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.

Looking back.

This is a diary entry from back in september 2014, I had 21 days alcohol free.

I am a perfectionist and a bit of a control freak…These have been the things that in on one hand have kept me drinking for so long and on the other hand have helped me to stop.

Over my many years of alcoholism I have managed to maintain outward appearances, I’m not sure if anyone would even know. As I moved into my thirties and married and had children my drinking became focused in the home, I have a business, I was part of school committees, I volunteer, I bake, I exercise hard blah blah blah.

I worked so hard to keep all the balls up in the air, telling myself I can’t possibly be that bad when I’m doing all this stuff! Yeah right.

I have often used my parents as bench marks for my alcoholism…I’ve not been done for drink driving, so I am not as bad as them, I’ve not been to court, I’ve not been to prison, but it doesn’t matter what they have or haven’t done. I was fooling myself, I am the same…but I am determined not to have the same endings as them.

So, I am focusing my energy on staying sober…it’s my new ‘project’ I realise I can not just ‘stop drinking’ it has to be deeper than that.

Self care!! I have given up the school committee stuff, I have changed the focus of my gym training away from heavy weightlifting to Pilates and kettle bells, I am trying to relax more about the housework and cooking every meal from scratch.

I have been treating myself everyday… face masks, flowers, magazines, dark chocolate, a new nail polish, lovely bottles of elderflower drinks. Using the money I would have spent on wine, spirits and crisps which I worked out to not far off a twenty quid a day!

I have immersed myself in reading books and blogs, listening to podcasts.

I have already found so much out about myself…and it’s only day 21.

Oh and something that keeps my mind on this sober future is re reading about the middle stages of alcoholism…exactly where I was and it frightens the hell out of me.

 

 

Smorgasbord

by Ruthoz

‘Causes’

• The disease model ¬- characterised by helplessness, the disease is chronic (always present and incurable)
• The psycho/social model – characterised by poor choice making, personality issues, lack of self-discipline in challenging situations
• Genetics – some of us are born predisposed to addictions (but don’t necessarily develop them)
• Environment – our family, friends and workplace influence our behaviours

‘Treatments’

• Counselling
• Group support (of which AA is the best known; based upon and an advocate for the disease model)
• Medication
• Hypnotherapy
• Books, diets, retreat programs, other commercial ‘cures’

My history

I first became sober in 1991 after 18 years of abusive drinking, and remained so for five years. For the first six months, I went to AA daily, including an intensive three-week rehab. I still didn’t get it though, and eventually irritation with the ‘power greater than myself’ issue drove me away. Apart from that, they all smoked non-stop and the coffee was vile. (Despite the fact AA has detrimental effects on some, there are ideas I have taken from there into my own sobriety).

However, life was a very definite ‘then and now’, and as such, my new life just took off. I started my master’s degree, reacquainted myself with chocolate bars and found a strong personality (oops!). The now was to be preserved and pursued at all cost. And cost it did, as I lost my partner to someone needier. The new me wasn’t as acceptable! Full of optimism I battled on and eventually settled down again. This time the man in my life didn’t understand the alcoholic person I will always be. And the alcoholic person jumped at his argument – hey, maybe I am cured, and can in fact have just one drink! Within a few months I was back to drinking again – heavily, secretly, disastrously. Sigh, AA got that right. Read and learn my friends, that was to last for another 15 years.

My current sobriety began on November 13th 2013. It was a day like many before it, that of being too sick to lift a glass, let alone drink from it, feeling all the self-revulsion, remorse and the feeling – here we go again … I made many attempts to stop drinking again and desperately wanted my old life back. This time I found on-line support, and made friends with people in similar circumstances. I was able to experience the understanding of the AA meeting attendees without the philosophy and dogma. Now I can speak with my new friends daily, and at all hours, as some are on the opposite side of the world. I have travelled and met with them. It’s my own little community and we are supporting each other and ourselves.

My plate
Group support has been vital for me. I need to be reminded daily that I have issues with alcohol and cannot touch it. The disease model works for me. Trying to control my drinking was a miserable pastime dogged by fear of failure and a desire for more. It dominated my life whatever the quantity, and simply is not worth the risks involved. I am comfortable accepting that I am a person for whom alcohol is not possible at all. There is far too much to lose anyway. The label does not bother me. It’s a good shorthand. The politically correct version would be ‘I am a person with alcoholism’. Too wordy. In a social situation I usually say, ‘No thanks. I have problems with it.’ And leave it at that.

I have tried medication. But if you believe what AA tell us about the cunningness of alcoholism you can work out for yourself what happens with medication. Either it isn’t taken, or one simply drinks more and faster to break through the effect. I have used Naltrexone when I have felt vulnerable – with mixed results. For me it’s nothing or all, and I don’t want all again, ever.

As for counselling, I find that a bit too trite and convenient. My life has no deep dark secrets. I am no more nor less confident in social settings than anyone else. My childhood was happy. I can do all their tests and answer all their questions, they are pretty obvious. No light bulb moments there.

I haven’t read books about fixing alcoholism in three weeks, though there are plenty of those around. There are plenty of diets too. Let’s just say I am a cynic, and if the research hasn’t been done, I am not spending big bucks on something to make someone else richer. Making money from our misfortune is, I think, immoral anyway.

So my advice is to pile your plate up with as many samples as you fancy. Try a bit of everything. Don’t be afraid to try something new and unfamiliar. Find out what approach, or combination of approaches, works for you. And stick with it.
22.02.2015

Ruthoz

Best alcohol blogs – can you recommend extra ones?

 

First posted on:

http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-alcoholism-blogs#1

Do you have others to recommend?
Find Information, Support, and Resources

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism is a big problem everywhere. In fact, almost 4 percent of deaths worldwide are associated with drinking alcohol, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. If you’re fighting alcohol addiction, or if you want to help someone you care about, read these excellent alcoholism health blogs.

Check out the best alcoholism blogs of the year to learn how alcohol affects the body, and find stories of relapse, recovery, and living life alcohol free. If you’re battling alcoholism, these blogs will provide support and help you take the important—and brave—steps towards recovery.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) looms large in the global research community. So it’s no surprise that the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a child of the parent organization, is the largest funder of alcohol research in the world. This site has just about everything there is to know about how drinking affects people.

Learn about the basic health effects of alcohol and read in-depth reports on the latest science. The NIH has a mandate to improve the health and wellbeing of all people. This site is a good start for any alcoholism questions you want answered.
Recovery Reflections

Some people might poke fun at daily affirmations, but they really work. Certified coach and addiction counselor Tim Welch publishes uplifting quotes, poems, and stories offered by people in recovery and their loved ones, as well as images of calming and inspirational landscapes, on Recovery Reflections.

Besides the blog, you can follow this flowing stream of inspiration on many social networks. That means that unless the entire Internet is broken, there’s no excuse for missing out on these daily gemshe Spirit of Recovery

Check out The Spirit of Recovery if you’re not quite ready to attend an AA meeting in person. Blogger Ron is a 57-year-old recovering alcoholic. He’s been using the program and philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous for over five years.

The blog tells Ron’s personal story of recovery, as well as his own interpretation of each of the 12 steps and what they mean to others. This is highly recommended to inspire and motivate anyone through recovery.
The Discovering Alcoholic

The Discovering Alcoholic is a collection of engaging blog posts including essays, stories, apps, and videos. All the materials share the goal of helping addicts and alcoholics discover themselves. And best of all, the site prescribes a healthy dose of humor to keep things loose.

Blog editor Gavin has been clean and sober since 1994. He’s involved in many aspects of the recovery community. Packed with thoughtful and contemplative tips, this blog is a supportive place to spend a minute, an hour, or a day.

Drinking Diaries

As site founders Caren and Leah like to say, alcohol can be a loaded topic. They created Drinking Diaries as a forum where women can share drinking stories—everything from drinking at parties and ceremonies to abstaining—in a safe environment. Many of the stories are also available in a book called “Drinking Diaries: Women Serve Their Stories Straight Up.”

Addiction Inbox: The Science of Substance Abuse

Blogger and freelance science writer Dirk Hanson maintains Addiction Inbox: The Science of Substance Abuse. This is a popular spot to learn about scientific and medical findings concerning drugs and alcohol. Posts include interviews with neuroscientists, drug policy czars, social science professors, and many others.

Hanson synthesizes complex medical information to make articles on drugs, addiction, alcoholism, and treatment therapies easy to read. In addition to the blog, Hanson is the author of “The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction.”

Guinevere Gets Sober

Follow the recovery and insights of a mom with a successful career on the blog Guinevere Gets Sober. This award-winning, top-ranking addiction blog offers news and straight talk. Topics include the meaning of addiction and common assumptions about drug abuse. Guinevere seeks to build a place where all addicts and their loved ones feel welcome.

Learn about research in the addiction and recovery space and read reviews of books and media. The author’s moving personal posts connect how practices like yoga and a best friend like a dog can support recovery.

The Immortal Alcoholic

If you’re married to an alcoholic, you know what it’s like to love them no matter their challenges. The Immortal Alcoholic describes one woman’s experiences of living with an end-stage alcoholic, her husband of 40 years.

Written with clarity, honesty, and passion, this blog expresses the rarely spoken truths about loving and living with an alcoholic. It can be difficult to read about the real limitations of what support family, friends, and the medical community can provide, but you’ll come away knowing that you’re not alone.

Crying Out Now

Moms—and those who love them—will feel at home reading Crying Out Now. This blog and web community is dedicated to helping women talk about addiction and recovery. The four women who edit it are sober who seek to break down the stereotypes of denial surrounding addiction.

Sections include a holiday survival guide and “The Bubble Hour,” an internet talk show dedicated to recovery. Anonymous posts are allowed on the blog, and the community areas are dedicated to open and supportive communication.

Sober College

“Well educated” takes on a completely new meaning at Sober College. This combined treatment center and educational campus serves young adults age 17 to 25. Program staff and students maintain the Sober College blog. It features all the latest news on addiction science.

Sober College is one of the only places in the world offering on-site college accredited courses with a recovery-centric curriculum. Students receive high school and college credits. Located near Malibu, Sober College includes activities like surf therapy.

I’m Just F.I.N.E. — Recovery in Al-Anon

Though not himself alcoholic, Syd is the adult child of an alcoholic, and he’s also married to one. A recently retired scientist living on a small coastal South Carolina farm, Syd writes eloquently about his journey to serenity. Read I’m just F.I.N.E. — Recovery in Al-Anon to discover what it’s like to recover from alcoholism by using supportive programs.

Sober Julie

Julie is the mother of two girls and the wife of a “very patient” man. She started her blog, Sober Julie, to recover from alcoholism and a car accident. Now, she challenges herself by providing information, inspiration, and innovation to those in recovery.

Posts include mocktail ideas, recovery stories, sobriety tips, life reflections, and much more. Read and be inspired by Julie’s thoughts on everything from Christianity to the best chicken recipes.

Alcoholic Daze

Follow a truly courageous path on the blog Alcoholic Daze. Here, London-based Addy describes coping with alcoholism and the early death of her husband. Addy deadpans her daily heroics combining classic British wit with insight.

In her blog, Addy touches on what symptoms to look for to gauge the declining health of an alcoholic in your life. Her site includes useful contacts for alcoholism in the United Kingdom. She’s received a long list of awards for sharing her inspiring stories.
Last 100 Days Alcoholic

Read the frenetic and entertaining stories on Last 100 Days Alcoholic if you or someone you love is having trouble facing up to the realities of alcoholism. The name of the blog comes from the author’s idea of giving himself nearly four months of “last drinks” before finally quitting for good. He presents the pain and hilarity of trying to make that happen over the years with great wit and grit.

With many success stories and some relapses, the blogger points out that blogging can be a great help for those not yet ready to face a counselor in person. And another benefit: no appointments are required.

Mrs. D Is Going Without

In Mrs. D Is Going Without, a New Zealand wife and mother of three sons documents the richness of life without alcohol after nearly 20 years of drinking. The clever Mrs. D has no problem poking fun at herself. She recounts her happy memories of both drinking and getting sober.

The blog has many sections, including one for each of her first 12 months of sobriety. Mrs. D also posts a list of books she reads, as she is now happily addicted to recovery memoirs rather than alcohol.

Read for Help and Courage

Unlike the treatment for a sprained ankle or a scraped up knee, there is no first aid kit for a drinking problem. Alcoholism often inflicts damage without the patient even acknowledging the source of the problem. That’s why these great alcoholism blogs are so helpful. From the medical effects of alcohol to stories of recovery, any reader can find the information and inspiration they seek.