Alcoholism In The Spotlight

Jon Hamm, most famous for starring as the whiskey-swilling, chain-smoking advertising exec Don Draper on Mad Men, recently checked out of rehab for alcohol addiction, according to TMZ.

AMC’s Emmy-winning drama is known for depicting heavy drinking and smoking by its characters, who work in a Madison Avenue ad firm in the 1960s. The show has been critically lauded for offering a more realistic, nuanced picture of alcoholism, particularly among its antihero, Don Draper.

Beer Vintage
The perception of alcohol consumption has changed over the last few decades!

It has also been criticized for glamorizing substance abuse, and encouraging viewers to drink and smoke. “I have read that watching the show makes some people at home want to smoke and drink,” said Hamm in 2012. “I think, well, knock yourself out.”

Alcohol Abuse

Alcoholism, like smoking, is a physical addiction affecting the physical health, mental health, and social, familial, or work-related responsibilities of an individual. Alcohol dominates an alcoholic’s life and relationships. This can be extremely detrimental to a celebrity’s career, personal life, and public life, and can threaten to impede their success.

Truman Capote

The famed American novelist and short story writer, whose works include Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, publicly struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction. He underwent treatment in the 1970s, but his health was so compromised that he died in 1984 at the age of 59. Capote’s substance problems were part of what kept him from completing Answered Prayers, his legendarily unfinished novel.

Billy Joel

Famous pop/rock musician Billy Joel has admitted in the past to struggling with alcohol abuse in his adult life. Drinking has, apparently, gotten in the way of his career and personal relationships. Fellow musician (and frequent touring partner) Elton John begged Joel to get treatment for alcoholism. In an early 2011 issue of Rolling Stone, John is quoted as saying that Joel needed to check into “tough” rehab, and that alcoholism was getting in the way of his life and career. Meanwhile, Joel denies that he currently has an alcohol problem.

Stephen King

writers
25 famous writers who battled alcoholism and drug abuse.

World-famous horror novelist Stephen King struggled with drugs and alcohol for a considerable period of time. In 1987, King’s family and friends staged an intervention, dumping evidence of his addictions in front of him. King immediately sought help and quit all forms of drugs and alcohol in the late 1980s. He has been sober ever since.

Robin Williams

The famous comedian abused cocaine and alcohol early in his career, but quit when friend and fellow comedian, John Belushi, died of a cocaine and heroin overdose in 1982. When he began slipping into alcoholism again in 2006, he immediately checked himself into rehab. In mid-2014, Williams again admitted himself into a rehab for treatment related to his alcoholism. He committed suicide on August 11, 2014 in his home in California at the age of 63. Neither alcohol or drugs were involved in this death. Williams had been suffering from Depression and Parkinson’s disease.

Betty Ford

Betty Ford, the wife of former President Gerald Ford, suffered from alcoholism and addiction to painkillers. She raised public awareness of addiction by confessing to her long-time battle with alcoholism in the 1970s. When she finally recovered, she established the Betty Ford Center to help other sufferers overcome their substance and alcohol abuse.

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson has publicly admitted to battling alcoholism for all of his adult life. He was arrested in 2009 for driving under the influence. In a previous 2006 arrest made on the basis of suspected drunk driving, the arresting officer claimed he made anti-Semitic remarks. In the past, Gibson has sought professional help and checked himself into rehab for his alcohol problem.

Lindsay Lohan

TV - alcohol
Alcohol Portrayal on Television Affects Actual Drinking Behavior

The young starlet, like many child actresses, has publicly struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. Lohan has to work hard to stay sober and has already had one failed attempt at rehab in 2011. In 2010, she was forced by court order to wear an alcohol detection bracelet to monitor her alcohol consumption. As of early 2013, she was still on probation for drunk-driving charges.

David Hasselhoff

Since his starring role on Baywatch, David Hasselhoff has unfortunately become notorious for his alcoholism. A home video of a drunken Hasselhoff went viral in 2007, receiving airtime on countless news programs and across the Internet. His visitation rights with his daughters were temporarily suspended, forcing him to seek serious help for his addiction.

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway is one of the world’s most famous literary alcoholics. He drank heavily throughout his life, including the years he spent writing his masterpieces. He suffered from severe mental and physical problems as he aged, aggravated by his drinking, and eventually committed suicide at age 61. His story is, in many ways, a sad one, but despite mental illness and alcoholism, he penned many iconic works of fiction before his passing.

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15 thoughts on “Alcoholism In The Spotlight

  1. I agree that there are many shows that can almost appear to “symbolize” drinking and smoking making them O.K. and socially acceptable. It is truly a shame as one of my favorite authors is Ernest Hemingway who so sadly wrote the quote; “write drunk and edit sober”. It is truly a shame that something so poisonous has become so acceptable in society.

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    1. I have never heard that quote – about writing drunk …. how sad. Recently, I have noticed marijuana being portrayed as “totally cool” and “harmless” in the media. To each his own, however I recently overheard “weed” mentioned in a video my 7 year old was watching. Keep in mind, I homeschool my child and monitor everything he watches. It’s unbelievable that this drug reference got by my strict barrier. It’s sad.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Marijuana is a terrible “gateway” drug. There are many people in my therapy right now that tell me constantly that they don’t drink, but they smoke weed still. It is called a gateway for a reason. They are not really quitting drinking in my eyes, they are merely replacing the drinking with another recreational drug. It really is sad. Smoking pot is becoming so mainstream that the references are all over the media. There are dangers in the media of today’s world that children must be protected from and it sounds like you are very active in trying to keep your child out of that bad stuff. I have friends that still smoke pot and they waste just as much money on it as I did when I drank. It effects their lives and psychiatrists say that all it needs to do to be classified as a disease is “effect your life”.

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  2. For those who refuse to believe that alcohol and tobacco are gateway drugs, you’re approaching the controversy from the wrong angle. Of course it’s true that not all who try alcohol and cigarettes will end up with a needle in their arm but THAT is not the issue. The real question is this; how many who are hooked on crack, heroin, meth and so on first smoked or drank? My opinion says pretty much 100%, so enough of those arguments. During the OJ trial a woman was going to testify that very few men who abused their wives ended up killing them. Duh; of course not. I think they realized the opposite angle was too damaging to the potential testimony. How many convicted killers of their wives and girlfriends were previously known to have been physically violent to their significant others? All of them I would wager. Same principle here.

    Here’s the real problem I’ve seen with booze. When I’ve talked to people who smoke (or do any other drug other than alcohol) They are fairly quick to admit that they should quit. They already know their lives are not as valuable or fruitful as they should or could be. But take those who ingest anything from a can or bottle and the denial rate goes through the roof. I was lucky. Admitting I was a drunk gave me a great excuse to avoid all kinds of responsibilities. In the end it was a surprise advantage. Alcohol is truly special. It’s without a doubt the most widely available and socially acceptable drug on the planet. Perhaps this is where our minds interpret it as less deadly than others.

    How often do you hear “I’ve never used drugs but I do drink.” Happens all the time.

    The time has come to change the social definition of alcohol. Only when it becomes a personal immoral choice (rather than a politically incorrect one) will consumption decline.

    What do you think?

    With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

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  3. Truly one of the most influential people in the spotlight right now is Nikki Sixx. He has spoken in front of politicians about his struggle with depression, drugs, and alcohol. He took the time to reply to something I randomly posted on Facebook. That’s when I realized more needed to be done. When it got 3,000 responses and most were from Bipolar Alcoholics asking me questions or their families and I couldn’t reply, I cried. He has been generous with his time and honesty not many people are these days including my own family. Thank you for reading a few of my blogs, it is greatly appreciated.

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  4. Hi, do you follow me? You liked several of my posts but don’t follow as far as I can tell. Just thought that was strange. The Jon Hamm thing is very surprising. I was listening to a podcast yesterday, from around 2012 with him and when the interviewer asked if he was a boozer he joked about that as if the idea was ridiculous and then concluded in a serious voice ‘no, I’m not that guy’. Plus he always seemed very grounded.

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    1. I follow you now! Thanks for reaching out. I am always amazed how so many “alcoholic” actors pull it off. I watched the Mad Men episodes very closely and I could not see any indication of John Hamm’s drinking. Maybe he was a binge drinker. I was an unemployable sloppy drunk so I always assume that other alcoholics can not drink and function at their jobs. John Stamos has been in rehab the last few weeks, he is another guy that appears to “be grounded”. I guess they are good actors all the time!

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