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What a week in the recovery world....

First, Justin Bieber was arrested for drag racing in the wee hours of the morning. When he was pulled over by the police they realized that he was under the influence. He was a arrested for a DUI, and they found cocaine which he denied was his. Unfortunately, this event received a lot of media attention. Justin was then dissected by the media. Does he have a problem? What sort of repercussions will the judge place on him? Either way, one of America’s pop stars is in the news...he is a partier and has all the money in the world to do what he wants to do, regardless of the law. 

Friday, January 24, Elizabeth Vargas came out and admitted that she is an alcoholic. She has had enough of hiding and is out telling the world that she has a problem with alcohol. She could not just have one glass of wine, she could not stop and her justifications were no longer working. Elizabeth’s admission was huge and I commend her for her strength and conviction. This story was covered by many media outlets. It was all over Facebook and online magazines. 

I can relate to both of these stories. Yes, I was arrested when I was still a teenager for a DUI. I had gone out and had way to much to drink and drove my car resulting in an accident and arrest. At the time, my Father dragged me to rehab. My mother than took me out of the rehab hours later claiming that I was not an alcoholic. Hence in the end, I had no real consequences from my actions. It was really just a bleep on my radar. My drinking continued...

It continued till I got to the place that Elizabeth described yesterday. I couldn’t control my intake. I no longer had a choice.  If I had one drink I had to have 47!!! I could not stop once I started. I wanted to have control so badly, but something in my head would click, my brain chemistry is different than other people. I have an allergy. I have no choice. I cannot stop at one drink and I tried and tried on many occasions. For me it is none or all, I cannot drink!!! Alcohol takes over my life. 

Unlike Elizabeth I did not go to a rehab, I went to AA and did what the people suggested. I got a sponsor, someone that had a lifestyle that I could relate to. Someone that “had what I wanted”. I went to a lot of AA meetings. I can now say with certainty that any habit you want to change takes 90 days and I took that 90 days seriously. I needed to stop and luckily I did on August 14, 2006. 

What is going on with Justin and Elizabeth? How is alcoholism looked at? For years an alcoholic was looked at as someone with a moral problem. Someone that should feel shame and disgust. Is that changing today? 

I hope so. Justin was glorified for being drunk. He follows good company in that Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen have had top billing in newspapers and news stories for their problems with addiction. I have never heard anyone say, “It is so sad these celebrities have a disease”, “they need help”.  Instead their behavior is glorified. It is so sad...if these same people had cancer and weren’t treating it than the media would question that but, alcoholism and addiction are still stigmatized as a social/moral problem. 

Did Elizabeth Vargus give us addicts some hope? She did for me, I have never been ashamed of my disease. I can’t drink! When I did, I made a mockery of myself and in the end the shame was killing me. I had no control over my consumption. Kudos to Elizabeth for admitting that she has the same problem as so many others and instead of keeping it a secret she opened up her life for all to see. If she could help just one addict out there struggling today she will make a difference!!! 

Go for it Elizabeth and I wish you the best...and as we say, welcome to the club!!! 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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