and the resilience programme director of the Amy Winehouse Foundation, a charity set up to help prevent drug and alcohol misuse among young people.

The groundbreaking programme, which sees former addicts visit schools to share their experiences, was born from the painful experiences of Winehouse’s parents, Mitch and Janis, when they were touring rehab clinics trying to find the right help for their daughter.

“The consistent message they got from people in rehab was that they’d never had any constructive education in school about drugs and alcohol,” Ruffy said. “They’d had policemen in. They’d been told, ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that’, but nobody had ever gone in and talked to them about their feelings and emotions like we do.”

The programme, formed in partnership with specialist addiction charity Addaction, aims to reach 250,000 pupils within five years. A year into the programme, 87 volunteers have been trained and a further 60 are in training. All the volunteers have overcome significant personal issues, which Ruffy explains is the key to connecting with young people.

“I tell that story [about Ghostbusters]and you can hear a pin drop. We’ve had the known school bully break down and say, ‘I did not know that me ripping the mickey out of the ginger kid in the corner might lead to him using drugs when he was older.’ If we can help these kids overcome their emotional wellbeing issues, they’re less likely to do drugs when they’re older. Empathy is the big thing. It’s getting honest with the kids and allowing them to get honest with us.”

The programme – now operating in 11 regions in the UK – appears to be urgently needed. Government figures released last week show the number of pupils excluded from secondary school for drug and alcohol issues is rising. Meanwhile, the latest Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use survey shows that just over half of pupils believe they are not given enough information about drug use.

Some experts believe that encouraging children to talk about drink and drugs at school glamorises addiction. But Ruffy says: “We’re very specific. We don’t go in there and talk about violence in crack houses or getting high on the street.”

Others question whether the programme, which is supported by a £4.3m grant from the Big Lottery fund, is worth the money.

However, an interim report conducted by an independent team of experts from Harvard University and the University of Bath, shared with the Observer, has found that more than 70% of pupils who were questioned about their experience of the programme believed they were better equipped to manage self-esteem, cope with peer pressure and avoid risky behaviours associated with substance use.

A similar proportion said they had greater confidence to make safer decisions about alcohol or drug use. It is the first time an independent study has tried to evaluate the impact of a drug and alcohol awareness programme in schools and the foundation hopes the results will attract more funding from government and the private sector. If so, then Amy Winehouse’s parents hope some good will come from their daughter’s death.“The resilience programme is the legacy that Amy will leave,” Ruffy said. “It is a place where young people feel safe, where they can open up and talk about how they feel.”

Why Freddy Flintoff put his drinking days behind him

Andrew Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff  Photo: Getty Images

His public image as a boisterous, beer swilling one of the lads was sealed in the public mind with his exuberant Ashes victory celebrations and a visit to No 10 that saw him put his feet up on the Cabinet table.

But Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff has revealed his more thoughtful, private side in a revealing appearance on Desert Island Discs, in which he talks about his struggle with depression, his decision to quit drinking and his devotion to family life.

The former England cricket captain and now star of TV panel shows such as A League of their Own, told Kirsty Young, the programme’s presenter, that he turned his back on the all-night drinking bouts for which he became famous after making a documentary about depression in sport, in 2012.

He said: “I’m prone to depression. Drinking doesn’t help one bit. I don’t touch it now.”


Rachael Wools and Andrew Flintoff

Flintoff said he realised his drinking had started to become a problem after a run of poor form and defeats that saw him sacked as England vice-captain in 2007 then getting drunk and into difficulties after taking a pedal boat out to sea after a World Cup defeat in St Lucia.

“It’s not so much the drinking as the reason why you’re drinking that is the problem. When you’re drinking because you’re trying to get away from things you’ve got to look at it. That’s not right,” he said. “My heart goes out to anyone out there who is struggling now.”

Speaking of his upbringing in Lancashire Flintoff, who chose Elvis Presley’s I Just Can’t Help Believing and Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon among his desert island records, said he never played cricket at his state school in Preston, but learnt it from his father, a British Aerospace production line worker.


Andrew Flintoff holds the Ashes trophy after England defeated Australia on the fourth day of the fifth and final Ashes cricket Test match

“Cricket was seen as the posh sport,” he said, adding that he would never have dreamt of walking back home through his local council estates in his cricket whites.

Now Flintoff says his greatest joy is being at home with his wife and their three children – even if they ignore him when he’s trying to teach them cricket.

 

Amy Winehouse – A Lost Little Girl, Who Could Have Been Saved

 

Reposted from Huff Post

I saw Amy Winehouse three or four times in person at the London Clinic in December of 2009. I was there regularly, visiting my terminally ill father. Even in that environment, she was vibrant yet restless, surrounded by bodyguards, but somehow alone. My Dad commented on how sad it was that she was there from her addictions when she had everything going for her. He was right – if only she had known it herself.

The media after her death in July 2011, focused on her alcohol and drug abuse. But they didn’t mention her bulimia, nor the depression she wrestled with since she was a teen. The new documentary film on her life directed by Asif Kapadia sets the record straight, telling the tale of a brilliant woman who was plagued with self-doubt and deficient in resilience.

She was a happy child, but a troubled teen, finding her ‘perfect’ diet early on – eating a lot and then throwing up afterwards. In some old video footage she talked about being an ugly mug, because she looked different from others. But therein lied her beauty, a striking, unique charm that made her Amy.

Three quarters of young girls today don’t like how they look and five out of six are worried about getting fat. Amy was one of those girls, one that society didn’t save. If these confidence issues aren’t addressed they seep into later life. Amy’s bad relationships all stemmed from a belief she didn’t deserve love. Her eating disorders and substance abuse weren’t part of a ‘rock and roll” lifestyle, but because she couldn’t cope with the reality of who she was.

Confidence comes from loving what you do, not from external stuff such as image and fame. Amy loved her music but she was plunged into a world of live events, paparazzi and TV appearances, which was her worst nightmare. All she wanted to do was expel her pain by converting it into lyrics and music.

At the Amy premiere at Cannes Film Festival, we were able to honour her life, remembering that she was a ‎woman of great achievement who struggled with many demons. Every single person in the cinema was moved to tears by her incredible story. Contrary to popular belief, she wasn’t party mad or overly hedonistic. She was a girl in trouble that needed help and somewhere along the lines society failed her. Had she been supported during those vulnerable teenage years when she found fame, she could have coped better with life. Excelling at sport, music, or in your studies is not a guarantee of feeling good on the inside. The pressure to be perfect today is immense and it can be an addiction in itself.

At the end of the film Amy’s bodyguard reveals that she regretted her stardom. She would have given anything to take it all back, to be able to walk down the street in peace. She is now known around the world for the very songs that made her ill, Back to Black about her toxic ex boyfriend and Rehab about well, the obvious. She just wanted to move on and compose some new work away from the media eye but the money machine kept whirring. Her father even brought a film crew with him when he visited her on retreat in St Lucia. Each time she reached a new milestone, the Brits, Grammys, singing with Tony Bennett, she would immediately relapse. For when you don’t think you’re good enough these goals are impossibly unattainable and at the same time they are addictive because they are the only proof of self-worth.

Let’s make Amy’s early departure a learning for us all to protect our children and those we love in trouble. For many, many people suffer from mental health problems that have been swept under the carpet for too long. Amy wasn’t crazy, nor was she a wildchild. She was an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent, and she just needed the tools to assist her – if the appropriate coping mechanisms had been imparted along the way, from childhood, through to her years in the spotlight, things could have been very different.

Amy Winehouse shone very brightly and she still does. She is a reminder to all of us to take care of those we love and build, not crush, their confidence. Self-harming, eating disorders and suicide are all on the rise and we need to curb this heart-breaking trend. Her loss is deeply tragic but she has left an incredible legacy and not just her music. She has pathed the way for our youngsters, to stand in their truth and truly believe in themselves.

 

James Taylor: ‘A big part of my story is recovery from addiction’

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/rockandpopfeatures/11679104/James-Taylor-A-big-part-of-my-story-is-recovery-from-addiction.html

At the age of 67, James Taylor has made his 16th album, his first in 13 years.

‘One thing that addiction does is, it freezes you. You don’t develop '

‘One thing that addiction does is, it freezes you. You don’t develop’  Photo: Timothy White

8:00AM BST 20 Jun 2015

…Yet, away from the stage, his personal circumstances were a train wreck even before he was famous. He was a heroin addict and a psychiatric patient in his teens, and his narcotic dependency fuelled the ultimate failure of perhaps America’s favourite celebrity music marriage of the 1970s, Taylor’s to Carly Simon. He did not finally get sober until his mid-30s, when he started the reinvention that makes that untamed past impossible to recognise now.


Taylor at home in New York with his then wife, Carly Simon, 1971 (JIM MCCRARY/REDFERNS)

All of which makes the lyric of Today Today Today, the opening song on Before This World, his 16th album of new songs, the first in 13 years, starkly relevant. It has him assessing his role in the musical firmament as an older man, with a palpable sense of wonder.

‘Somehow I haven’t died,’ he sings.

‘One of the things you learn as you get older is that you’re just the same’

James Taylor

Nevertheless, when we chat at length in his hotel room, Taylor – whom I first interviewed more than 20 years ago, and who remains hugely engaging company – admits that he still knows the version of himself who almost did not make it here: the man whose friend and fellow sybarite John Belushi let it be known that he was worried for him, a comment put into sharp relief by Belushi’s own fatal overdose soon afterwards in 1982.

That was the wake-up call Taylor needed. In his 1985 song That’s Why I’m Here, written following Belushi’s death, he sang, ‘John’s gone, found dead, he dies high, he’s brown bread. Later said to have drowned in his bed. After the laughter, the wave of dread, it hits us like a ton of lead.’


Taylor at the Democratic National Convention, 2012 (RALF-FINN HESTOFT/CORBIS)

‘A big part of my story is recovery from addiction,’ he says now, matter-of-factly. ‘One thing that addiction does is, it freezes you. You don’t develop, you don’t learn the skills by trial and error of having experiences and learning from them, and finding out what it is you want, and how to go about getting it, by relating with other people. You short-circuit all of that stuff and just go for the button that says this feels good over and over again. So you can wake up, as I did, at the age of 36, feeling like you’re still 17. One of the things you learn as you get older is that you’re just the same.’
Before This World by James Taylor (Concord/Decca) is out now

9 Things I’ve Gained From Sobriety

Beth Leipholtz Headshot

9 Things I’ve Gained From Sobriety

Posted: 05/15/2015 6:42 pm EDT Updated: 05/15/2015 6:59 pm EDT

PARTY LIFESTYLE

Shutterstock / Yuri Arcurs

When I first ventured into sobriety two years ago, a family friend, who is also sober, said to me: “You’ll be amazed how full your life can be.” At the time, I didn’t believe that. My life was full when I was drinking — at least I thought it was.

It took some time, but eventually I realized that what I thought was a full life was really just a lot of shallowness and superficiality that I mistook as meaningful. Two years later, and I’ve realized what that family friend meant. My life is so much fuller than I ever anticipated, and I owe it all to sobriety.

Here’s what I’ve gained:

1. Confidence.
Sure, I was confident when I was drinking…after about four drinks. Prior to that, I was always insecure even if it wasn’t outwardly apparent. Since getting sober, I’ve realized what real confidence feels like. While I’m not always 100 percent happy with myself, I feel a lot more secure in who I am and who I want to be, and less concerned about what others think about my choices. Being confident is a hell of a lot less draining than being insecure.

2. Love.
For the first time in years, someone loves me as much as I love them. I’m in a happy, loving, reciprocated relationship, something I never accomplished when I was drinking. Drinking turned me into a person I wasn’t. I would do and say things I didn’t mean and sabotage any relationship or potential relationship I had. My boyfriend drinks, and that’s okay. He understands that I don’t, and that I have my reasons.

3. Meaningful relationships.
Not necessarily romantic ones, either. Getting sober allows you to realize who really wants to be in your life, and who was more of a party friend. Sometimes these realizations hurt, but it’s for the better. I’d rather have a smaller amount of true, authentic relationships than a large amount of superficial ones.

4. Respect.
I never realized how much shame I carried as a result of losing people’s respect. Before drinking, I had always been a respectable person. I was responsible, smart and made good decisions. Drinking made all of that obsolete. From the moment I started college on a drinking note, I made a reputation for myself. And it wasn’t a good one. In the time since getting sober, I’ve been able to gain back the respect of most people in my life. I’m so thankful I didn’t do irreversible damage because I probably would have, had I kept drinking.

5. Pride.
This goes hand-in-hand with confidence, but is a bit different. I remember one specific instance when I was drinking and I should have felt proud and instead felt nothing. I was in a public speaking class, and had asked my professor to write a letter of recommendation. She did, and it was absolutely glowing, stating what a standout student I was. I read it and all I could think was, “This isn’t me.” I had given a few of my speeches in her class while a little bit tipsy, and I didn’t feel as if I deserved the praise she gave me. Now, two years later, I feel like I am finally that person she was raving about. I feel proud of myself again.

6. Passions.
Before getting sober, I spent any free time I had drinking or recovering from drinking. I left little to no time for the things I was most passionate about, like writing. I’ve often heard that free time in sobriety can be dangerous and can lead to relapse, but I’ve found the opposite to be true. Free time allows me to engage in my passions, which in turn keeps me sane and sober.

7. Health.
Towards the end of my drinking, I was, to put it quite plainly, a shit show. And it showed physically. I was always bloated and my skin had a yellowish cast to it. I had gained weight, but I didn’t care. In the time since, I’ve made a lot of changes and I feel like it shows in my physical appearance. While I’m not completely content with how I look (and never will be), I look a hell of a lot better than I did two years ago.

8. Trust.
I can be trusted again. For the longest time, I didn’t even trust myself. I knew that when I drank, I made stupid choices, but I did it anyway. Each night was a wild card. While no one explicitly said so, I’m sure people in my life didn’t trust me. I wasn’t a very reliable or honest person when I was under the influence. Since getting sober, that has changed. I truly believe I am a reliable, responsible person, and I believe others think that as well.

9. Self-worth.
I no longer wake up in the morning hating myself and who I have become. Instead, I wake up excited about life, ready to take on what the world has to offer and stay sober while doing so. I know I am a person worth loving, and that makes all the difference.

Lynda Carter: After Wonder Woman I became an alcoholic

THE former beauty queen was the highest-paid actress on TV in the 1970s but once the show ended her life spiralled out of control.

PUBLISHED: 00:01, Sat, Mar 14, 2015

Lynda Carter PH

Lynda Carter looks great at 63 today

Her lustrous brown mane frames cheekbones the size of Texas, with only the faintest of wrinkles gracing her porcelain face atop a still-slender figure with more curves than a roller-coaster.

Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter looks amazing for her age – at least two decades younger than her 63 years – and credits the luck of her gene pool for her fresh-faced good looks.

Perhaps that’s not surprising for the former Miss USA and Miss World semi-finalist who is also a velvet-voiced jazz singer poised to embark on a US concert tour this month, but she laughs: “Everything is dropping.

“Everything.”

Yet those same genes also bequeathed her a terrible legacy: alcoholism.

Astonishingly, her features show no sign of the ravages of her past battles with booze and the traumatic break-up of her first marriage, though the emotional scars run deep.

“Alcoholism is an abyss,” she says.

“You are terrified of the addiction.

“You just can’t stop.

“The disease has taken over, it is not a matter of having will-power.

“Addiction feels so shameful but it really is a disease, and if you have got the gene that turns it on, it is devastating.

“It destroys families and lives.

“It is not a choice.”

Lynda, who became the world’s highest-paid TV actress during her five years playing Wonder Woman in the 1970s, has overcome stigma before: after becoming a beauty queen, and then after being stereotyped as a TV comic-book heroine.

“I didn’t intend to become a beauty queen and only entered as a lark,” she says.

But in the space of 20 days she was crowned Miss Phoenix, Miss Arizona, and became Miss USA, heading to the Miss World contest in London in 1972.

“I didn’t really enjoy it that much,” she says.

“I’d been singing since I was 14 and on the road since high school, and I was very independent.

“Then I was Miss USA and had to have a chaperone, and spent a year opening supermarkets.

“It was all so silly, wearing a crown and banner when it was the 1970s and women’s liberation was everywhere.

“That was quite a stigma to overcome.”

Lynda moved to Hollywood but struggled to find work as an actress and was down to her last $25 when she won the role of Wonder Woman.

“I never considered quitting acting but I was trying to figure out how I was going to pay the rent, and would have to get a regular job,” she says.

Wonder Woman transformed her life, paying her $1,500 an episode, and $1million for the second season.

Lynda as Wonder WomanPH

Lynda as Wonder Woman, in the outfit that made her famous

“I loved every minute of it,” she says.

“I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning and get to work.

“Wonder Woman remains popular because it wasn’t about brawn, it was about brains.

“It is less about super powers and more about heart and intellect, and a sense of right and wrong.

“There is a part of Wonder Woman inside me and inside every woman, kind of that secret self that women share.

“We are all caretakers, giving birth, caring for our children and companions and loved ones.”

Wonder Woman ended in 1979 but has remained on TVs worldwide in reruns ever since – yet Lynda receives no royalties.

“None,” she sighs.

“Nothing.”

She signed a deal that assured her a share of the show’s “net profits,” but with “Hollywood accounting” after four decades the series has yet officially to turn a profit.

“I should be getting money but I don’t,” she says.

“But there is a resurgence of interest in Wonder Woman and there is my likeness on a new slot machine, a digital comicbook, dolls and figures, so I get a share of that.”

And Wonder Woman should see a bigger revival with the future release of the hotly anticipated movie Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, starring Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader and featuring Wonder Woman played by Fast & Furious 6 star Gal Gadot, a former Miss Israel.

“I hope that the film is good,” says Lynda.

“It is odd that it is an Israeli actress and not an American but she seems to be very pretty and I wish her well.

“Nobody has contacted me but I would happily do a cameo if that’s something that everybody involved wanted.”

Fans have attacked the movie for making Wonder Woman a subsidiary role, and screen siren Megan Fox said she wouldn’t want the role because Wonder Woman is a “lame superhero” – her super-weaponry comprising an invisible flying jet and a “lasso of truth”.

But Lynda says: “It’s not a bad way to reintroduce her that way.

“I think they are going to do a Wonder Woman movie afterwards, directed by a woman and written by a woman, as it should be.”

Like TV’s Batman star Adam West, Lynda felt the stigma of stereo typing as she tried to move on after playing Wonder Woman.

“That’s a tough one, always playing the heroine,” she laughs.

“But regretting it doesn’t advance you in any way.

“I’ve decided to embrace it.

“It’s part of my life.

“It could have been the last thing I ever did.”

Wonder Woman remains popular because it wasn’t about brawn, it was about brains

Lynda Carter

Instead, Lynda continues to work on TV movies and guest appearances, in addition to her singing and campaigning for breast cancer and bowel disease research.

She still keeps Wonder Woman’s star-spangled corset at home but insists she doesn’t slip into it for kinky nights with her husband.

“It’s pretty fragile at this point,” she says of the costume.

After the end of Wonder Woman, Lynda found her five-year marriage to her business manager Ron Samuels crumbling in 1982.

“I hope he forgives me, and I have forgiven him, because it was painful for both people,” she said at the time.

Her booze problem escalated after marrying second husband, lawyer Robert Altman, in 1984 and moving from Hollywood to Washington DC.

“I wasn’t an alcoholic during Wonder Woman,” she says.

“It’s a gradual process.

“I didn’t even start drinking until my mid-20s.

“I wasn’t dealing with my emotional difficulties in my first marriage.

“I didn’t drink during my pregnancies but I wasn’t really present for my two children, though my kids never saw me out of control.

“But when I had a drink I couldn’t stop.

“Most people have a drink and feel a little high but I’d feel nothing.

“My liver doesn’t process alcohol until I’ve had three drinks.

“Then I’d fall off the cliff or under the table.

“Most people with an addiction problem are terrified and don’t know if they can get out of it.

“It feels so dreadfully final.

“You’ve alienated people…” her voice fades away.

“It’s just devastating.

Lynda with husband Robert AltmanGETTY

Lynda with her husband Robert Altman in 2011

“I had a genetic predisposition for alcoholism.

“My mother and father didn’t drink but there’s a lot of it on my mother’s side of the family.

“It happened over a period of time.

“It’s not like methamphetamine or heroin, where you get hooked and that’s it.

“I didn’t drink all the time.

“But your body begins to fight whatever toxins are in your liver and over a period of time you begin to crave it.

“Finally my husband asked me: ‘Can’t you just stop this, for the children and for me?’”

His desperate pleas were enough to make Lynda enter rehab, sober up and reclaim her life.

“I try to help others and I’d like to take the stigma out of alcoholism.

“But I don’t struggle with it.

“I know I will never drink again.

“I’ve been sober 18 years.

“Now I’m focused on health, not perfection.

“I row my boat on the river, I swim, ski, walk, lift weights, do yoga and Pilates.

“I don’t want to be a weak, sick 90-year-old.”

And she admits having a little help from her friends Botox and Restylane.

“Yeah, but I don’t do a lot of it,” she says.

“I don’t have a frozen face like an old-timey nutcracker where the jaw goes up and down and nothing else moves.”

Lynda will need all her energy as she embarks on a US concert tour later this month, supporting her CD Crazy Little Things.

“I sing because I love it,” she says.

“People may come to my shows because they are curious about Wonder Woman but I hope they return because they enjoy my singing.

“My kids are gone, my husband works, I’m not one of those ladies-who-lunch – what else am I going to do?”

  • For all information on Lynda, her new CD and her shows go to lyndacarter.com.

More sober celebs to inspire us

 Please join our Facebook secret group for swans! Here is a sample of a recent discussion.
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Yep, Zoe Ball for me too , and Frank Skinner .xx

Photographic evidence of Robert Downey Jr’s sobriety journey

How he looks now and how he has changed since getting sober!

 

How he looks now and how he has changed physically since getting sober! Wowster!

rdj

 

 

A reader who calls herself Jennyfromtheblock commented about Downey’s recent Rolling Stone cover shoot:

I think the lighting on him makes him look good — good bones. This is also why his mug shot is so hideous, not to mention the sadness in his eyes.

There are three mug shots that always go up when there’s news of Downey: the Orange shot, the Black shot, and the Green shot.

I paint portraits, so I look at faces closely… And this face tells a great story…

In the orange shot (taken while serving time for a drug conviction) he looks cavalier: I’ve got this, I’m cool, it’s all gonna go away. It’s a joke, and he goes right back out.

The black shot (taken November 2000 when he was busted in Palm Springs for holding cocaine and valium) shows a ghost of determined denial in his face, a little wrinkle between the eyebrows that says (I imagine, from having been somewhere like this), Fuck these assholes; just fuck every last one. He was working toward the end of his first season on Ally McBeal; the actor who brought Charlie Chaplin brilliantly to life on the big screen hated playing to TV audiences, despite the fact (or maybe because of the fact) that his appearance on the show had dragged the show from its coffin back into the sunlight. People loved him in a show he didn’t give a shite about. He told The Guardian:

It was my lowest point in terms of addictions. At that stage, I didn’t give a fuck whether I ever acted again.

Also, he looks sick. Circles have appeared under his eyes; he’s pale, gaunt, with lines carved around his mouth. Anger and fear are eating away at his body.

The green shot was taken in April 2001, after cops found him walking barefoot in southwest L.A. Which is when the Ally McBeal producers fired his ass from the show. Which is probably what he wanted anyhow but didn’t have the clarity to go and get.

When you’re Not Sober, you don’t know what the hell you want. You know extremely well what everyone else thinks you ought to want: Lucrative TV role; good ratings; easy job after having been on the skids for a while; DON’T QUIT. Even if you hate what you’re doing.

In this shot, he seems to have given up. In 2008 he told Oprah about this time:

I finally said, ‘You know what? I don’t think I can continue doing this.’ And I reached out for help, and I ran with it…. You can reach out for help in kind of a half-assed way, and you’ll get it, and you won’t take advantage of it. It’s not that difficult to overcome these seemingly ghastly problems…what’s hard is to decide to actually do it.

Sobriety changes everything about a person. One of the most interesting pieces of evidence that a person is getting better is the evidence in his body—particularly his face.

The differences are pretty easy to see. And mug shots are photographed more unforgivingly than magazine shoots, but Downey has a very fine bone structure, which has retained its handsomeness despite the abuse it has endured. Most people lose fullness in their cheeks and lips as they age, but Downey seems to have been fortunate. I agree with Jennyfromtheblock:

Redemption is a lovely thing; Robert Downey, Jr. is just a better actor, the more he just grows up.

6 thoughts on “Sober life : Robert Downey Jr.’s face”

  1. Would love to be on your blogroll… and will return the favor.

    The great thing is how far he’s come from the mug shots… cheers G

  2. A good and interesting read — thanks! RDJ’s quote here parallels another battle I and many other people face: my weight. I’m fond of the expression that just about any diet will work as long as you follow it. The core problem is in finding a program you can stick with for LIFE. Being overweight is in many ways no different at all than having a drug problem, except the symptoms of fat are more obvious. It starts off small — an extra dessert here, a bag of chips there — then it grows until, once a person has become good and truly fat, reversing the process becomes a nearly insurmountable task. Very interesting — thanks much!

  3. i love this exploration into his mug shots. i’ve always loved rdj.
    on a personal note – my no. 2 son works for rl in malibu and rdj is a client of his and he says he is the real deal, generous, awesome. wears a ton of crystals. i love it.

    daisy

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Michelle Mone (Ultimo) now sober

http://www.express.co.uk/news/showbiz/561860/Michelle-Mone-marriage-split-two-bottles-of-wine

Michelle Mone on her marriage split: ‘I was drinking almost two bottles of wine a night’

SHE’S been very open about her devastating marriage split back in 2012 but Michelle Mone spoke today about drinking two bottles of wine a night.

Published: 15:47, Wed, March 4, 2015

Michelle Mone reveals heavy drinking after marriage splitWENN

Michelle Mone has revealed she was heavily drinking after her marriage split

The Ultimo CEO, 43, has revealed she turned to the bottle during when her marriage to Michael Mone broke down.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, she said: “It opened up a lot of wounds. I was drinking almost two bottles of wine a night.

“It was a problem.”

She added: “I had to cleanse myself of all that bitterness. I have stopped drinking and turned my life around.”

Michelle Mone reveals heavy drinking after marriage splitWENN

The stunning blonde has been very open about her feelings after the marriage

Michelle Mone reveals heavy drinking after marriage splitWENN

Michelle spoke to the BBC this morning about her new autobiography

Michelle has been quite open with the details of her marriage breakdown in her new book My Fight To The Top.

The mother-of-three revealed she trashed ex-husband Michael’s clothes, scratched his £120,000 Porsche Panamera and dosed him with laxatives.

Michelle suspected Micheal was having an affair with Ultimo designer Samantha Bunn, 34. Michael and Samantha are now engaged to be married.

Speaking about her life, Michelle added: “I thought material things like cars and houses make you happy but the truth is that you have to be happy on the inside.”

The star tweeted her fans after appearing on the show this morning, thanking them for all their support after her revelation.

She said: “WOW thanks so much everyone for your amazing comments re @BBCBreakfast Bye #Manchester now off to #Dublin”

Michelle divorced her husband in January 2013 and has since sold 80 per cent of her share in Ultimo.

Bradley Cooper – sober and gorgeous

bradley cooper

 

Bradley Cooper and Suki Waterhouse are giving up partying and alcohol together in order to fight the addiction that almost consumed the actor’s life.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, Cooper and Waterhouse officially came out as a couple at the SAG Awards. The couple has been dating since last year and even though the media has reported supposed problems in their relationship they are apparently very happy together.

At one point in his life Bradley Cooper was contemplating suicide while working the set of Alias around 10 years ago:

“If I continued it, I was really going to sabotage my whole life…. I would only work three days a week. And then for the second season, I got even more sidelined. I was like, ‘Ugh.’ And then next thing you know, I was like, “I want to f***ing kill myself.”

Ironically enough, after his recovery from drugs and alcohol abuse he became renowned as Phil Wenneck in The Hangover movie series. But just because Cooper’s characters are getting wasted doesn’t mean he’s imbibing himself. While his new girlfriend Suki has a reputation for wild partying to rival that movie, Waterhouse is apparently willing to give up wild nights for love according sources close to the 22-year-old:

“Suki isn’t drinking any more. She hasn’t made it into a massive issue, but she’s spending a lot more time with Bradley and his family and drinking isn’t something that goes on. She and Bradley are pretty serious and they’re enjoying being together. Drinking isn’t something that comes up.”

 

 

When Did Alcohol Become a Part of Everything We Do?

First in the Huff Post Healthy Voiceshttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-hudson/addiction-and-recovery_b_5022965.html

Let me preface this with saying: most of everything I did revolved around alcohol for years. I didn’t like being in social situations where alcohol wasn’t available. I would drink prior to going out. I would sneak alcohol if it wasn’t going to be served where I was going. I always made sure my bar was fully stocked at home. I drank on holidays and family functions. The only reason I ever agreed to go to Chuck E. Cheese with my nephews is because they serve alcohol. Vacations? Forget it. I drank from the time I got there to the time I left. I would have been the mother that had a coffee cup of wine at her kid’s ballgames. I would have been the mom to have the girls over for wine before a PTA meeting. I would have served alcohol at my kids birthday parties for the adults. I would have been the mom to drink a bottle or two at home every night just because. I could turn anything into a reason to drink. But I am also an alcoholic.

I see pregnant women drinking out in public often. I’ve been invited to several Huggies & Chuggies themed baby showers, where you provide the diapers and they provide the beer. Alcohol is served at most all of the major children’s music and theater shows. I know because I drank at Phineas & Ferb and Ringling Brothers. I see friend’s Facebook pictures of their kid’s birthday parties where all the adults have wine or beer in their hands. I know parents who get drunk at home in front of their kids almost every night or every weekend.

So, when did this become accepted as the norm? It certainly wasn’t like this when I was growing up.

Baby showers consisted of peanuts, tea sandwiches, cake squares and sherbet punch. I don’t recall alcohol being available at the circus. Is that really necessary? It’s two hours and you are most likely with children. Birthday parties were about the kids… not the adults. Doesn’t seem safe to have a house full of kids with a bunch of drunk adults. But, I guess I get it. A couple years ago, I drank at all of these events and would have been annoyed if it wasn’t available. But, then again, I am also an alcoholic.

I am thankful that I grew up with a Mom and Dad who didn’t drink. I can’t ever recall seeing my parents drink as a kid. I’ve never seen my Mom drunk, ever. I have only seen my Dad drunk once and I was 23 years old. My Mom would occasionally have a glass of red wine once my siblings and I were all adults. And by occasionally, I mean like one glass a week, if that. She would buy those mini bottles of wine that came in a four pack and would open one and drink half. She never bought a regular-size bottle because there is no way she would have drunk it before it went bad! As an alcoholic, that is something I can’t wrap my head around.

When my brother, who died from an overdose in April 2012, was trying to stop drinking in June 2011, my Mom stopped as a way of supporting him. She never made a big deal about it, but I noticed she stopped drinking all together. I told her recently that it didn’t bother me if she ever wanted to have a glass of wine or something and she said, “No, I don’t want any part of it. Alcohol has done a lot of damage to our family.” Alcoholism took the life of her son and then there’s me, the alcoholic. So, I can only imagine how she must view alcohol and what it has the ability to do to people… especially her family.

When I got back from rehab, I wasn’t sure how I would be in social situations. I wasn’t sure I would know how to act in a social situation without alcohol. I was so used to having alcohol as a social lubricant to get me through anything that I didn’t want to do or that caused me anxiety. I wasn’t sure how I was ever going to do a lot of things sober. For instance, my family decided that they all wanted to go to the Dixie Stampede at Christmas. Shoot me now, I thought! This sounded like an absolute nightmare. I couldn’t have imagined going to that sober! Old Allison would have had to be tanked to sit through it. But what I realized sitting there watching horses relieve themselves in front of us while eating a whole rotisserie chicken with my hands and drinking sweet tea from a plastic boot is — that these are moments with my family, especially my five young nephews — that I want to be present for. I mean, who would want to forget all that?! My nephews had the time of their lives. And these are the times that they will always remember about their childhood. Doing things sober isn’t going to kill me. And I have come to realize, I actually enjoy things I used to hate.

I missed out on so much from drinking. Even though I was physically there, I was never really present for a lot. And I am not even referring to the times I would black out or pass out and miss or not remember events completely. I am just talking about all the birthday parties, family dinners, vacations, holidays, or just random nights doing nothing with my family… all the times I drank just because I didn’t know how to be in situations without drinking.

It sometimes amazes me that I enjoy life so much sober. I don’t have anything against people drinking. I just think it’s sad that we as a society make alcohol a part of everything we do. I think some things should remain innocent and wholesome. Time with kids is one of them. I am thankful that my nephews have parents who rarely drink and are positive role models for them. I am thankful that probably only one of my nephews will remember his Aunt Al’s days of drinking. I pray every night that none of my nephews have the gene that is linked to addiction. But one thing I know for sure is that they don’t see any importance placed on alcohol from the most influential adults in their lives. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case in a lot of families and it wouldn’t have been the case in mine if I had not chosen recovery.

 

Wonderful Kristen Johnston – sober and happy

http://rehabreviews.com/afterpartypod-kristen-johnston/?fb_action_ids=1402487223396174&fb_action_types=og.comments

 

 

Kristen Johnston, the towering comedic actress best known for her role on “3rd Rock from the Sun,” may bring the laughs on TV Land’s “The Exes,” but in reality, the star has been battling some serious personal issues.

Johnston recently penned a powerfully honest memoir, “Guts,” in which she writes about her miserable school years, her rise to fame and, most stunningly, her addictions to drugs and alcohol.

The actress, 44, who has been working to establish the first sober high school in New York City, chatted with The Huffington Post about her new book and overcoming her serious struggles.

In “Guts,” you write about suffering a terrifying medical scare. What happened?
Five years ago I ended up — due to naughty living — with a gastric ulcer that I wasn’t aware of and it burst and I became septic, meaning I filled up with stomach stuff in my armpit. I was in the hospital for two months. That’s the short story; for the rest you’ve got to buy the book. Basically, the event is used to help tell my story of addiction.

The pain sounds as if it was unbearable.
It was. I’ve never even experienced pain like that. Trying to describe it in words was so challenging because I also wanted it to be me, which is funny. I have a lot of self-deprecation; I’m not a pitying person. It was also a very lonely process to write about that because it was so dark.

You’re an alcoholic.
Yes, and a drug addict.

How long was your addiction really serious?
I would say it was bad for six years, but really bad the last three. The thing that’s so complicated about addiction, which I hope I addressed [in the book], is that the nightmare is your friends and loved ones are behind door number one and your drug is behind door number two, and you will always choose door two. It’s not personal; it’s because you’re in prison. You can’t help it.

It was a slow, slow process. I call [my addiction] “Mr. Morphine” because it was like a toxic relationship. We dated for a week and then we broke up for six months, and then we’d date for another two weeks. It was like that until basically six years ago, when I was like, “Oh, alright, move in.”

There are so many different types of addiction and people kind of separate themselves from us; I’m not that different from you. I mean, I do have different brain chemistry than you. But I believe that if the right circumstances happen, like your child, God forbid, is harmed and you happen to get a migraine at the exact same time…

You’d drink yourself silly every night.
Exactly. Anyone has the capability for it. But I do believe there are some people that have a greater predilection. I’m the strongest person I’ve ever met; I can will things with my mind, or at least I thought so, and so the fact that I couldn’t navigate this on my own was shocking to me. I’d done everything myself. So I started to believe I could actually control things and the bottom line is I can’t.

That’s hard, that surrender.
I had a lot of shame, and that’s why it took me so long to get help because I did know for a good long while that I was in trouble, but I just kept thinking I would grow out of it. When I didn’t, that’s when I realized, “Oh my God, I’m really really an addict.” I was also embarrassed at the concept of me being an actual cliché — “Oh great, another actress on painkillers.”

The tabloids went nuts when you lost a lot of weight.
I was sober then. That was a really dark time. I was finally on the right path and yes, I did look terrible, I agree. However, I did give a statement where I told the truth. I said that due to late night living, I had a gastric ulcer that burst. I was in hospital for two months, had a large portion of my stomach removed, blah, blah, blah. Ever since then I’ve been sober and yes, I’m struggling to put on weight, but they would not print any of that.

I couldn’t believe the level of malice directed toward me. I thought once, “God, what if I was anorexic? This would be the worst.” Everybody knows anorexia is a disease that people struggle with and the fact that people were so cruel was shocking to me.

You write that you had a tough time when you were in school, something that many people can relate to.
I really was a loser; I’m not exaggerating. It wasn’t just that my height (6 feet) was wrong. I was very loud. I always said the wrong thing at the exact worst moment. They called me “learning disabled” even though I wasn’t. I had to wear corrective shoes, and everything I wore was totally ill-fitting only because my mother could not keep up with my height. Now I look at pictures of me then and I go, “What a cutie,” but back then I felt like a giant ugly turd. But you know what? It gave me everything I am.

You don’t want to peak in high school. That’s the whole thing and you just don’t know it then. I work with young high school girls at self-esteem workshops, and they are so unhappy. They’re cyberbullying each other; they just torture each other and the bottom line is you don’t want to be a rock star when you’re 12. You want to be a rock star when you’re 23 or whatever, just not 12.

sobriety quotes from celebrities

from alcoholic.org

Sobriety Quotes from Celebrities

Whether you are a celebrity or an ordinary person, drug abuse or alcoholism can affect you. There are many people who have abused drugs or alcohol in the past, and their sobriety quotes can be extremely important to those who are undergoing rehab.

  • Alcohol Abuse

    “The lesson is that you can still make mistakes and be forgiven.”

    Robert Downey Jr. is a well-known actor whose movies such as Iron Man, Tropic Thunder and Sherlock Holmes have graced many DVD collections. Despite his initial successes with Less Than Zero and Natural Born Killers, he started to take and abuse drugs. Between 1996 and 2002, he was regularly arrested on drugs charges. When asked about his addiction, he said, “It’s like I have a loaded gun in my mouth, and I like the taste of metal.” However, he also acknowledged that he has found success after his addiction through the support of his family, friends and colleagues in the film industry. He said, “The lesson is that you can still make mistakes and be forgiven.”

  • Ringo Starrwas the drummer of the phenomenally successful
    Alcohol Abuse

    “That’s all drugs and alcohol do; they cut off your emotions in the end.”

    Beatles, and for a period of around 20 years, he took a wide variety of drugs and drank a lot of alcohol. “I didn’t work or do anything,” he once said. “I wouldn’t go out, because you’d have to be in the car for 40 minutes without a drink.” However, he realized that, “That’s all drugs and alcohol do; they cut off your emotions in the end.” As a result, he started getting sober, and he now enjoys a successful career where he tours with his band.

  • Alcohol Abuse

    “Getting sober was one of the three pivotal events in my life…”

    Gary Oldman is an acclaimed British actor who rose to fame as part of the so-called Brit Pack, a group consisting of British actors who came to prominence during the 1980s. However, the death of his father lead to him drinking too much, and he found himself addicted. He wrote, “I drank for about 25 years getting over the loss of my father, and I took the anger out on myself. I did a good job at beating myself up sometimes.” However, Gary realized he had a serious problem, and he took the step of joining Alcoholics Anonymous and getting sober. He later said, “Getting sober was one of the three pivotal events in my life, along with becoming an actor and having a child. Of the three, finding my sobriety was the hardest thing.” However, he is now a teetotaler, and his recent films have been box office hits.

  • Rob Lowe is another actor who ended up as an alcoholic.
    Alcohol Abuse

    “Sobriety was the greatest gift I ever gave myself.”

    His career has had its ups and downs, and he is currently enjoying a long line of successful TV shows. He gained notoriety due to his recklessness and hedonistic lifestyle, particularly when he was caught in bed with a 16-year-old girl. However, he turned his life around and said, “Sobriety was the greatest gift I ever gave myself. I don’t put it on a platform. I don’t campaign about it. It’s just something that works for me. It enabled me to really connect with another human being-my wife, Sheryl-which I was never able to do before.”

  • Alcohol Abuse

    “My identity shifted when I got into recovery.”

    Eric Clapton is a legendary guitarist who drank and injected and smoked heroin. He eventually quit both in 1982 after his manager and friends intervened. He wrote this about sobriety: “My identity shifted when I got into recovery. That’s who I am now, and it actually gives me greater pleasure to have that identity than to be a musician or anything else, because it keeps me in a manageable size. When I’m down on the ground with my disease-which I’m happy to have-it gets me in tune. It gives me a spiritual anchor. Don’t ask me to explain.” He founded a recovery center in Antigua called Crossroads, which aims to help people with drug addictions.

  • Buzz Aldrinbecame famous as one of the first astronauts to walk on
    Alcohol Abuse

    “It’s been one of the greatest challenges that ever came along in my life; it was one of the more difficult things to do.”

    the moon. However, prior to the mission, he had been a pilot, and he was unprepared for the media storm that was about to hit him. After the Apollo 11 mission, his life became one of speaking engagements, publicity and the spotlight. His life became less structured and he found himself unused to the freedom offered by superstardom. He realized he had a problem and he went to a recovery clinic to be treated. He openly praises these organizations, saying: “I think recovery organizations are essential. I still participate in that because I enjoy the sharing that takes place and the friendship.” Having been sober for over three decades, Buzz still remembers his battle with alcohol: “It’s been one of the greatest challenges that ever came along in my life; it was one of the more difficult things to do.”

House Music Icon Celebrates Sobriety and a Remix on Life

from Huff Post Gay Voices

Posted: 01/06/2015 11:40 am EST Updated: 01/06/2015 11:59 am EST

As of the last day of 2014, recording artist RaShaan Houston’s Facebook fan page had just shy of 1,000 subscribers, a quantifiable measurement for a record year in which he performed at Chicago Pride and on the Hydrate Stage at Northalsted Market Days, struck a celebrity endorsement deal with Insurgent Couture clothing line, planned upcoming collaborative projects with legendary house vocalist Dajae and Motown fixture Mary Wilson of The Supremes, and hit No. 1 on Traxsource’s Jackin House Essentials chart with his reissued classic house hit “Be With You,” also available on iTunes.

2014-12-31-Houston_2.jpg
Kenn Doc Morris/2014

But since he reserves his fan page for promotional purposes, some of Houston’s followers might not know that Dec. 31 also marked seven months of sobriety for this veteran entertainer, who admits that consuming alcohol had been a regular feature of his life since he first started performing in nightclubs at age 21.

“I was doing the music thing,” he says. “I was a regular at the club, performing at all the clubs and traveling. I would drink regularly because I was always around it.”

Now he’s eager to tell the story of his journey to sobriety and how it paved the way for his recent successes in the hope that it will help others avoid some of the same problems he’s experienced as a result of substance use:

It might go in one ear and out the other, but I’m just saying it because of what’s happened in the past, this year especially: You’re going to come out of it if you really just believe you’re going to come out of it. It’s that thing of mind over matter, as corny as that may sound. People say it all the time. I really understand it now.

Houston turned 40 last March, but in a recent hour-long phone conversation, he didn’t mention his landmark birthday as a reason for choosing sobriety. Instead he credits his “second mother,” the late, great drag queen and pageant titleholder Tajma Hall, who for 11 years gave him one repetitive, powerful piece of advice: focus.

Houston says that when Hall died shortly afterward on April 19 from heart complications at the young age of 44, he was by her side in the hospital “every single day” for the week before her death, during which she reminded him, “If you just focus all your energy where it needs to be, on your music, on the people who really care about you, not just those pretending so they can get what they want from you, you’re going to feel so much better.”

At that point, Houston had already identified alcohol as the common denominator in many situations that had launched his life into a vicious downward spiral, and he’d tried to give it up at least twice before. He says Hall told him, “Don’t drink. It’s not the devil, but it’s not for everybody. I don’t think it’s for you right now.”

Then he blacked out the night of her memorial, which, as the oldest of a chosen family of about three dozen Hall “children” from all across the globe, he’d been instrumental in arranging, when he “went out to make the rounds” with friends and family after the service:

One of my friends had to recap for me everything that had happened the night before, which I still don’t remember now, and so that’s when I made the decision: “Clearly you’ve identified the common denominator as alcohol. You can never allow that to happen again.”

But blocking out uncomfortable feelings had been drinking’s main attraction for Houston, who admits to using alcohol as a coping mechanism to forget about the pressure of always being on stage in social scenes — even when he wasn’t performing. It was a key ingredient for dulling the effects of the end of a bad relationship and was highly effective in keeping him from accepting the traumatic losses of his brother in 2005 and his father in 2012, until the unbearable emotional weight triggered a complete collapse in December 2013:

I didn’t believe I was going to come out of it. I thought this was the final act, really. “You’ve lost this person. You’ve lost that person. This has happened, this setback. Your heart is broken. You’re done. It’s a laugh. Nobody wants to hear your music. Nobody cares about you.” Part of it is [that] when you’re in situations with people you shouldn’t be in situations with, they kind of drill that in your head.

Six months after his breakdown, he was back on stage at Chicago Pride, sober, anticipating the release of “Be With You 2014”:

That was the first time a lot of people had seen me since mid December. I had a totally different look. I’d lost all this weight…. For two years I was focused on other things that took away from my artistry, and I really didn’t think I had it in me anymore.


RaShaan Houston live on Hydrate Stage for Northalsted Market Days, Aug. 9, 2014

Houston’s sobriety is important to me not only because I can relate personally — two years ago I gave up alcohol for my birthday, and as for Houston, it was not the first time I’d tried — and not just because we’ve been a part of each other’s story since the night we met at The Pulse nightclub in Albuquerque during Pride in 1998, when he jumped off stage to serenade me and a few other clubbers personally with his then-unreleased first single, “The Right Way.” Houston’s development as an artist is intrinsically entwined in the club history of Albuquerque, where he grew up and went to high school after his evangelist father moved his family there from Houston’s birthplace of Pueblo, Colorado, in 1985.

So it’s no small thing that one of Houston’s lasting contributions to his hometown’s social scene before relocating to Chicago, “the Mecca of house music,” was his involvement in helping the owners of Effex Night Club — the city’s well-established premier dance club — open their doors for Pride 2010. As I wrote here on HuffPost in 2012, simply opening the new venue demonstrated the entrepreneurs’ commitment to providing the gay community with a welcoming place to dance and fraternize.

But Houston’s triumph over one of the primary elements of nightlife — intoxication — paints a revealing portrait of some of the unintended side effects of this sort of social setting:

It was how we socialized, inside and outside of the club, because I was always around club people. It’s not necessarily that every person in the club is a drinker. But the ones I happened to be around, that’s how we socialized.

This tendency in certain social circles is clear in some of the reactions Houston has received from others regarding his sobriety, and it’s one of the reasons that, these days, he only stays in clubs long enough to perform, not hang out:

Numerous people I’ve met just don’t understand it. There’s one person specifically who said, “I just don’t trust a person who doesn’t drink. Not even a little bit? Not even the holidays? Nothing? People who don’t drink are confusing to me. It’s so sneaky. Everyone else is drunk and you’re not? I just don’t get it.”

I feel that statements like this reveal the codependence that people employ in their alcohol use, since their consumption is determined by that of everyone else around them. Similarly, I see “I only drink socially” as a neon warning sign pointing to problem drinkers, especially those who deny that they have a problem for that very reason and hail it as their mantra every time they go out for a drink, for which they will be sure to surround themselves with others who drink, or will go ahead and drink anyway when they can’t. And I almost always observe those who swear by the one-drink rule ordering two or three before the night is done.

Houston realizes that choosing sobriety is more about gaining something than giving something up, and this keeps concerns of relapse well at bay:

I’m just really committed to being the best I can, now that I’ve got a taste of what I really can be like. There’s always flashes of that greatness in there, and then you finally remove everything and everybody that may diminish from that or keep you from that. Now that I’m getting a taste of that, it’s enough motivation for me to stay in this place.

For this iconic artist who says that winning the Grammy he knows is waiting for him will be the pinnacle of his life’s work — and for everyone else working toward their own Grammys — Houston’s inspiring story clearly illustrates the right way.

What a legend!’ Proud Ellie Goulding gushes about beau Dougie Poynter for notching up four years of sobriety as they walk hand-in-hand in Adelaide

She’s Down Under supporting her McBusted beau Dougie Poynter on tour, and Ellie Goulding proved she was more than just proud of his musical achievements on Sunday.

The 28-year-old singer, seen strolling hand in hand with her towering hunk in Adelaide, had earlier shared a snap of him with the caption: ‘This amazing man is four years sober today. What a legend’.

The amorous pair were spotting clutching each other’s hand tightly as they ambled around in shades ahead of his so-called super band preparing to support One Direction.

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Cool couple: Ellie Goulding and her McBusted beau Dougie Poynter walk hand-in-hand in Adelaide as she congratulates him for being four years sober

Cool couple: Ellie Goulding and her McBusted beau Dougie Poynter walk hand-in-hand in Adelaide as she congratulates him for being four years sober