Eminem’s ‘Relapse’ Explores His Drug Addition and Rehabilitation

photo of Eminem - March 2009 press release

Rapper Eminem’s first new album in 5 years, Relapse, explores his relapse and attempts to escape the trap of drug addiction after treatment at a drug rehabilitation center.

Eminem: ‘I wasn’t ready to get clean’

On the subject of his treatment, Eminem explained: “When I landed myself in rehab in 2005 I felt like I wanted to reassess everything. I remember sitting in rehab thinking, ‘Is this what it comes to, really?’.

“I was like Bugs Bunny in rehab, Bugs Bunny walking in the room. The second you walk in the room…

Get Clean, Come Back: Eminem’s Return

IN late December 2007 a depressed, writer’s-blocked, pill-popping, opiate-addicted Marshall Mathers, better known as the multimilllion-selling rapper Eminem, overdosed on some new blue pills someone gave him — they were methadone — and collapsed on his bathroom floor. Public statements covered up the reason for his emergency hospitalization and detox, claiming the problem was pneumonia. A month later Mr. Mathers had ramped up his habit again.

But the overdose scared him. Early last year he hospitalized himself, went through rehab and started the full 12-step program of a recovering addict, complete with meetings, a sponsor and a therapist. Mr. Mathers, 36, says he has stayed sober since April 20, 2008.

Far from concealing his addiction battle, he’s making it the center of his comeback. The cover of “Relapse” (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope), the first new Eminem album since 2004, builds his face out of pills, and in some songs he raps, as directly as a rhymer can, about how drugs nearly destroyed him.

Eminem Got Rehab Help From Elton John

When it came time for wisecracking tough-guy rapper Eminem to kick his addictions to the curb, he looked to an unlikely source for help — music legend Elton John. “I came home from the hospital the second time and I realized that I was giving up drugs forever,” Eminem reveals in the June/July issue of Vibe. “I reached out to Elton ’cause I knew he had a problem before.”

He was like, ‘Don’t do it. Do not do it,'” he recalls. “But I didn’t want to disappoint anybody. He talked me out of doing it. He was like, ‘I’m telling you you’re gonna get over there and you’re gonna wanna use. Don’t do it, it’s too early. You don’t even have enough clean time under your belt.'”

And Elton wasn’t just there to advise on the big things; he took an active interest in Em’s sobriety. “He called a lot. A few times a week,” says Eminem. “

Eminem tells a gritty tale in new ‘Relapse’

With its blistering glimpse into his struggles with addiction and sobriety, depression and ennui, the album marks a gritty return for an artist who slipped off the public scene four years ago amid a cloud of speculation. The singsong choruses of “Insane,” “My Mom” and “Déjà Vu” are like taunts in the face of the harsh reality — taunts at his own weaknesses, perhaps — with the intensity broken by the jokey skits and bouncy tracks like “Old Time’s Sake.”

Photo from March, 2009 press release

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Marlee Matlin Discusses Her Drug Abuse

photo of Marlee Matlin

At age 21, she became the youngest recipient of the Best Actress Oscar and one of only four actresses to receive that honor for a film debut: Children of a Lesser God. In her book, I’ll Scream Later, she discusses her drug addiction. In fact she was in drug rehab when she learned of her Oscar nomination.

Marlee Matlin Reveals a Darker Side

At just 18 months old, Matlin lost her hearing due to a bout with the roseola virus. Without hearing aids, she says she is absolutely deaf.

Even as she was winning accolades for “Children of a Lesser God,” Matlin said she was preparing to check herself into rehab to battle her drug addiction that began when she was 13. In fact, the name of her book “I’ll Scream Later” was inspired by her inability to react to her Oscar nod because she was in rehab.

Now happily married with four children, her demons seem long gone. But it was a certain dancing show that inspired her to write about her troubled past.

“I was very rebellious,” she said of her early involvement with drugs.” I was very fiercely independent.” Her drug use began with marijuana and escalated to cocaine, she writes.

Related: ‘Marcia Brady’ Recovers After Drug AddictionRobert Downey Jr. Rehab SuccessCarrie Fisher’s Journey Through Drug Addiction

Hugh Masekela Fighting Against Drug and Alcohol Addiction

photo of jazz musican Hugh Masekela

Masekela’s message for ‘addictive’ SA

One of the biggest names in world music – trumpeter Hugh Masekela – has said the message behind his latest album Time is to help the fight against drug and alcohol addiction in his native South Africa.

Masekela himself is a recovering addict, having gone into rehabilitation six years ago before establishing an organisation to help those with similar problems in his homeland. And he told BBC World Service’s The Ticket programme that he felt a duty to help others suffering from the same problems.

“I myself am a recovering addict and alcoholic. Six years ago I came to England, took up counselling, and learned the psychology of addiction.”

Drug-busting Masekela calls a brave new tune

The project, called the Musicians and Artists Assistance Programme of South Africa (Maapsa), is a partnership between several South African celebrities, including musicians Jabu Khanyile and Family Factory, actress Connie Masilo and talkshow host Felicia Mabuza-Suttle. Masekela said: “This organisation will make South Africans aware that addiction is a dynamite powder-keg. In South Africa, people are often praised for being able to drink a lot. They think drinking is something to be proud of.”

Victor Ntoni, another respected musician, said alcohol and substance abuse among musicians was exacerbated by the increasing exploitation of artists in South Africa.

Mabuza-Suttle, one of the trustees of Maapsa, said that because she came from a background of alcoholism, she knew about the devastating effects of addiction on families.

Hugh Masekela Biography

As the brutality of the Apartheid state increased, Hugh finally left the country with the help of Trevor Huddleston and his friends Yehudi Menuhin and Johnny Dankworth who got him admitted into London’s Guildhall School of music. Miriam Makeba who was already enjoying major success in the USA later helped him with Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillepsie and John Mehegan to get admission to the Manhattan school of Music in New York. Hugh finally met Louis Armstrong who had sent the Huddleston Band a trumpet after Huddleston told the trumpet king about the bank he helped start back in South Africa before deportation.

With immense help from Makeba and Belafonte, Hugh eventually began to record, gaining his first breakthrough with “The Americanization of Ooga-Booga” produced by the late Tom Wilson who had been producer of Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel’s debut successes. Stewart Levine his business partner in Chissa Records went on to produce hit records for Hugh on Uni Records, beginning with “Alive and Well at the Whisky” in 1967 and then “”Promise of A Future” which contained the gigantic hit song “Grazing in the Grass” in 1968.

By the beginning of the 1970’s he had attained international fame, selling out all of America’s festivals, auditoriums and top nightclubs. Heeding the call of his African roots, he moved to Guinea, then Liberia and Ghana after recording the historical “ Home is where Music is” with Dudu Pokwana.

photo from Ritmo Artists

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Colin Farrell Wanted To Be A Better Dad

Actor, Who Wanted To Be A Better Dad, Is Glad To Be Sober

“I knocked that on the head, I haven’t had a drop in six months,” the Irish actor said Monday on The Late Show With David Letterman. “It was tough. It was something that I did every day for about fifteen years so it was tough, yeah, absolutely.”

The 30-year-old actor said that he decided to get help when he realized his fast-paced Hollywood lifestyle was taking its toll on him and affecting his ability to be a good father to his two-year-old son James.

“It was horrible in one way, because I went away because I was pretty sick,” he said. “But in another way it was great, because it was a very safe environment with a bunch of people who were looking to sort out things in their life.” “But I don’t want to go back,” he added.

Colin Farrell: Drink and drugs nearly killed me

The Dublin-born star of Miami Vice was renowned for his wild lifestyle, but made the decision to enter rehab two years ago as he said he knew he was “dying”. “It was a fairly drunken life for 16 years so it was a tough life change, but I was dying and I’m one of the lucky ones in that so far I’m out of it,” he said.

“For me there was no choice. I was pretty sick. I went away for five or six weeks and that was a very safe environment and I began to come out of the haze that I had burrowed myself into so deeply. “I came back into the world and everything was in a degree of focus that I hadn’t experienced.”

“I don’t believe I have any chemical predisposition towards depression, but let’s just say I was suffering from a spiritual malady for years and I indulged it.

Farrell is now in a relationship with novelist Emma Forrest and seems to have put those dark tendencies behind him. “I’m glad I’m out of that cycle of my life, and I’m very lucky,” he admitted.

photo © Eric Charbonneau

Related: Robin Williams Reflects on RehabRobert Downey Jr. Rehab SuccessWinehouse to Rehab: Yes, Yes, Yes

Brett Favre Overcomes Painkiller Addiction

photo of Brett Favre Nov 2006

Brett Favre’s addiction to painkillers (1996)

After the seizure had ended and he had come to his senses, Favre looked into a sea of concerned medical faces and saw Packers associate team physician John Gray. “You’ve just suffered a seizure, Brett,” Gray told him. “People can die from those.” Favre’s heart sank. Upon hearing from doctors in the room that his dependence on painkillers might have contributed to the seizure, he thought, I’ve got to stop the pills, I’ve just got to.

Last season Favre went on such a wild ride with the prescription drug Vicodin, a narcotic-analgesic painkiller, that Tynes feared for his life. He scavenged pills from teammates. At least once he took 13 tablets in a night. But on Tuesday of last week, during his final telephone call before entering the Menninger Clinic, a rehabilitation center in Topeka, Kansas [which moved to Florida in 2003], to treat his dependency (and also to evaluate his occasional heavy drinking), Favre told SI that he hadn’t taken Vicodin since the seizure. “I quit cold turkey,” he said, “and I entered the NFL substance-abuse program voluntarily. I don’t want a pill now, but I want to go into a rehab center because I want to make sure I’m totally clean.

Tynes wiped her eyes. She took a deep breath. She sniffled a few times. “You know,” she said, “he’s changed already. He talks to me again. He takes Brittany and me out. He pays attention to us. A few days ago he hugged me and he thanked me for everything I’ve done, and he said some really nice things to me.”

She wiped her eyes again. “I said, ‘I can’t believe it. The old Brett’s back!'” Time will tell. The true test will start in September.

Time has shown the answer, after struggles for several years, as Brett Favre has continued his amazing NFL career with great success.

Through triumph & tragedy, Deanna and Brett Favre remain a constant

After doctors found severe liver damage in 1996, Brett agreed to enter rehab, and was able to kick his addiction. He and Deanna were married several months later and welcomed daughter Breleigh in 1999, but his problems with substance abuse had not ended. By 1999, Brett had returned to heavy partying, and was abusing alcohol. Deanna contacted a divorce attorney, which helped scare her husband into quitting drinking entirely, according to Deanna.

The 1990s tested their relationship, but Deanna ultimately appreciated that Brett chose to seek help. “He was battling a disease,” she says. “I was trying to support him, and when he started making the right choices by getting the help he needed, that made a difference.”

Life had stabilized for the Favres by 2003: Brett was sober and a Super Bowl-winning icon in Green Bay, and Brittany and Breleigh were healthy and happy. “We were at a good spot in our lives,” Deanna says.

Then, in December 2003, Brett’s father died in a car accident. The following October, Deanna’s 24-year-old brother Casey was killed when his all-terrain vehicle hit a patch of gravel and flipped. Casey had recently overcome his own drug problems, and his girlfriend was eight months pregnant when he died.

In her memoir, Deanna described the loss of her brother as the darkest time in her life, but the darkness would not pass quickly – just days after Casey’s funeral, Deanna was diagnosed with breast cancer at 35.

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‘Marcia Brady’ Recovers After Drug Addiction

photos of Marcia Brady / Maureen McCormick

Maureen McCormick, best known for her role as Marcia Brady, is now 52 and has a new book – Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice

In the book, Maureen provides a behind-the-scenes view of the Brady Bunch. She reveals the lifelong friendships, the hurtful jealousies, the offscreen romance, the loving support her television family provided during a life-or-death moment, and the inconsolable loss of a man who had been a second father. But The Brady Bunch was only the beginning. Haunted by the perfection of her television alter ego, Maureen landed on the dark side, caught up in a fast-paced, drug-fueled, star-studded Hollywood existence that ultimately led to the biggest battle of her life.

The book presents a story of success. After kicking her drug habit, Maureen battled depression, reconnected with her mother, whom she nursed through the end of her life, and then found herself in a pitched battle for her family in which she ultimately triumphed. After fifty years, she has finally learned what it means to love the person you are, insight that has brought her peace in a happy marriage and as a mother.

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

Ain’t no sunshine in interventions, rehab, depression and therapy, which is what followed her “Brady” years. But in 1985 McCormick married actor Michael Cummings, and her life started to turn around. She credits his love and support, plus that of her “Brady Bunch” family, with helping her get sober.

During her troubled times, McCormick got an occasional acting role but nothing substantial. Post-recovery she became the winner on VH1’s own version of dysfunction, “Celebrity Fit Club.” More recently she starred on two other reality series, “Gone Country” and the bizarre “Outsider’s Inn.”

Related: Carrie Fisher’s Drug RehabRobin Williams Reflects on RehabPiano Man Alcoholism Treatment

Photos via ABC News

Robert Downey Jr. Rehab Success

photo of Robert Downey Jr.

The Comeback Kid

His Life Nearly Destroyed by Drugs, Robert Downey Jr. Found Love and Fought His Way to Recovery.

For too long other priorities led Downey down a darker path. The son of film director Robert Downey Sr. and actor Elsie Ford, Downey dropped out of Santa Monica High School to act, landing a gig on Saturday Night Live at 20. A slew of roles in movies like 1987’s Less than Zero followed, and in 1992 Downey landed the title role—and an Oscar nod—in Chaplin. But his struggles with drugs eclipsed his talent. In 1996 he was put on probation after an arrest for driving in Malibu with heroin, cocaine and a concealed .357 Magnum. For the next five years he was in and out of rehab and jail, doing time in California’s Corcoran State Prison in ’99 for failing to take a mandated sobriety test. In ’01 Downey was fired from Ally McBeal after another relapse.

It was a wake-up call. After another rehab stint, he slowly found his way to health by practicing yoga and kung fu, and by finding love with producer Susan Levin, 34, whom he wed in ’05. “She’s fantastic,” says Downey, who’s also devoted to his son Indio, 14, with first wife Deborah Falconer. “I’m not a walk in the park, and [Susan’s] a very complex and engaging person.” Downey, says Stiller, “talks a lot about how his wife and his son are his grounding forces.” Today his strongest drink is black tea. “My vice, it seems now, is creativity,” he says. “It’s all about living a normal, balanced life.”

Rehab Success Stories

Hammer (CNN Showbiz Tonight): Robert Downey, Jr. spent most of the 1990s in and out of southern California courtrooms, jails and rehab centers, hooked on cocaine, alcohol and methamphetamines. Downey couldn’t come to grips with his addiction.

Robert Downey Jr.: You know, there’s a reason it’s listed in American medical — you know, in books of disease.

Hammer: The headlines-making bouts with rehab eventually worked for Downey, who is now clean and sober and starring in movies like “Zodiac,” where he ironically plays a cocaine-addicted reporters, and in the summer blockbuster “Iron Man.”

Robert Downey Jr.: Part of that is largely a moral issue, but I think once you have an opportunity to get the help you need to get out of it, you just have to remember that sometimes that train doesn’t come back around for seven years.

Photo by Edgar Meritano, May 2008.

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Eva Mendes on Rehab

photo of Eva Mendes

Eva Mendes Opens Up On Substance Abuse

Eva Mendes, who entered Utah’s Cirque Lodge for rehab earlier this year, recently spoke about substance abuse with David Colman for Interview magazine. “I”m not angry,” said the actress, who stars in the upcoming The Women (due out in September) and The Spirit (due out at Christmas). “I’m proud of people who have the determination and the fearlessness to actually go and face their demons and get better. This is a life or death situation.”

David Coleman: They’re going to have to change the name of it to “Alcoholics Unanimous.”
Eva Mendes: [silence]
David Coleman: I’m sorry, that’s a bad joke.
Eva Mendes: I’m not making jokes, because people die from this stuff. So, honestly, I think it’s a bit tacky that you made a joke. I’ve got to be honest.
David Coleman: You’re angry. Listen . . .
Eva Mendes: I’m not angry. People have died, and I’ve lost friends too–even recently. So I can be a little sensitive on the subject.

photo by Thierry Caro, 2008.

I think Eva is right in saying that people can forget that just because someone is a celebrity doesn’t mean rehab isn’t serious. At times the craziness around celebrity can make it seem like it is a joke. But the drug and alcohol addiction troubles anyone has can be serious and we shouldn’t lose that just because sometimes it seems like rehab is not taken seriously by some people (celebrity or not).

Related: Top 10 Luxury Rehab Centers (Utah’s Cirque Lodge is 9th)Should Rehab be Enjoyed?

Piano Man Rehab

photo of Billy Joel

Singer Billy Joel spent time at the Betty Ford clinic for alcoholism treatment in 2005.

Billy Joel leaves US rehab clinic

Singer Billy Joel has left a Californian rehabilitation clinic where he was being treated for alcohol abuse. His publicist confirmed that the 55-year-old had now checked out of the Betty Ford clinic, in Rancho Mirage, where he had spent 30 days.

Photo taken on November 14, 2007.

Piano Man Finds Inner Harmony

“I’m just not drinking,” says the Piano Man – who had struggled with a love of bottles of red and bottles of white. “I don’t know if I will never have a glass of wine again for the rest of my life, but right now I am not taking any chances. “There was a time in my life when I was drinking too much, and so I have stopped,”

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Aging of the Population in Rehab

cover of A Paper Life by Tatum O'neal

Why Is Mom in Rehab? by Charles Blow, New York Times:

Ms. O’Neal illustrates a disturbing trend among those being admitted to substance abuse treatment services: a growing percentage of older women are being treated for harder drugs.

Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed that the total number of admissions to treatment services from 1996 to 2005 (the last year for which detailed data are available) stayed about the same among people under 40, but jumped 52 percent among those 40 and older. Of the 40 and older group, the rise in admissions among men was 44 percent. Among women, it was 82 percent.

Under the Rug: Substance Abuse and The Mature Woman, 1998

This report reveals that of the 25.6 million women over 59 in the United States, 4.4 million (17 percent) are addicted to nicotine, some 1.8 million (seven percent) abuse alcohol; and about 2.8 million (11 percent) abuse psychoactive drugs. Mature women are more likely to be hospitalized for substance abuse-related problems than for heart attacks. The substance abuse-related ailments and accidents they suffer will result in some $30 billion in health care bills in 1998 and on our present course, will top $100 billion a year in 20 years. Premature death from smoking and abuse of alcohol and psychoactive prescription drugs robs mature women of at least 15 million years of life and millions of years more of independent living.

Related: A Paper Life by Tatum O’Neal