Selling Sobriety the Paris Hilton Way

Are we really interested in helping Paris Hilton, or capitalizing on her distress?

Last Updated: September 3, 2010 @ 3:29 PM

paris hilton mug shotWhy do we set up addicts to fail, especially young good looking ones?  

Is being a "bad boy" or a "bad girl" a self-fulfilling prophecy for the Hollywood press, even to the detriment of that individual?

Are we really interested in helping Paris Hilton, or capitalizing on her distress?  Pain, regret, and self-incrimination sells papers, creates Internet traffic, and feeds our blood-lust to see those we put on pedestals teeter and fall.

The result of all the hoopla is easy to predict:  Paris Hilton will be once again banished to a very upscale rehab facility where she is destined to fail at sobriety.

Consider the distinct possibility that Paris fails at this attempt to sober-up and become a decent member of society.  According to statistics, she has a 1 in 20 chance of achieving the goals set forth by the courts. It can’t be argued that Paris violated laws that address possession of controlled substances.  What can be argued is if this perspective, played out in the media, will do more to help Paris get it together than it will to direct eyes to Internet ads and sell tabloids.

In other words, the modern day perspective of what our culture calls sobriety is relegated to an unproven, oft failed, and totally foreign set of standards that most of us will fail at living up to, and ultimately abandon. That’s not good for sobriety, not good for coping mechanisms, destructive to self-image.  But it sure does sell.

Whether it is a small amount of pot found on her in South Africa, or a vial of cocaine that falls from her purse in Las Vegas, Paris is a casualty of a lifestyle that had been promoted to her growing up, and that she now promotes thanks to the urgings of nightclubs and alcohol manufacturers that sponsors giddy and alcohol/drug fueled hosting that pays her so well. Paris knows what the 12-steps taught her, yet she is continuing to relate to these mind altering chemicals as many young people do. Addiction is not a black or white taboo as the courts might tell you.  There is no single path to sobriety.

Where sobriety is impossible, according to 12-step programs, you have failed.  If you have failed at sobriety, you have failed at life, you have failed your parole.  Are you connecting the dots?  Paris the party-girl is being set up to be Paris the incarcerated-girl, and society can’t wait to heap their revenge and jealousy for her lifestyle on that moment when a judge sentences her once again to jail.

Jail worked the first time, right?

Perhaps we should all take a lesson from Paris or offer her an opportunity to open up her own rehab. Is it that she has done something immoderate? Is it that we need some attractive celebrity to look down at or is it that we are afraid to look straight in the eye at what we call sobriety and treatment.

Addiction, like many other diseases, comes in many shades and colors. Diabetics learn to ingest carbs wisely.  Addicts in some cases may also respond to effective alternate treatments whose goals are not necessarily sobriety.  Managing one’s disease can be very effective, however it doesn’t sell that many tabloids.



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