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A Drug Called Fame

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Drugs and Hollywood seem to go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately the temptation and access is there and for some stars the demons are too hard to ignore. At least a few (usually more) times a year we hear about a star entering/leaving rehab, getting in trouble with the law or sadly dying from the disease of addiction. But could one of the major addictions in Hollywood be non-substance related?

Yes. The addiction in question is fame. It is something that most in the entertainment industry want and few achieve. It is the notoriety, the acceptance and appreciation that many yearn for. Gaining fame could take years. It also could come overnight and unexpectedly. With videos going viral, the second option is becoming more common.

Regardless of how someone achieves fame, maintaining it is a different story. For most at one point in their career, the fame begins to decline. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. Actors that come off a popular TV show or movie franchise may need a break to look over/choreograph their next move. They also may choose to exit the scene altogether and see this opportunity to choose a different career path. Some are fortunate enough to continue and get a second or more wave of success. However, it is those who crave the attention immediately or at all times that seem to run into trouble.

I compare fame to alcohol (though you can probably use any substance). For some celebrities, they have a few drinks at once. This is in the form of promoting a project (like a movie) that would put them in the public eye a lot in a short period of time. Once they are done promoting the project, the buzz begins to wear-off. They go back to work, sometimes still updating fans on social media (but not in a promotional way). Depending on who they are, we might see them at events etc. They have reached the point where they are famous, but they don't need to remind the public of this.

Then there are the social drinkers who have a few drinks, but never to the point of real intoxication. These celebrities are famous, but not famous. They are known in a few circles. They may have been more famous years ago, but still have fans today. They could be a regular on a show that does well, but isn't constantly on the medias' radar. Their fans base (in terms of numbers) might not be as big, but the fans are dedicated and show up to meet-and-greets and conventions. They are also okay with their status and enjoy the fact that (for the most part) they can live mostly normal lives.

On the complete opposite end, there are the celebrities who may be addicts. They get "drunk" off fame and want the buzz (or whatever) to continue. They were either once big or very big at this moment. Once the fame begins to dip, they quickly pull do something in order to be pushed right back up. Social media glorifies this with their tweets, Instagram photos and Facebook statuses that regularly become stories on many media outlets.

Fame has less to do with the actual act of being famous and more to do with the reaction that one has to it (and when it declines). If the star appreciates what they have and the position they are in, then navigating the waters of fame may be less difficult. I find that celebrities who tend to be more appreciative of what they have to be more likely to survive (and be helped up) if they happen to have a "drunken fall."

In the end, fame, like alcohol, is a drug. Still it is the person, famous or not, that determines the outcome of how it is used. While this article focused on the entertainment industry, fame could occur in other fields. Many fields have people who gain some attention/notoriety in their industry. It is again and react to this attention that is the key to their success. Most people want to be recognized for their work (in a positive manner). I will fully admit that it's a nice feeling. Telling someone "Good job" when warranted should be said (positive reinforcement does work). However, expecting or craving this feeling and wanting/expecting the recognition all the time may lead to problems down the road.