The Celebrity Therapist

drugsDrug addiction is often considered a problem found in low socio-economic sectors of society, but in reality anyone, at any age in life, is at risk for addiction. Some of the most wealthy and affluent people, because of their lifestyle and social settings, may actually be at greater risk for exposure to drugs at a young age. Combining this with pressure to perform and to not simply become a name of the past can create mental and emotional stress, particularly for those that may not have the support they need to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Child stars in the movie and television industry seem to be particularly at risk for alcohol and drug addictions. This may be because of the intense public adoration that is placed on kids at a very young age. Children struggle to try to find a “normal”, which often means they have to continually get that big part, continue to do well in life and be all things to all people. This pressure, combined with readily available drugs, can be a deadly combination.

While many child stars are still battling drug addiction in very public ways, others have had their lives ended far too early because of the addiction or a combination of drug and alcohol abuse. This list includes such celebrities as Corey Haim, River Phoenix, Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, Judy Garland and Dana Plato to name just a few. Looking at the names it is easy to see this is not a new problem and drug abuse and child starts has been an issue for years.

The sad fact for many of these young stars is that the adults in their life that are supposed to protect them may be at the heart of their addiction. Parents, managers and co-stars often promote the use of drugs through their own behavior and addiction issues. They may turn a blind eye to their child’s drug use because keeping the child happy means ensuring a huge income; allowing them to live the life they desire.

Many of the child stars with public drug and alcohol addictions have long standing feuds with their families or one or more of their parents. These stars often use alcohol and drugs as a way to deal with the stress, depression and emptiness that is so typical of children that feel abandoned, used and unloved by their parents. This group includes stars such as Lindsay Lohan, Drew Barrymore and Macaulay Culkin, all who ended up with significant and very public drug addictions as well as ongoing family issues.

Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life, Love & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity    Rehab   on  VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses   the   law  of  attraction to  recover from any addiction.    Please   download your free E book “Filling The Empty   Heart”  and  your “Are You  a  Love Addict Quiz?” at Contact Sherry for     webinars,  teleseminars,  coaching packages and speaking   engagements.  Take  Sherry’s quiz for a free eBook Filling  the    Empty  Heart: 5 Keys to  Transforming  Love   Addiction.



lindsayAccording to People Magazine, “Since leaving rehab July 30th, Lindsay Lohan has taped appearances on Oprah’s Next Chapter and Chelsea Lately, and seems to be doing well – reportedly with help from a sober coach.”

Headlines featuring Lindsay’s name along with mug shots and pictures snapped at her absolute worst have shown us what addiction really looks like. It brings to light every negative aspect of a human being, and for celebrities it puts the spotlight on them when they least want the attention.

The first time that Lindsay’s problems with drugs and alcohol became widely publicized was in January of 2007 when she entered her first drug rehab. Her life spiraled out of control with a series of arrests, more visits to rehab and serving jail time. Her legal woes continued through several years. Judges, rehab facilities, recovery professionals and even rejection from the movie industry that made her famous could not help Lindsay stay sober.

Over the past 18 years I have worked with numerous celebrity and high profile clients. Due to the nature of their work, and constantly being in the public eye, it’s very difficult for many to experience long-term sobriety. They need support 24/7 and a sober coach will provide this service. Lindsay hiring a sober coach is one of the smartest things she could do to attempt to stay sober. It will be difficult for her to avoid the people, places and things that are associated with her addicted life. Having someone monitor her and keep her recovery top of mind will increase her chances of finally staying clean. She even has a chance to keep her employment.

Sources say she even had a visit from Ben Affleck while she was at Cliffside Malibu (rehab) to discuss a possible movie role. This is one example of why Lindsay should be hopeful that the world wouldn’t give up on her. The public keeps giving Lindsay second, third, forth and fifth chances, let’s hope that she finally listens. A highly anticipated interview with Oprah will offer more insight.

Lindsay Lohan will be having a conversation with Oprah on Sunday August 18th at 9/8c. It will be interesting to see how honest Lindsay is and if she is truly ready to surrender to the disease of addiction. On a preview of this interview, Lohan says that: “I’m my own worst enemy,” Lohan says in the video. “And I know that. But will she take the time to work an honest program of recovery? Will she be able to get her life, family, friends and career back on track? Only time will tell.

 Sherry Gaba LCSW, a psychotherapist and life, love and recovery coach, is featured on Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of  The Law of Sobriety, which uses the Law of Attraction to help people recover from addiction; she is also a contributor to Conscious Entrepreneurs, and to several e-books: Empowerment Manual: Finding Purpose with Intention, Filling the Empty Heart: 5 Keys to Transforming Love Addiction. The e-books Relapse Prevention and Eliminate Limiting Beliefs can be downloaded free of charge at Contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements.


mjWhile the Michael Jackson ongoing civil action is perhaps the best known celebrity wrongful death issue, there are others that occur whenever a star dies due to a drug overdose or addiction complication. The family, the fans, and just the casual observer all want to be able to blame someone for failing to prevent the tragedy from occurring.

In the Michael Jackson civil suit the family is suing a range of different entities involved in his professional and person life for failing to address the addiction issues that led to his death. The latest lawsuit, filed by Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine Jackson, alleges that AEG Live LLC, the huge concert promotion company, did not properly check out Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician that was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Michael’s death. She further alleges that they were aware of his addiction and his illness and they failed to take any corrective action or to get him the help he needed.

In the same lawsuit Mrs. Jackson reports that the family was concerned of his use of pain medications for back issues and that they had attempted interventions but Michael denied the need for help. According to the mother Michael Jackson denied any addictions to pain medications and even reported to her that he was not using any types of medications prior to his death from a lethal combination of propofol and pain killers.

It seems that everyone wants to have a person or group to point to and to blame for an addiction. While this may be a natural response it is essential to realize that the only way that an addiction can be treated is for the addict to acknowledge that he or she has a problem and to make changes in lifestyle and behaviors to address the problem. Ultimately, regardless of your celebrity status, the decision to live a clean and sober lifestyle boils down to personal accountability and choice.

Reaching out for help may be more difficult when you are in the limelight, but it is the only way to prevent the pain and suffering for loved ones when a tragedy occurs. More stars and celebrities discussing addiction and recovery will help raise awareness in the industry and hopeful prompt managers, promoters and fans to be more supportive for stars that want to make positive lifestyle changes in their lives.

Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life, Love & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity   Rehab   on  VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses  the   law  of  attraction to  recover from any addiction.   Please   download your free E book “Filling The Empty  Heart”  and  your “Are You  a  Love Addict Quiz?” at Contact Sherry for    webinars,  teleseminars,  coaching packages and speaking  engagements.  Take  Sherry’s quiz for a free eBook Filling the    Empty  Heart: 5 Keys to  Transforming Love   Addiction.



CoryIt seems all too often that adoring fans of a particular star are shocked, surprised and devastated by the news of a celebrity death due to an overdose or addiction. This is often the case when the addiction has been kept under wraps or only hinted about in the media. However, in some cases, the death seems even more senseless and tragic because the addiction was not just hinted about; it was openly discussed and even treated.

Such is the case with Cory Monteith, the latest celebrity to publically discuss his addiction along with his history of rehab and attempted addiction treatment. In this particular case it was only a few months ago that Cory Monteith had given an interview saying that he was going to voluntarily go back into rehab to help prevent a relapse into the addiction that had been a part of his life since his early teens. Unlike some stars, Monteith did actually follow through and went through a drug treatment program in April of 2013. He had previously gone through an addiction treatment program in his early adult years as well, but he reported that he really only did that for his mother.

Just a few months out of his latest rehab Cory Monteith was found dead in a hotel room in Vancouver, British Columbia. The coroner reports that the death was due to a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol. There were no signs of foul play and the three people that were with Mr. Monteith the night of his death have been working with authorities.

So why, with this history of acknowledgement of the addiction, voluntary rehab, and a seemingly perfect life, did this tragedy occur? It was not lack of support; his fiancé and co-star was very supportive of his addiction recovery. It wasn’t lack of ability to afford a drug treatment program; he could afford any treatment that he chose from anywhere in the world.

Stars, just like average people, have to deal with the root issues of their addiction before they can truly enter recovery. This means looking at a painful past and dealing with issues through hard work and personal honesty, rather than through the escape and avoidance that drugs offer. Anyone, regardless of their life situation, needs to address multiple issues in addiction, it isn’t just a behavioral change, it is a complete change if it is to be lifelong and positive.

What went wrong and why Mr. Monteith used that night will probably never be known. Regardless of why it is a tragedy and one that is truly devastating for so many friends, family and fans.

Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life, Love & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity  Rehab   on  VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the   law  of  attraction to  recover from any addiction.  Please   download your free E book “Filling The Empty  Heart” and  your “Are You  a  Love Addict Quiz?” at Contact Sherry for   webinars,  teleseminars,  coaching packages and speaking engagements.  Take  Sherry’s quiz for a free eBook Filling the   Empty  Heart: 5 Keys to  Transforming Love  Addiction.


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