“29 years ago today, I was a broken man. I finally summoned up the courage to say 3 words that changed my life, I need help. Thank you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety.”
Last week Sir Elton John shared a public post celebrating 29 years of Sobriety, the heartfelt message was shared showing his AA chip – a chip that represents more than just years, but a symbol of one’s courage and strength, a chip that is relatable to many.
Sir Elton goes on to say about the pitfalls of his life, that we all experience downfalls, sober or not sober, but he can now deal with them rather than running away, hiding or using addiction as a cover up or a way of dealing with difficult situations. Sir Elton continues to talk about communication, something he felt he couldn’t do when he was an addict but has learnt over time, if you don’t talk about things you are never going to find a solution.
When a public figure opens up about their struggles in an honest and empowering way, it shows that regardless of your fan base, the number of hit records, all the glitz and glamour – personal problems still exist and even though deep emotions can perhaps be ‘masked’ no expensive lifestyle can solve what is truly felt. We are all human, and humans carry complex emotions – In summary, Sir Elton’s three words “ I need help” are the three words that all of us have in common, why? Because at some point, we all need to use them.
The celebrity / addiction connection isn’t unknown to the average person, so what is it about being in the public eye that can lead celebs down this path? Is it the life style? The drinking and drug culture that comes with it? Or is it because addiction affects so many, that when it is faced with a celebrity, being in the public eye, simply means it gets more spoken about?
Dr Dale Archer the medical director for psychiatric services at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital discusses the link between performing and the highs that are felt, If you talk to anyone who performs at all, they will talk about the ‘high’ of performing. And many people who experience that high, report that when they’re not performing they don’t feel as well. All of which is a good setup for addiction.” Suggesting, the dopamine fix and the need to keep this up after performing. He goes on to say….“People also get high from all the trappings that come with fame,” he says. “The special treatment, the publicity, the ego. Fame has the potential to be incredibly addicting.”
Self esteem also plays a role, Sir Elton mentions the pressures of ‘not feeling good enough’ and regardless of successes, sometimes people still feel they haven’t done enough and fill an empty whole by using – again, leading to addiction.
Truth be told, addiction as a disease is complicated and so is the reasoning behind it. Fame or no fame, the need for using varies and is subjective. However, what is vital for all is the level of support. In reference to addictions or a depletion in one’s mental health, interventions from health care professionals will be required. Adjacent to this, support from managers, co workers, home environment or even fans being mindful when making public comments, all partake, in their own niche roles – contributing to the overall picture of one’s health.
What can be said regarding celebs and addictions is the publicity of openly discussing sobriety, it provides people with hope. It encourages people to know that if they did it, then so can I. Alongside this, it is also important to remember that if you are still struggling, seeing others succeed may do the opposite – fill you with a sense of failure. However, not everyone will succeed first time or even their second, it is important to keep going, rise above and do your very best in beating your addiction. It also highlights how very demolishing addictions can be and provide awareness. As individuals, we need to not label people as ‘they’ve gone off the rails again’ or have stigmas against rehabs, instead they should be seen in a light of helping people, and quite simply can save lives.
At Ibiza Calm we understand the importance of relating and hearing the stories of others. Each week we hold speaker meetings where guests arrive and share their stories with the group. Last week, we welcomed Matt Willis and our previous recent guests have included Russell Brand and DJ, Luciano.
Thank you to all those who continue to motivate and share their inspiring stories, Thank you to all the selfless people who continue to help and support, and thank you to Sir Elton John for publicly sharing his Journey.