This post is in response to Drew Barrymore, Sober Winemaking Newlywed by Stanton Peele

There's no percentage in telling people you used to be an alcoholic, but aren't anymore. Thus, I wrote about Drew Barrymore, who was America's most famous (and youngest) addict for a while. She was analyzed in People by a psychiatrist and adolescent addiction expert, Dr. Derek Miller:

"Although there is nothing available clinically to test for genetic dependence," Dr. Miller admitted, "parents should be very careful to keep their children off of all alcohol if there is a history of either alcoholism or biologically based depression in the family."

In other words, Drew inherited her alcoholism-addiction from her substance-abusing parents and forebears (like grandfather John Barrymore). 

Miller continued: "Abstinence is the key to all treatment." Although, he added, "the younger the adolescent, the harder it is for them to understand they have a problem."

You know, the problem that they were born addicts-alcoholics, a destiny they can never escape.

Drew went on to become a Hollywood success story, both appearing in and producing numerous films, and seems to be a contented human being in her personal life. She also famously became a vinter, developing her own brand of wine.

Here is a comment I received to my PT Blogpost, which elucidates recovery thinking in re cases like Drew's.  It makes clear why Drew—why no public person—would ever come out as being in recovery from recovery.  I intersperse my comments below.

If you're Still an alcoholic you can't drink in safety.. It's an allergy


I love Drew Barrymore. This is why I did a search on "does DB address her drinking and being a recovering alcoholic/addict?" She identifies herself as one for years and now she often admits drinking in articles about her life, so I'd like to know her thoughts. She clearly don't feel the need to address this issue, and she probably won't because there is NO SUPPORT for doing this in the medical or psychological community! It is SO DANGEROUS. she could lose EVERYTHING that is bringing her this glorious life NOW.

[Notice that this is a quite ambiguous statement—this warning could be about what would happen to Drew if she publicly rejected the recovery claptrap she was saddled with for so long, instead of being the doomsday prediction about her drinking it actually is.]

I've been living a fabulous life clean and sober for 30 yrs and that means not drinking and not doing drugs. Period. Sure. Occasionally you think, " I would love to sit on the deck in Newport and have a martini." But the reality is the name of my disease is MORE... I will eventually want MORE booze, more drugs, more business.. Even a wine company !!

[I've often heard that people in recovery speak strictly for themselves, and don't impose their views and experiences on others.  I find the situation to be otherwise, and that people like Paula dominate the recovery airwaves.]

Sadly, drew is a CLASSIC example of alcoholism raising it's ugly head and is out to ruin Her wonderful life. She has several wonderful successful businesses. She's happily married. A newly wed! BUT, She Still has to open her OWN WINE LABEL!?! Are you kidding me?? LOL

This is just like a recovering heroine addict deciding to grow Poppies.. She did this so she should have a GLAMOUROUS excuse to drink.. Sadly, it is HIGHLY likely she will drink more and more over time and her marriage will fall apart becuase of it...

[Drew was on the cover of People in 1989, age 13. She is now 38. Ordinary peope, not polluted by recovery thinking, might think she has really changed.

The odds of this are VERY high becuase of her history of alcholism.. And she should die [sic], end up in rehab again, her child could end up with the childhood she had for God's drinking worth the HIGH possiblibility of this? Absolutely NOT.. But DREW has to drink.. Becuase once you are an alcoholic you are one forever and it is NOT a death sentence!! I went to AA for MANY MANY years and it annoyed the hell out of me but I am still sober after 30 yeas and I wouldn't trade it for the world! I would go to a meeting in a heartbeat of I felt I wanted to drink or was emotionally vulnerable, believe me.

[Paula's analysis turns ugly here. She makes it as though her recovery is pegged to Drew's life—and that means (she actually says it, in a Freudian slip?) for Paula that Drew has to fail—to die—in order for Paula to preserve her own peace of mind.  And, remember, Paula loves Drew.]

She is an excellent example of how alcoholic and addicts sabotage out [sic] lives,  and also how the GOOD TIMES can be the most dangerous times for us to "forget" we are still alcohlic a and addicts...

[I believe Paula is saying that Drew is an example of her sabotaging Paula's life ("our lives")—a remarkably direct expression of her inability to separate Drew's case from her own situation and fate.]

Funny, I started searching for this HOPING I might find Drew was onto something about alcoholism that would tell me I COULD DRINK NOW!! Lol Nope. She's just in denial and I hope SOMEONE around her will sit her ass down and tell her the TRUtH about the huge risk she is taking with her life and her families.

[This paragraph in Paula's comment is actually the most fascinating.  She claims she examined Drew's situation to see whether she could learn a lesson from it.  But, instead—without her citing a single incident—she found that Drew CONFIRMED her worldview (LOL).

Paula should be included as a case study in alcoholism textbooks.

Stanton Peele has been at the cutting edge of addiction theory and practice since writing, with Archie Brodsky, Love and Addiction in 1975. He has developed the on-line Life Process Program, and has now written (with Ilse Thompson), Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addict and Reclaim Your Life with The PERFECT Program. He can be found online on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.

P.S. (July 27)

Recovering from Recovery

Submitted by Faith

The example of Paula, is right on! I still haven't "come out" to anyone from my old AA groups. I began drinking wine again about 2 years ago. I have had a couple of "over-drinking" episodes and could hear all the slogans in my mind. I have mostly been able to moderate, however, or just have stretches of abstinence. I still respect alcohol and the lure of self-medicating, but I feel much more balanced and psychologically stable now that I'm AA-free. I don't have the desire (maybe courage) to tell anyone but a few very close to me that I'm out of "recovery". I usually only drink with my husband or one or two others and just don't want to deal with the hostility and disbelief of recovery people. I do think they would talk openly about me in their meetings and hope for my demise- thereby reinforcing their rigid beliefs. It's amazing that AA is such a powerful influence in our society!

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