Saturday, August 18, 2012

Joey Kovar Reality of Addiction

Upon learning of the death of reality tv star Joey Kovar, I was saddened by another heartbreaking casualty in the addiction battle. One can only hope that some small blessing in disguise comes out of what otherwise is just plain tragedy. Despite previously having some time in recovery, Kovar was found dead yesterday, at age 29, after several years of his public battle with alcoholism and drug addiction.  

Kovar & Dr. Drew  (VH1 Celerity Rehab)

Celebrity Addicts Bring Addiction Closer to Home 

Before the advent of shows like Celebrity Rehab and Sober House, news of Joey Kovar’s death would not have even made top headlines. When his fellow Celebrity Rehab member, Mike Starr, tragically died from addiction, his death most likely would have just been another random headline about some celebrity drug addict found dead. Only Alice in Chains fans for the most part would have been talking about it. However, within minutes of the announcement of his death in March, Mike Starr was a trending topic on Twitter, with countless civilians and celebrities alike chiming in on the sad report. What was different about Mike Starr? We got to know him. The millions who tuned in weekly to Celebrity Rehab witnessed Mike’s struggles and saw that beneath the angry addict was a lost teddy bear with a big heart. We got to see the person behind the persona, behind the addiction. The same goes for Joey Kovar whose private life was mainstreamed through The Real World on MTV and then Celebrity Rehab on VH1. When Kovar was sober, he was determined to be a positive influence on the masses. 

Progressive and Fatal

Addiction is a progressive and fatal disease. Untreated, the addiction gets worse and worse - ultimately resulting in a premature death. Commonly, most lay folks to the world of addiction only view two aspects of the addiction scene; First, the oftentimes deceivingly glamorized lifestyle of rockstar-type celebs during their active “partying” daze. And later, folks learn of the end of the line aspect of addiction when news of tragic overdose, suicide, or accident ends in death as in the examples of Mike Starr and Joey Kovar, to name just a couple. 

Being found dead as a result of addiction is certainly not glamorous. Thus the countless numbers of every day non-famous individuals who die daily as a result of addiction never make the news. The truth is, addiction is absolutely an epidemic in the US and worldwide; and when you add the family and friends of addicts to the picture, there are many more millions of people affected by the disease.  

Looking for Hope in Tragedy 

It’s safe to assume that Dr. Drew’s goal in creating the shows Celebrity Rehab and Sober House was not only to help some celebrities get sober but also to educate the masses on the truth about addiction and the hope of recovery. And sadly, part of that quest involves bringing widespread awareness to the hard truth of the casualty rate in this addiction war.

While it may seem relatively commonplace to lose a celebrity to booze and drugs, they represent just a grain of sand in the broad landscape of everyday millions who suffer from the deadly illness! So as we send our prayers out to the friends and family of the latest celebrity casuality of addiction – Joey Kovar this week- let’s add an intention that this tragic loss carries forth a hidden blessing… As sober Joey certainly would have wanted it.

Let’s hope that there is a positive twist on this tragedy in what cannot be measured or viewed in the news – that a result of greater awareness of the progressive fatal nature of alcoholism and addiction exemplified through Joey Kovar’s public battle, many struggling individuals whose stories we will never hear about in the news, actually get help and stay sober.

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