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Celebrity Sobriety

9/06/12 10:52am

Bradley Cooper Comes Out of the Sober Closet


The sexiest man alive is sober. Photo via

Some stars release statements about how they're seeking recovery before they've even entered rehab but The Hangover star Bradley Cooper decided to wait until he had accumulated some sober time—eight years to be exact. While promoting his latest movie, the Sexiest Man Alive told the Hollywood Reporter, "I don't drink or do drugs at all anymore. Being sober helps a great deal." He even opened up about the more emotional aspects of addiction: "I was so concerned [with] what you thought of me, how I was coming across, how I would survive the day," he confessed. "I always felt like an outsider. I realized I wasn't going to live up to my potential, and that scared the hell out of me." Sober-eyed viewers may have had their suspicions that Cooper had his feet in the addiction and recovery world when he produced and starred in 2011's Limitless, a drama about a writer who becomes addicted to a top-secret drug that gives him superhuman abilities.

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By Anna David


9/06/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: September 6, 2012


Jamie Lee Curtis says sobriety is her greatest
accomplishment. Photo via

By The Fix staff

breaking dad

9/05/12 5:05pm

Nicki Minaj Issues a Warning to Drug Addict Dads


Nicki Minaj has a lot to say to "crazy" dads.
Photo via

Nicki Minaj's drive for fame may have risen from an early desire to protect her mother from her drug-addicted father. "I would go in my room and and kneel down at the foot of my bed and pray that God would make me rich so that I could take care of my mother," recalls the rapper in the newest issue of Rolling Stone. She has spoken before about her childhood with an addicted father, including the time that he tried to burn down their family home while her mom was inside. "We were afraid for my mother's life because whenever he would have a real bad outburst he would threaten to kill her," she told Nightline this past Spring. And although her father Omar has said he is "torn up" over his daughter's comments, Minaj hopes her openness will serve as a warning to other dads whose addictions and "crazy" behavior could impact their kids. "Maybe one day your daughter will be famous and talk to every magazine about it, so think about that, dads out there who want to be crazy," she warns.

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By May Wilkerson

war times

9/05/12 4:13pm

Pakistan Violence Fuels Pot Boom


Marijuana prices are at an all-time high.
Photo via

Marijuana prices are skyrocketing to an all-time high in Pakistan due to an army offensive and militia infighting, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping users from paying double or triple what they previously spent. In fact, anxiety caused by the Taliban-linked violence is actually increasing the demand for pot in the country. “Everyone is tense, everyone is depressed and hash is the easiest available remedy. People use it to forget their worries,” says Kamal Khan (name changed on request), a 51-year-old English teacher. “Everybody is a hashish addict—police, doctors, officers—a lot of people come here.” Fighting is nothing new in parts of the country where the saying goes: “Even if the stove at home is cold, the barrel of a gun must be kept warm.” But since January, more than half a million Pakistanis have fled while the army and militants battle it out over some of the most fertile land for marijuana and opium. Before, a kilo of hashish cost the equivalent of about $200, but now it sells for anywhere between $530 and $690. “Bomb blasts, fighting, inflation, our society is full of worries and it is increasing demand,” says shopkeeper Arshad Afridi. Much of the money goes to local warlord Mangal Bagh, factions of the Taliban and rival group Ansar al Islam. Farmers say hash is worth much more than any normal crops, and merchants who stockpiled the drug in goat skins during previous years are cashing in on the high prices. Says Zaman Afridi, another shopkeeper: “We’ve been doing this business for decades because we have no other source of income.”

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By Chrisanne Grise

no tolerance

9/05/12 3:31pm

Restaurant Industry Fights On-the-Job Boozing


A culture of post-shift drinking. Photo via

Bar and restaurant employees have a significantly higher risk of alcoholism than the general population, according to a new study from Sweden. The research study, which appeared in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, surveyed 1,000 Swedish people between ages 18 to 59 and found that a startling 63% of the 600 bar and restaurant workers participating had hazardous drinking habits. The numbers were even higher for young women between 18 and 29, with 82% of them drinking dangerously, compared to 72% for men in the same age range. The researchers say they were not surprised by the findings, offering two explanations: either the service industry attracts people who already have problem drinking habits, or the stressful environment along with the easy access to booze is conducive to heavy consumption of alcohol. This is not the first study to examine the prevalence of substance abuse in the service industry, with SAMSHA ranking food preparation and service as the number one most addiction-prone career. "It started with the post-shift drink, but it didn't take long before I was drinking throughout my shift as well. The bartenders kept us supplied, and there was tons of coke as well. We all enabled each other," Marguerite, a recovering alcoholic who used to work at a well-known restaurant in the West Village, tells The Fix. "I'd say half the staff, at least, were full-blown alcoholics or addicts."

Some bar and restaurant owners are working hard to change this. Recently, the owners of Husk restaurant in Charleston, SC, installed surveillance cameras after an employee drank on the premises after work and was then killed in a car accident. "It's not just Husk. [Substance abuse] is rampant in the restaurant industry, from what I understand. It is a culture of post-shift drinking, and in some restaurants, drinking during the shift," said Charleston attorney Carl Pierce, who filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the restaurant. For many establishments, it's a question of adhering to policies that are already in place. "The places that don't have no-tolerance policies, sometimes there's a free-for-all," says Karalee Nielsen, a partner in Revolutionary Eating Ventures which owns seven restaurants in Charleston, all of which enforce strict policies to prevent employees from drinking at work. “People told me we were crazy to do it... But why would you let somebody [drink on the job] at your business? You wouldn't be OK with somebody doing it at a bank. Or in retail. Why would we think our industry would be an exception?"

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By Chrisanne Grise

literary lives

9/05/12 2:08pm

David Foster Wallace's Real-Life Rehab Experience


Granada House, the model for Infinite Jest's
Ennet House. Photo via

It’s long been an open secret that David Foster Wallace, the literary prodigy who hanged himself at his home in California four years ago, had been in rehab—the descriptions of life in treatment, as seen in his thousand-page novel, Infinite Jest, were that vivid. There was also the anonymous (yet highly Wallace-ian) testimonial posted on the website of a Boston halfway house called Granada House.

Now, with the release of D.T. Max’s new biography of Wallace, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story, the rumors have been confirmed: Wallace did indeed live at Granada, after a month at Harvard’s psychiatric hospital, McLean (where the poets Sylvia Plath and Robert Lowell also spent time). It was here that Wallace got the inspiration for the denizens of Infinite Jest’s fictionalized Ennet House, where one of the book’s two main characters, the small-time yet physically massive ex-con Don Gately, lives and works. Gately was modeled on “Big Craig,” a young halfway house supervisor who had a run-in with Wallace on his first day at Granada.

But it wasn’t all inspiration and revelation at the bare-bones, un-luxe sober-living facility, where chain-smoked cigarettes and endless cups of black coffee were the order of the day. Max relates that, while at Granada, Wallace wrote to his former AA sponsor, Rich C., telling him that his fellow residents were “a rough crowd, and sometimes I’m scared or feel superior or both.” Max continues:

“Yet a piece of [Wallace] was beginning to adjust to the new situation. He remembered his last failed attempt to get sober and how he was no longer writing and asked himself what he had to lose. He came to understand that the key this time was modesty. ‘My best thinking got me here’ was a recovery adage that hit home, or, as he translated it in Infinite Jest, ‘logical validity is not a guarantee of truth.’ He knew it was imperative to abandon the sense of himself as the smartest person in the room, a person too smart to be like one of the people in the room, because he was one of the people in the room.”

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By Hunter R. Slaton


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Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

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