More crushed by celebrity deaths than I am used to

All year-long when my friends got upset about a celebrity dying, I did not understand. I was not empathetic. I was saddened by Prince’s death in May, but I was also upset that people were blaming the calendar year and not focusing on the problem of addiction that caused the death. A lot of other celebrities that died I either was not a huge fan or thought they were quite old and it was inevitable.

But when George Michael died on Christmas Day, I felt part of my childhood died. I loved his music when I was a teenager. I now realize I didn’t understand the meaning to so many of the lyrics as a kid, like I did not know his song “Monkey” was about a lover with a drug addiction. I have not followed his career or life the past decade, but after his death I read about his DUIs and arrests for drugs. I guess the monkey followed him to death, or at least destroyed his body enough that he died young.

Interesting the “monkey on your back” is a metaphor for addiction and so many celebrities died from complications of addiction during the Chinese Year of the Monkey.

Carrie Fisher’s death was extremely difficult for me to handle. She was so an inspiration to women from my generation. And a role model for people suffering mental disorders and addiction. I watched Postcards from the Edge last night after not having seen it for about 20 years. I cried a lot because I pictured Carrie Fisher as Meryl Streep’s character and Debbie Reynolds as Shirley MacLaine. I also saw similarities between my myself and my mother. While my mother is not an alcoholic, I was jealous every time she drank a beer around me because I wish I was able to handle a beer. After a long letter I sent to her last May about things I was upset about, she quite drinking alcohol around me. Now I feel guilty! But also secretly happy.

I cried a lot on Wednesday. Then I cried some more the next day when her mom died. After I got done crying and feeling bad for myself, I thought of how I can use this to make my life improve. I thought of how this could be a warning to everyone that is struggling to stay sober of the damage alcohol and drugs do to the body. If I return to a life of booze, I might have a heart attack at the age of 60 on an airplane. Even though Carrie Fisher was sober for many years, the damage to her heart was already done. I had cardiomegaly on a chest x-ray 6 years ago so I was on my way to destroying my heart also.

I am hoping 2017 will be my first year with NO ALCOHOL ingestion. It was a few weeks into 2014 when I first quit, and a few months into 2015 when I first slipped, and I had a few times this past year that I drank. It had been a long hike through different terrains. Maybe 2017 will finally be the year I walk across the flat surface of sobriety.

“Happy is one of the many things I’m likely to be over the course of a day and certainly over the course of a lifetime. But I think if you have the expectation that you’re going to be happy throughout your life–more to the point, if you have a need to be comfortable all the time–well, among other things, you have the makings of a classic drug addict or alcoholic.”
Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking

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