For as long as I can remember, I have fought against the tendency for self-medication in a wide variety of forms, although, admittedly, some forms of it are far more subtle than others. Everything from drugs to alcohol to food to sex to sports to work can be used to mask emotions. It is easy to find in life people who do not wish to directly deal with what is going on their lives. Most of the time this sort of self-medication is not fatal in its nature, at least not immediately, though the effects can be serious and often neglected. Addictions can result from such tendencies for self-medication, and relationships can easily be destroyed through the compulsive behaviors that serve to mask what cannot be openly faced.
Yesterday at work I had a conversation with a coworker about Justin Beiber. I had commented, based on his life drama, that I would not be surprised at all to see him in Celebrity Rehab at some point, and my coworker said that she would watch that show. Of course, I did not realize that when I woke up this morning that there would be lots of news about Justin Beiber’s DUI arrest in Miami Beach, which included a few other misdemeanor arrests that led to a modest $2500 bail being set that he probably paid for out of his budget. More than many people, I happen to feel a sense of pity for Justin Beiber, being so famous so young, without anyone to tell him no, and with enough bitterness and bad experience to want to self-medicate his way out of the troubles that bother him even as he profits from them in a material way.
Last night I happened to watch a rock star, Noel Gallagher, comment in a rather crude way about the frustrations he had with making music videos, about always being drunk and uninspired and upset that he would have to waste whole days doing the same thing over and over again so that some third-rate director could make a music video that hardly anyone ever watched. Here was a man who had profited handsomely from being a famous musician, but who was somewhat embittered by the experience, rabidly biting the hand that fed him . Given the fact that the rest of his bandmates are part of a moderately successful band themselves without him, it seems unlikely that he will find the same sort of success himself, even if his bitter rants are sometimes entertaining. Here too was a man whose self-medication was a serious matter that led to the destruction of his band, and division within his own family.
At other times, the results are even more tragic. A great deal of death among the population of our cultural elites has to do with the problem of self-medicating, especially with drugs and alcohol and sex, all of which weave their tangled web around the demented culture that we experience around us. The entertainers themselves, however privileged, are not often the people who are in charge. They are not pulling the strings, even though their example greatly influences others to view such behavior as normal and acceptable, spreading the misery and suffering far beyond their own broken lives, being tossed aside as soon as they are too old and too damaged to retain popularity within the general culture who their example helps to corrupt and debase. Such an example serves not only to provide an example of what not to do, but also as a way to increase the cynicism of our society about the morality of those who are elites in the first place.
I often wonder, though, what drives these people to feel it necessary to self-medicate? Do these people show up in show business already damaged from broken families or abusive backgrounds, and the fame simply adds further stresses and pressures and temptations into that existing trouble? I know that for my own sake I do not wish to be too famous for the reasons that I find such attention to be extremely stressful and not enjoyable at all. I know, somewhere, that I too am not of any better nature or background than the people whose lives are destroyed by fame in our debased contemporary culture. We may try to turn our sorrow and our experiences into beauty, and we may seek to be successful and rise above our history, but all the same there is a price for seeking fame in this world, a price that is far too high for most people to pay. It is my hope that those who suffer may find some sort of release, some sort of peace of mind for themselves, and that they can find it before they sleep in the grave.
 See, for example: