Christina Aguilera has clearly been struggling lately. There have been a series of mishaps, including her mess-ups at the Super Bowl and at the Grammy Awards, but even more startling are her repeated public displays of drunkenness. Last week the singer was booked for public intoxication by LA authorities, having allegedly been so drunk that she was unaware of her surroundings and the extent of her drinking. According to a Sheriff's spokesman, Aguilera, "was not capable of taking care of herself. She didn't really understand where she was, she didn't even know where she lived." Before that, there were reports of a drunken New Year's Eve party and a big Hollywood party where she allegedly passed out after becoming intoxicated.
Her literal falling down from drinking speaks to how hard it is for her to stand on her own. When I think about the timing, it looks like it all started spinning out of control after she filed for divorce in October from her husband Jordan Bratman. While she was most likely drinking socially before their break up, it appears to me that the end of her marriage and the loss of that support system, as well as the stress that divorce always brings with it, have led to her excessive use of alcohol.
Divorce is difficult under the best of circumstances. It takes a toll and makes great demands on the people going through it. Many of the ways each person depended on the other in their lives changes, and a new reality begins. No matter how successful you are in life, the impact of divorce can leave you floundering, feeling lonely and struggling to try to figure out how you are going to take care of things that might have been done together or by your spouse in the past. For some, that might mean regaining a sense of the me identity that changed to we when you got married, and for others that might mean learning how to manage responsibilities on your own.
Apparently, Christina is still looking to be able to do this. She's had her ex-to-be husband continue to live in their home so that their young son could get used to the family shifts. While that can be challenging, it can also be doable. However, when she added her boyfriend Matthew Rutler to the mix, the confusion over roles and who handles what had to skyrocket. The only time three is company is on TV. Adjusting to divorce would probably be less overwhelming if the boundaries were kept clear throughout. Without her realizing it, this living arrangement alone may have added to her burden and might be one of the reasons her drinking has been escalating.
It is impossible to know if this drinking problem was brewing before she filed for divorce. Perhaps it was kept under control with the support system her marriage offered her in place, and now that it has come apart she has come undone. There is almost no question, though, that with the enormity of the break-up, her drinking, which may very well have started as a social pleasure, has become a coping mechanism. It is almost easy to see how that would happen. So for anyone going through a divorce, it can help to keep this in mind so that you can find the support you need before you encounter too much of a problem. One thing is clear in Christina's case: right now she needs to get more back up so that she can stay up on her own two feet and hold onto her emotional health. This way, hopefully she won't lose more than her marriage.