LC Van Savage
Hello, My Name is LC, and I Am…..
Now let us not get too hoity-toity about Robert Downey, Jr. So he slipped again. So what? Sure, celebrities, as everyone knows, are supposed to be these bellwethers, flawless idols, demigods, all knowing, all seeing icons of wisdom to whom we should always look up, whose very words must be followed and listened to with reverence and awe, especially when they jabber about themselves on late-night TV. But they really aren't prophets or seers or erudites, and many aren't even particularly bright, so to follow their personal sagacities would probably be folly.
So here, shockingly, we have a celebrity who's proven by falling off the drug wagon once again, that he is none of the above. Well, even the local papers say that this is not an unusual occurrence with someone who's struggling along the recovery path. They climb on board that wagon, slip off, get back on and slip off again. I think what's to be honored about them is that they keep getting back on. The ones who can't or won't are the ones who alas, are perhaps beyond hope. Downey isn't beyond hope because he does keep scrambling back on board. One day he may even stick there.
Since I've never used drugs, I personally can't attest to how compelling they are to use, and to be unable to do without them is something to which I really can't relate. I don't even smoke. I don't even drink, so can't possibly pass any judgment on the pressing need for folks to "cheer the inner being" with that third highball by 9 AM.
But I can relate to compulsive behavior. I have an unwholesome obsession with milk chocolate. Believe me, with my eyes taped shut and after having been spun about 100 times at top speed, I could easily stroll about our town and locate all the milk chocolate emporia up and down our noble main boulevard, and could effortlessly navigate into the interior of each place where that great delicacy is sold. I could enter the shop, find my way to the display and could select exactly what I want, take it to the register, and pay for it with exact change before ever I removed those eye tapes. I would be on very familiar ground.
I am in no way comparing my passion for milk chocolate to the truly awful and pressing need to shove stuff with odd street names up my nose, into a vein, or down my throat. I am not that flippant about the dreadful problem of drug abuse in our world. I truly can stop my habit, and the only withdrawal symptoms are that I maybe spend a bit of time scrounging the house frantically for a forgotten piece of chocolate, even if stale, white, hard or sandy. Doesn't matter. But, if after ferocious searching I realize there is none about, I won't leap into my car to go buy some. Where I live the stores don't stay open all night anyway.
So you see, I for one cannot judge the Robert Downeys of this world. Sure it's easy for us to tsk out a series of loud tsks, to shake our heads in righteous disbelief, and to look superior, trying to convey that we would never do such a thing as to start taking drugs again, as he did, especially after having served time in jail.
But I wouldn't do that. Because you see, even if I served time in the pokey for my addiction, the day I got sprung, even with my pockets bulging and jingling with my license plate earnings, and before the ink was dry on the release papers, I would be high-tailing it to the local chocolatier to spend my hard earned-loot on their best MC. I'd be hooked again and gratefully.
So you see, I understand in a tiny way about that wagon falling off and getting back on stuff. Let's forgive Mr. Downey and see if he can try later on, and perhaps succeed. I am compelled to be sympathetic to people who can't drive out the devil and kick the habit after the first few tries. I'm one of them.
LC's book "To Norma Jeane with Love Jimmy"
written with Marilyn Monroe's first husband,
is at local bookstores.
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org