It’s definitely daunting that the 12 Step industry relies on its own ineffectiveness and failure for its survival. But if there was ever any hope that we could get serious about tipping the balance in favor of evidence-based treatments, it has been shattered by the fact that faith healing and perpetual relapse make great TV.
You can see the trailer for the new Vanguard documentary about “Recovery High” right here. (I love the part where the principal tells the kid, “You’re exactly where you need to be. OK?”)
Northshore Recovery High is a school outside Boston that is dedicated solely to students dealing with drug and alcohol addiction. This is the story of a year in the life of that school, as told through the eyes of three students and the guiding force behind the school, Principal Michelle Lipinski.
“Recovery High” premieres on Monday, August 8 at 9/8c on Current TV.
“Vanguard” is Current TV’s no-limits documentary series whose award-winning correspondents put themselves in extraordinary situations to immerse viewers in global issues that have a large social significance. Unlike sound-bite driven reporting, the show’s correspondents, Adam Yamaguchi, Christof Putzel and Mariana van Zeller, serve as trusted guides who take viewers on in-depth real life adventures in pursuit of some of the world’s most important stories.
Dr. Drew Pinsky is going to take a long time off from helping troubled stars. It has been reported that “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” will go on indefinite hiatus after the current fifth season is wrapped up.
“The decision was made to put the show on hiatus because Dr. Drew Pinsky is just too busy to continue to do the show,” a source connected to the show told Radar Online. The addiction medicine specialist indeed has a bunch of other shows to keep him busy, including “Dr. Drew Show”, “Loveline”, “Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew”, “Celebrity Rehab Presents Sober House” and upcoming “Life Changers”. Link.
SOMEWHERE near the middle of “The _______ With the Hat,” Stephen Adly Guirgis’s lacerating portrait of a couple trapped in the self-inflicted prison of addiction, it becomes clear that simply putting the cork in the bottle will not fix everything. Or anything, really.
So opens a review in The New York Times written by David Carr, himself a “recovering addict”, 12-stepper, and author of his own addiction memoir. Thus it shouldn’t be surprising when he goes on to describe the main character, Jackie, as a:
ball of id who is doing his best to stay sober, one day at a time.
“Ball of id”, is of course a pejorative here which backs up a diseased/deterministic view of people with substance use problems (Corrected). He continues about Jackie:
….he is smart enough to know that if he continues to use mood-altering substances, he will be back in jail, or in a mental hospital, or, if things get really wobbly, buried in a box.
Who didn’t see this coming? Anthony Weiner has checked himself into treatment for “sexual addiction!”
We all know what will happen next.
After he leaves rehab, Weiner will make the tearful apology to his constituents and wife on television. Whether he then leaves his office or stays, he will have joined the growing number of celebrities, politicians and ordinary Joes who have come to see bad behavior as a “disease.” He will become “powerless.”
In my 20 years of treating addicts, I’ve never seen anything else that comes close to the 12 steps. In my world, if someone says they don’t want to do the 12 steps, I know they aren’t going to get better. — Dr. Drew Pinsky
When he first went into a coma, America’s Favorite Anthropophagist, Dr. Drew, denied that there was any connection to the addiction that he “treated” Conaway for:
As the troubled 60-year-old actor fights to survive, Pinsky denied that Conaway’s substance abuse was behind reports of a coma.
On Friday, the doctor tweeted: “Just visited Jeff Conaway. He is stable & looks like he will recover from his pneumonia….Not an OD, like press is alleging & certainly not dead.” He also criticized Conaway’s manager for asserting that Conaway was comatose, when in fact, according to a Pinsky tweet: “He’s in an induced coma…a Propafol drip.”
The reports I’ve been reading seem to corroborate this. They’re not indicating that his pneumonia was brought on by any substance abuse. So, either Pinsky is privy to information that no one else has right now, or just took the low road when faced a choice between taking some responsibility for fucking Conaway up further and making Conaway’s death all about Dr. Drew. In response to the news about Conaway’s death today, Dr. Drew says:
“I’m saddened to report he has succumbed to his addiction, thus far we have no evidence of an intentional overdose,” Pinsky tweeted on Friday after Conaway passed.
Similarly, when Mike Starr died, Pinsky tweeted (Doesn’t Pinsky have a mom? Who tweets condolences?):
“Devastating to hear of Mike Starr succumbing to his illness,” he posted on Twitter. “So very sad. Our prayers are with his family.”
Cramming a bunch of mentally ill substance abusers into close quarters and instigating cage matches has been working so well for 75 years. What’s going wrong here?
Well, here’s a shocker. Andy Dick is in trouble again for crossing the line, this time with a comedy fan in Texas, who alleges in a new lawsuit that the outrageous performer made his private parts public, then forced them onto the patron’s head.
In his latest headline-making incident, the 45-year-old star is accused of pulling down his pants, thrusting against a table before urinating on a public display at the Newport Beach Film Festival last month.
Organisers of the annual event, which takes place about an hour outside of Los Angeles, say they are considering filing a lawsuit against Dick.
Last year, he was charged with sexual abuse over allegations that he groped a bouncer at a West Virginia bar.
In 2008, Dick was arrested in Murrieta, California, on suspicion of drug possession and sexual battery, for allegedly grabbing and pulling down a 17-year-old girl’s tank top and brassiere.
In 2009, he attempted to get help, by appearing on Sober House, a Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew spin-off focusing on a sober living environment.
Dick approached Dr. Drew Pinsky to ask for help with his addictions and agreed to enter the Sober Living house.
In one episode, the troubled star explained that his drinking led to many of the public incidents for which he had become notorious, and had ruined many of his relationships.
In 2010, Dick was arrested at a bar in Huntington, West Virginia, on charges of sexual abuse after reportedly groping a bartender and a patron.
Earlier this year, in January Dick was thrown out of the AVN Awards, a pornographic movie awards ceremony, after witnesses say he repeatedly groped and stalked adult film actress Tera Patrick and drag queen Chi Chi LaRue.
But a broader idea is this — if addiction is a medical disease, why are Dr. Drew — and especially CNN’s Laurie Dhue and Jeremy London, an ex-star TV patient Dhue interviews along with Dr. Drew — so down on Charlie Sheen? People don’t get down on cancer victims.
Really, the AA model — and Drew Pinsky’s updated synthesis of medicine and AA — are actually intensely moralistic and judgmental temperance holdovers. One never sees Dr. Drew speak on television about the need for methadone (or heroin) maintenance, or clean needles, or (heaven forbid) safe injection sites or wet housing for alcoholics — so-called harm-reduction techniques that could be seen as reasonable derivatives of the idea that addicts and alcoholics suffer from an incurable disease.
Salon writer, Drew Grant, just posted an article called “Why it’s time to shut down ‘Celebrity Rehab’”, which I was hoping would be about The Obvious. It’s not, though… He takes the position that, basically, it’s awesome, but Dr. Drew jumped the shark when he started bringing in frivolous people who suffer from Celebrity Narcissism (can someone please put a moratorium on this word?), just to boost his ratings. Now the show is just all over the place and it makes no sense anymore, because the meaning of addiction is sort of up for grabs (which is an interesting result — one that perhaps the writer should linger over a little longer).
Former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr was found dead of a drug overdose in Utah yesterday. The 44-year-old had been a part of Dr. Drew’s 3-ring VH1 circus “Celebrity Rehab” in its 3rd season, a fact that will provide ample fodder to the show’s many critics.
But Mike’s death isn’t the reason Dr. Drew needs to pull “Celebrity Rehab’s” plug. If every recovery center had to close down after a former patient relapsed and died, we’d have no facilities left. Addiction is a real disease, and while treatment helps, it is by no means a cure-all.
Former Alice in Chains bass player Mike Starr, who was on the third season of “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew,” was found dead in a Salt Lake City home on Tuesday, the Salt Lake City Police Department has confirmed. He was 44.
Dr. Drew Pinksy, host of “Celebrity Rehab,” responded to Starr’s death by tweeting Tuesday, “Devastating to hear of Mike Starr succumbing to his illness. So very sad. Our prayers are with his family.”
Starr appeared on the VH1 reality series’ third season, which aired in 2009, with a cast that included Tom Sizemore and Heidi Fleiss. He was in desperate need of help: His first appearance included him being treated for a large sore caused by shooting up heroin.
The musician was arrested in Salt Lake City last month for felony possession of a controlled substance. According to police, he had Xanax and the painkiller Opana in his possession at the time of his arrest.
A spokesperson for the Salt Lake City Police Department said the police answered a call at 1:42 p.m. on Tuesday and found Starr’s body. Cause of death is pending investigation by the medical examiner.
Starr’s father told TMZ, which first reported the death, that it was “a terrible shock and tragedy.”
Could Dr. Drew Pinsky be following Charlie Sheen off the rails? Recently the “Celebrity Rehab” host claimed that Sheen was “in an acute manic state” — a public statement which teeters on the bounds of psychiatric ethics (more on that after the jump). Moreover, Pinsky — contradicting his own previous statements about 12-step programs being critical to recovery — told TMZ that Sheen, who denounces 12-step, “has got a point” and that “their success rates aren’t that great … but it DOES work when people do it.”
Dr. Drew’s assessment of Sheen may well violate a principle of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) ethical standards known as the Barry Goldwater rule, which was adopted after psychiatrists diagnosed the presidential candidate in a magazine article as “paranoid” and “narcissistic” and questioned his mental fitness for office — without ever examining him in person.