Actor Will Smith has a great quote about those who make it big. He says, "Money and success don't change people, they merely amplify what is already there." Now I'm going to add to that notion by saying alcohol does something similar. It doesn't imbue you with a new personality; it only exaggerates what's already there. Which of course leads me to Kanye West. In several photos from the MTV Awards he is pictured holding a bottle of Hennessy Cognac. Why drink from a glass, when you can just suck it down from the bottle? As a recovering alcoholic who enjoyed my liquor, I can see the point. But just because you can, should you?
Kanye West is apparently still grieving the death of his mother, who died unexpectedly in 2007. He apologized on Jay Leno's show for taking his pain and putting it onto someone else, (Taylor Swift as she tried to enjoy a moment of glory.) But, here's the thing. If you don't deal with grief in a way that means real healing and resolution, you can end up drowning your sorrows with alcohol and then lashing out at some innocent bystander. In recovery rooms they call that self-pity. It goes like this, "poor me, poor me, pour me another drink."
Twitter's tweeting with the song lyrics "Blame it on the alcohol" when it comes to the Kanye West incident. Apparently he was swimming in booze when he behaved unswiftly with Taylor Swift and was showered with boos by the audience. Maybe the alcohol amplified something in him no one wanted to know about. But he did it on stage in a very public way, so now we know.
Untreated grief and unchecked aggression often go on stage when we drink too much. Sure one can have fame and fortune, but without sobriety, you have to wonder what is it that you really have? Besides of course a very, very large magnifying glass (alcohol plus a national audience).
I'm not rich and I don't sing, but I do have sobriety and for that I'm grateful. When I see alcohol take the stage for someone else, I remember the good 'ole drinking days weren't so good. I don't claim to know Kanye West nor do I personally know what's going on with him. But like a lot of other recovering alcoholics, I do claim to know what too much alcohol can do. It can highlight the places that need healing. And when it gets really humiliating on life's stage, sometimes it forces you to get sober.
Maybe the MTV stage show will put some more attention on the ugliness of drinking too much and the healing aspects of good emotional and mental health. Who's Kanye West singing to in his song "Heartless" anyway?
How could you be so heartless?
Oh...How could you be so heartless?
How could you be so Dr. Evil?
You're bringin' out a side of me that I don't know
Maybe he's singing to his bottle of Hennessy.
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