MY NAME IS ROGER…& I’M AN ALCOHOLIC

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I actually found this courtesy of LISA SCHWARZBAUM at EW.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of ROGER EBERT’S sobriety. I didn’t even know that he drank.

I don’t read ROGER as often as I used to. But I should. He’s certainly one of the finest and best known movie critics around. He did win a PULITZER, after all.

He’s also responsible for moving film criticism into the forefront of our culture with his highly successful television show.

In this exquisitely moving and illuminating post, he discusses – with great frankness – his situation at the time and what actually caused him to stop drinking.

Everyone has their own personal moment of clarity.

My truth?

I’ve always been a passionate, driven, extreme personality. Very black and white and hardly anything in between. If I love something, I want to immerse myself in that experience and do it over and over and over again.

I never smoked or did any drugs. Never even tried the soft ones.

Men were far more problematic. I liked them. A LOT. But I’ve never found just anyone attractive. So it was certainly not a hardship to say no to anybody I didn’t want.

With the men that I did want (from the age of 16 on), I could really go to town.

Drinking was similar. I never drank socially until I was in my early twenties. I discovered that there were different varieties of alcohol that I didn’t care for. I didn’t like wine. Sweet champagne and various kinds of cocktails are definitely my forte.

I never overindulged. I have gone close to a year without drinking. On the other hand, I could effortlessly knock back a few at a lounge or at a fancy dinner. But you definitively know when the next one coming up will send you over the edge. I always stopped then and there.

So no getting drunk and no hangovers. During the majority of evenings that I choose to drink I am completely content with one or two. My drinking has been one of the few areas in my life where I’m actually moderate.

So it’s fortunate that it all shook out that way…

ROGER EBERT is a national treasure. I’m very thankful that he’s still with us…and still writing.

You can read what he has to say here

2 Responses to “MY NAME IS ROGER…& I’M AN ALCOHOLIC”

  1. I admire Ebert’s honesty in his blogging lately. I think his brush with death in the last few years (indeed apparently he found out later during one of his operations he was technically dead on the table according to his wife) has really put him in a reflective place.

    I don’t put much stock in his opinions on new releases and his writing doesn’t have the same snap as it used to unless he’s deeply jazzed about something, but like you he was the guy when I was a kid who opened me up to the thinking behind movies.

    I don’t do drugs and I don’t drink very often anymore, but when I do drink, I have a difficult time wanting to stop. Like Roger says, that first drink makes all the ones after it too easy so I can relate.

  2. Craig, I understand exactly what you’re saying.

    COMPLETELY.

    But I was a very old soul when I was a kid. I always understood (from the time that I was in grade school) that everything that you do – good and bad – has consequences.

    My attitude always was: There’s plenty of pain and difficulty inherently built into this existence regardless. Most of it (no matter what we do) we can not escape anyway.

    So why in the hell would you want to make it harder on yourself?

    Most emotionally healthy people grow up with goals and dreams. We all want to live fulfilling lives and get what we desire on some level. Everybody has their own ideas about what sort of career they want. Some people want to marry. Some individuals want a family. Almost everyone wants to be in a loving relationship that’s long term and successful.

    EVENTUALLY.

    But an addiction of any kind will make all of that almost impossible to accomplish. It will ravage your spirit and your sanity. All of your money will be gone.

    And what will you have to show for it? NOT A BLOODY THING.

    So that’s why I was always careful. Some people are deliberately self destructive. They either have hellish childhoods or they have something seriously wrong with them from infancy. Perhaps a certain number of people are born with a predisposition to various kinds of addiction.

    (But then again, I’m not so sure. My birth mother told me that I had all of those alcoholic genes racing through my blood. I barely drink at all. However, I never grew up with those relatives. Could that have made a difference? I doubt it. But who knows?)

    Then there are individuals that think that they’ll be all right and they fall into a downward spiral. They don’t even really understand what happened to them until it’s either too late or their lives have been severely compromised.

    It never made sense to me. Life is tough enough as it is. Why on earth do people make it harder on themselves?

    There’s so much in life that’s pleasurable and worthwhile in spite of all of the useless grief. I just never wanted to louse that up for myself.

    Poor ROGER. He’s really been through hell the last few years. I have a friend that had the same kind of cancer he has and she never had a recurrence. I believe that she’s cured and I hope to God she is.

    ROGER has not been that fortunate and it just breaks my heart. But he seems as cheerful, upbeat and determined as he ever was. He’s such a lovely man.

    Let’s hope that he gets better and that he’s here for many more years. I’m positive that he has much more to accomplish.

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