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Celebriety: Robin Williams

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You know me, there’s a lot of stuff i don’t know. Like i always thought Robin Williams was a cokehead but i did not know he was also an alcoholic. i also didn’t know he went into recovery for both in 1983, when his first child was born. And who knew he stayed sober for 20 years? Not i, said the blind man.

i also didn’t know he serves as a cautionary tale, because even after 20 years sober, he relapsed in 2003 while making a movie (Big White) in Alaska.

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On Relapsing

I was in a small town where it’s not the edge of the world, but you can see it from there, and then I thought: drinking. I just thought, hey, maybe drinking will help. Because I felt alone and afraid. It’s just literally being afraid. And you think, oh, this will ease the fear. And it doesn’t.

One day I walked into a store and saw a little bottle of Jack Daniel’s. And then that voice—I call it the ‘lower power’—goes, ‘Hey. Just a taste. Just one.’ I drank it, and there was that brief moment of ‘Oh, I’m okay!’ But it escalated so quickly. Within a week I was buying so many bottles I sounded like a wind chime walking down the street. I knew it was really bad one Thanksgiving when I was so drunk they had to take me upstairs.

It’s [addiction] — not caused by anything, it’s just there. It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m OK.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not OK. Then you realize, ‘Where am I? I didn’t realize I was in Cleveland.’

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On Staying Out of Recovery

After his relapse, Williams remained active in his alcoholism for 3 years.

You feel warm and kind of wonderful. And then the next thing you know, it’s a problem, and you’re isolated.

It’s the same voice thought that … you’re standing at a precipice and you look down, there’s a voice and it’s a little quiet voice that goes, ‘Jump.’ The same voice that goes, ‘Just one.’ … And the idea of just one for someone who has no tolerance for it, that’s not the possibility.

For that first week you lie to yourself, and tell yourself you can stop, and then your body kicks back and says, no, stop later. And then it took about three years, and finally you do stop.

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On Fixing Yourself

You can’t. That’s the bottom line. You really think you can, then you realize, ‘I need help,’ and that’s the word.

On His Weekly AA Meetings

Have to. It’s good to go.

Sources for the quotes: