Saturday, June 22, 2013

If I was Lindsey Lohan I'd Be Dead

From what I can see, when a wealthy person, trust fund kid or celebrity needs to clean up, they ask around to find out the best luxury rehab, not necessarily the most effective.  I'm all for luxury and getting sober comfortably, sure why not, but I have to say I was floored when I visited a few of these  facilities.

Gorgeous ^ ^ ^  That room is $2000.00 a night.  Here is my room at the The Bacara I recently went to for a little R&R.  $450.00, and check out that view.

Now of course, massages, gourmet meals, horse-back riding, boat rides, all of that was extra. The therapy however was free. I love to hang around at the bar and talk to people. I don't drink, usually they do, so there is a combination of stranger intimacy plus broken down inhibitions on their part.

There is something about talking to strangers that I find highly therapeutic. This works on planes too.  We discuss our lives, histories, marriages, children and by the time we are done with our cranberry drinks, I'm often ready for a swim.

Okay, that's Estelle Warren. But she was there, and there's another connection. Tons of celebs at The Bacara.  Josh Duhamel and Fergie, Heidi Montag is constantly there, Katey Perry, Britney Spears, Beck, Carrot Top.  It seems whenever I go, a gaggle of actors are there but I never know who they. Later, during my therapy session at the bar someone tells me.

Barfly: Did you see Courtney Cox? She's at the pool with Jennifer Aniston.
Me: Is Ryan Gosling here?
Barfly: No. Why?
Me: Then I don't really care.

I got married here long before it was even a place, so whatever. The paint was still drying, the plumbing wasn't completely done and the lights were not yet installed properly thus the concussion.

I digress.

Thankfully lots of celebs stay sober, or maybe they had had enough and really wherever they went would not have mattered. Because we also see plenty of high profile people that stay in $58,000 a month rehabs that don't stay sober. There is a cycle with addicts, the Kelly Osbornes, Kim Richards  Brooke Mueller, Brittany Spears, Tara Reids, Lindsey Lohans, one of the Olson sisters, list too long.

But for the sake of getting to a point, I'll use Lindsey because she's presently in rehab.  I googled to find out she's staying at The Cliffside, a place in Malibu that did not make the super luxury list, not sure why. It has all of the lux stuff and offers everything from private chefs to Red Bulls. I found this article which actually made me sad and I hope it isn't true but who knows.  She looks great actually and I'm rooting for her.

Demi Lovato put it best: "Being a celebrity is dangerous. Nobody says no."

And in this day and age, not even rehab. They will cater to whatever need you may have because they need the clientele. I do believe most of them are genuine in their efforts to help, and like all businesses some are just predatory, trolling around for celebrities to stick in their facilities, free of charge, in order to get press.

Many of them are owned by people who toiled in real estate, telemarketing, bill collecting, and simply saw a great business model. I want to believe this is the exception, so I will.

Troll: Lindsey, stay with us free of charge. I have a limo waiting outside.
Lindsey: Well, I need to take Adderall.
Troll: No problem. Whatever you need. We're like the Four Seasons but with some therapy and drugs.

Then he flashes his hand and escorts her to the car.

Okay, all of that aside, lets go back. I had my run- in with substances when I arrived in LA post college. I had been coming here during college, meeting all sorts of industry types and being 19 I wanted to act older and be cool like them. Much of that involved doing tons of cocaine on movie sets.

By 21, I was washed up, done, burned out. Thankfully I graduated from college first, so my GPA record was in tact. Coke was trendy. And it seemed to blow from rooftops like collected soot. Expensive soot.

But I didn't have the resources celebs or trust fund kids have, otherwise, I would have done so much cocaine I would've died. So really it was my lack of status that saved my life.

I took a bus with a paper bag of clothes to a rehab. One of the first in Los Angeles.  They pulled me in, made me feel welcome, gave me a room with a cot and served me a bowl of cold soup.

We got up at 6am, had meetings all day long, and I never felt safer in my life. This rehab was immersed in the 12-steps, and I needed all of them. I have no idea of the "god" that removed my desire to drink because I'm not religious, but I will say I never again had any interest in drinking or drugs.  Then again, after I "graduated" I clung to AA meetings like a hipster and their fedora.

There were no drugs, no horses to pet, no pools to swim in. And there were also a lot of celebrities, but no one cared. Nary a paparazzi. Most of these people are still sober.

But I worry for addicts today. Many rehabs now have this thing called MAT or medically assisted treatment. Since I take many girls to these high end rehabs, and not so high end, here is what that means. Lots and lots of drugs.

Though many of these facilities say they tailor the drugs to the need of the client, it just isn't true.

I was at one of the ritzy ones in Malibu, that looks like Cher's mansion, so lovely it even has it's own page on Houzz.

My friend was out of "detox"  in two days which seemed absurd given she was shooting heroin every hour. But they had her so many drugs, she was essentially in a coma. She went there because the intake dude told her this:

"The initial detox takes two or three days and with our tailor made medications it will be painless. Like a common cold at best."

Really!?!?! Here is one of their pictures of an anonymous kid that just went through detox after seven years smoking crack.

"Silly me. After three days, I'm good." ^ ^ ^

My friend thought he was seriously cute so went straight away. In my experience, someone coming off anything after two days might look more like this.

On my visit, we decided to see what the pills were, so she kept them in her mouth, and we looked them up since they allow computers.  Her list of pills were identical to everyone elses because we did a quick poll, with the exception of a few "pure" alcoholics who were also allowed benzos to take the edge off.

And that stuff you take on ships for sea sickness.
Also some drug that pumped up the anti-depressant effectiveness.

Looking up the pills and what they were was exhausting,  but basically a handful of anti-seizure medications with anti-depressants and mild stuff for pain. There was a ton of other fill pills thrown in here and there, but the above is a kind of basic dope wheel. AND you take these pills (all of them) 3X a day. The whole lining up at the nurses window things. The idea behind all this; to be sure patient doesn't have a seizure and die while in facility. Get patient off pills before leaving. Give patient proper medication to take after they leave.

I suppose it would be interesting to see if there is a higher recovery rate now with all the fancy rehabs, or if things have stayed the same.

I'm pretty old school and believe that without a support system, it's not possible to maintain sobriety whatever the situation. How can you?

Sure you talked about you mom or dad or underlying whatever. But those things don't go away once you check out.

I still talk about my childhood all these years later. I write entire books.  Nothing magical happens when you "graduate."

So I continue working with young girls because they trust me and I can't bear the idea they are being misled in anyway.  They stop taking the rehab pills after a few days, grind it out and try to find a support group so they can then start the actual work. And in my opinion, nothing works better than one addict talking to another. That with a professional therapist who understands addiction go a long way. But first you have to be willing.

Otherwise, just go to the Four Seasons. I'm taking care of a young girl right now who is too afraid to commit to sobriety, wants to get off drugs, so she holed up at the Four Seasons. I sit with her, we swim, talk and you never know. She might come to a meeting. Meanwhile, she's been clean for nearly a week.

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