So normally I try to be all snarky on my little site here, but I’m about to go serious on y’all. Just a warning.
The VH1 marathon has long been one of my greatest loves. I will watch the most ridiculous, pointless drivel ever produced simply because I can get a whole season in one day. Half an episode of Flava Flav and my whole day is shot. I now harbor illicit feelings for “Noted Fashion Photographer Nigel Barker” and his sexy accent. Thanks, America’s Next Top Model.
In an effort to take back my weekends, I have been avoiding Vh1 like the plague. (Although, are they doing the World Series of Pop Culture any time soon? I want to enter a team called “Lisa Frank and the Rainbows.”) However, I have stumbled across what I think is valid documentary footage hiding between Bret Michaels and Chachi.
My new show, Sober House, is a continuation of Celebrity Rehab, which I never watched. Dr. Drew, who I have loved ever since he did Lovelines with Adam Corolla, is the host. (OOOH – I just looked Dr. Drew up on Wikipedia, and he won 40 gallons of Sunny D and a year’s supply of Turtle Wax on Wheel of Fortune in 1984. There’s your fun fact for the day.) Sober House takes graduates of the Celebrity Rehab and provides them with a place to live as they ease back into sober living. Hence the title.
I didn’t watch Celebrity Rehab because I really thought it was, well, tacky (for lack of a better word) of VH1 to exploit addicts for my viewing pleasure. And possibly detrimental to the health of the cast. This way lies Danny Bonaduce, you know. But now that I have come across Sober House, it’s the most gripping thing I’ve ever seen, and I think if more people would watch it, the anti-drug movement could learn a few things.
Jamie’s Soapbox A: Sober living itself is a topic not often covered in the mass media. Rehab is covered, and covered, and covered some more. In fact, I think rehab has become a topic most people just tune out, it’s become a joke because so many celebrities (as well as “regular” people) walk through various treatment centers as if they had revolving doors. I think part of the reason treatment works for so few people is the absence of focus on sober living. The massive task of attaining sobriety in a rehabilitative facility is so easily ruined upon completion of the program because the patient often winds up trying to fit his new sobriety into his old life, old job, old friends, etc. Part of the last Sober House episode followed the cast members as they attempted to go clubbing in LA while sober. And they were just LONGING to get wasted. It was a constant temptation for them, and I’m not sure some of them didn’t have a few drinks, at least. Imagine how much harder it would have been for them without having the safety and the structure of the Sober House as a return destination. That’s a recipe for disaster. I think many addicts would have a better chance at recovery given the intermediate step provided by VH1 for the Sober House cast members.
Jamie’s Soapbox B: The Sober House folks are not playing around. They aren’t editing for censors. Well, I mean, they probably ARE editing for censors, but that only means there is some truly unbelievable stuff going on behind the camera, because the events they are showing are pretty harsh. The second focus of last week’s episode was Steven Adler, who I think was actually kicked out of Guns ‘N Roses for drug abuse. Do you realize how solidly blitzed you would have to be to have AXL ROSE kick you out the door? Axl Rose??? Adler not only showed up at the Sober House high and was found with drugs on his person, he then snuck in some more dope and proceeded to get trashed, resulting in an arrest. Adler was beyond trashed. He was obliterated. He was rude, belligerent, and wholly out of his mind. I think the Drug Free advertising folks need to be in on this. I think the reality of what you look like when you are obliterated is much more likely to push people away from the line or the needle than a kitschy ad campaign. There’s a commercial running against cigarettes right now with a cowboy singing “No you don’t always die from tobacco” through his Stephen Hawking fake-voice box. Has this made me put down the Camel Lights? No. I think much of the addict population feels the same way as the infamous “this is your brain…this is your brain on drugs…..any questions?” ad campaign from several years ago, and all the ones that followed it. The way to keep people from becoming junkies is not to make a sly ad poking as much fun at the situation as it does preach about it. The way to keep people from becoming addicts is to make them realize that this is what being an addict is: (I got this from VH1)
Your brain on drugs is not a frying pan and an egg. Your brain on drugs is Steven Adler.