By Joy Sutton, hostess of conversation about addictiona American Addiction Centers online talk show
If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that we all need a support network. With the Covid-19 lockdowns keeping us safe but isolated, so many people have suffered from acute loneliness and depression.
A sense of belonging — like being part of a community — is important to all of us, but especially so for those battling substance use disorder (SUD). During treatment and recovery, having a supportive community around you is essential to success. A strong network of people close to you provides not only accountability, but inspiration, motivation, and hope.
That goes for everyone – including celebrities who seem to have all the resources and access to the best treatment programs available. Without this community, even the richest and most revered celebs wouldn’t be where they are today.
Over the past year, a number of high-profile individuals have come forward and shared their recovery stories with Addiction Talk, the online talk show hosted by American Addiction Centers. So many have acknowledged the crucial role that the support of their family, friends and fans has played in getting — and staying sober.
Chef Chris Scott, finalist on the show “Top Chef”, says finally winning the trust and support of those he loved made all the difference in his sobriety.
“I remember for the first few years of my sobriety people thought it was me [lying to] them because they saw me sober for six months, or they saw me stop drinking for a week or two… [they assumed] ‘Okay, he’ll drink again.’” It took almost two years for the people close to me to really believe that I was doing anything right. Now it’s these people who stand in my corner and are my strongest support. My wife, my kids, my pastors—all these people who really hold me up and hold me 100% accountable.”
Actor Shaun Weiss, best known for playing goaltender Greg Goldberg in The Mighty Ducks says it was the support of his fans that gave him hope and motivation.
“I was in a jail cell and the deputy came up to me and said, ‘Hey man, your fans are really cheering you on.’ And I’m like, ‘Me? What are you talking about?’ I didn’t know what was going on…I was stunned as I sat in a cell…and that was the little flicker of light for me. Knowing that there are people out there who care about you. And finally, I felt an obligation to get better for them. I didn’t want to disappoint these people because they were invested in my recovery.”
Rockstar guitarist Wes Geer, founding member of the band Hed PE, says that even after treatment, it’s important to have that sense of belonging through a network of support — no matter where life takes you.
“[When I was touring with my band] I went to AA meetings in India and Japan and Hong Kong and Germany and Paris and England – whatever. And that’s cool – especially for people who wish to fit in…why would you do it alone? You have a built-in network…that will support you no matter what. So I went to a meeting… and that’s how I stayed connected. I was scared? No, because I had a solution… I knew what to do. I knew I should take to the streets and not try to pretend you were normal. I am an alcoholic [and I have to] Keep working on my program.”
Christy Carlson Romano, former Disney series star Even Stevens, Kim Possible and Cadet Kelly says the internet and social media have been an essential resource for her to help her stay connected with support.
“The cool thing is that we all connect on #soberTikTok [is that] There is a lot of content that is made for people. There are apps like JoinMonument…where you can even find all kinds of third-party home care. It’s fantastic that we can all come together.”
Olympic champion Greg Louganis says it’s so important for those living in recovery to know they are not alone.
“When I first sobered up, it was just me and my therapist. And once I found the rooms of AA, I had this other support. And that was really wonderful and something I really needed because you’re not alone. And there’s so many of us out there, you know? In addiction we do [emotions] into monsters. If we just open up and share, then we take the power out of that fear… You’ll find that as you open up, you’ll have so much more support.”
Addiction is a disease that does not discriminate. No amount of fame or success can stop you from developing a SUD. These stories prove that no matter who you are — how famous or adored by your fans — addiction can be hard to beat, but with a supportive community behind you, it’s definitely possible