Before reading the below article, please read:
- Felicia's letter to Ruben
- Friend talks about Felicia
- Is someone trying to tell us the truth?
The follow editorial appeared on That Other Blog yesterday, run by Ruben Garay, who has had connections with Britney's management, friends, and family for some time now. It is written by an anonymous source, by someone with 20 years in the industry who has been where Britney is. It's a long letter, and I hope you find it as insightful as I did.
Written by Anonymous Contributor
It’s getting’ hectic in here
It’s getting’ Chaotic
I’m rocking and rollin’
We goin’ until it’s over….
Words don’t ring truer. Chaotic. The double entendre’ applicable here doesn’t escape me. It was me. I’ve been to the top of the mountain, and to the depths of hell. The entire journey, “Chaotic.” While witnessing the unfolding and unraveling of the life of one of music’s once reigning Queen of Pop, I stand afar yet so close to what I see. While of course the media spins it’s spin, the artists spin theirs, the other associated parties spin theirs, the spinning makes one dizzier than the many of the substances themselves. While I’m certainly no expert on this topic, I fail to believe that any one person is. Each person and their issues vary so vastly, and usually are so intertwined and deeply rooted, that it’s physically impossible to coin anyone “an expert” in the field. I don’t buy it, I don’t believe it, and I don’t accept it. This type of illness does not equate to the “flu”. It’s not a clogged artery. It’s a deep maze and puzzle of each individuals lives, perceptions, realities, abilities, events, non events, esteem, lack of esteem, acceptance, rejection, denial, admittance, environment, stress, and yes, even genetics…the list is endless and the combinations far too many for any human to possibly be anything than a self proclaimed “expert”. Anyone who tells you otherwise, in my opinion, run.
With those words being said, I can only speak of my experiences. Ones that only by the grace of a higher power than me empowered me on a daily basis to be blessed that yesterday wasn’t the day I returned to my past. Ones that when called to the aid of another, gave me the strength and ability to reach a hand out to someone whom felt there wasn’t a hand in sight. Ones that when there was a feeling of being unloved and dismissed, gave me the ability to love without judgment and acknowledge what was being “dismissed”.
I’ve seen a lot in my life, and more importantly, undoubtedly too much of this particular arena in my 20 years in this industry. Top name celebrities crumble under the stress and pressure, curled up in the corner crying desperately for their mother. I’ve seen them so high, they sit in the kitchen sink because “there’s someone outside”, I’ve seen them covered in urine, vomit, blood, and I’ve even seen them in their attic with a BB gun shooting anyone trying to get them because “aliens are coming through the window”. Nyquil as a cocktail, and a needle for dessert. Ive made arrangements for one particular “celebrated individual” whom had a notorious reputation inside the business and out as a drunk, had no issues publically being one, and was frequently carried/falling out of numerous Hollywood hotspots. While this individual had zero issues with the above behavior, they went to great lengths to cover up the fact they were actually , finally, commiting to get help. Confused? Yeah. Me too. I’ve also seen people just like you and me, everyday people, in the exact same ways. We are ALL human. Some have gone so far as to exhibit desperate behavior intentionally just BECAUSE they wanted their loved ones and friends to stage an intervention, merely for the attention they didn’t feel they were getting. Celebrity be damned, we are ALL susceptible. Life’s chaos reaches all social status’, from doctors and lawyers, to celebrities, to your local mailman.
The first thing that has to be understood is the most important one of all. These people are unwell, sick, ill, however you feel to title it. This is not the type of “ill” that means take two aspirins and call me in the morning. It is certainly not the “ill” because they drank too much last night and have a hangover, but in fact, unwell deep, deep down. Psychologically, emotionally, and sometimes physically SO damaged that it strikes the fear of God in anyone associated with this person. Creating such damage to those around such a person, that families are ripped apart at the seams, marriages destroyed, children scarred for life, and in a sober state, in many cases would not consciously be inflicted, but is so, “by proxy” of the addiction.
It’s very easy and simple to point to substance abuse as the issue. Read the blogs, read the news… “Such and such out partying”. Out drinking, caught smoking pot, numerous trips to the bathroom. Well, they are wrong. They are in fact, “out escaping”. Escaping from their perceived, but real inability to cope with their own life pressures and reality. Perception IS reality. One’s perception of self and surroundings can vastly differ from the opinions of another, especially through clouded thought processes. Substance abuse and substance dependence are often times defined by a very fine line. Whichever term you choose, whether it be alcohol, drugs, prescription medication, household chemicals, or any other “self medicating” behavior is a learned behavior. Someone taught you what to drink, someone told you what to expect, someone taught you how to smoke pot, someone taught you how to snort, smoke, inject the substance of choice, and whiff the bottle. This is what must change. Remember, this is an illness, commonly much deeper rooted than the substance intake itself. It stems from somewhere. And you don’t have to look too far in most cases to find personal pain.
Is Rehab Always The Answer?
How does one change, get well, recover? Wow. If we had the answer there wouldn’t be rehab. Rehab is not always the answer either. People generally like to speak of what worked for them, stories, if you will. What worked for you might or might not work for the next guy. Going to rehab is a VERY emotional experience. It usually begins with fear, anger, and then further anger at the “prison like” rules which are the farthest thing from the former lifestyle (especially of the rich and famous), but it is those very rules you came to rehab seeking. It takes commitment, hard work, and compassion from many. In some cases, rehab isn’t what that person expected. It fails to meet their “ordinary” life’s needs. Which in most cases is the point. But, this is where I personally take issue with the ritzy Malibu 30, 40, $50,000 a month rehabilitation facilities. I’ve personally visited some of those “5 Star” facilities in Malibu and elsewhere in the country. I’ve arranged for people who wouldn’t go to SAG covered health insurance facilities to seek help at these places. Don’t get me wrong; rehab DOES work for some, just not for all, no matter what the price. But being on the beach in Malibu or the mountains of Utah, or the coast of the Bahamas IS NOT going to bring down biblical miracles of rehabilitation. It starts with the will of the person going, combined with numerous other factors and pre-conditioning before ever getting them to the door. I’ve seen, first hand, these “5 star” rehabs guilty of their own manipulations and story telling. I’ve seen folks “punished” and not served a meal because they “woke up 10 minutes late.” I’ve seen inside leaks to the media in some of the “celeb centric” facilities. Sorry, but I do not feel that these types of things are going to aid in the recovery of a person who is unwell with an addiction. Punishment is NOT the answer, nor is selling their privacy. Being accountable for your actions is. I’ve seen folks go into medical facilities for detoxification (usually a requirement prior to going to a rehab) and be released from the facility when it is obvious the individual did NOT have the time to detoxify. I’ve also seen them walk right into rehab and start pitting counselor against counselor creating havoc beyond belief, in 5 Star and County Rehab alike. Looking back at my own first stint in outpatient county rehab at the age of 18, I had getting high on cocaine down SO well that my counselor happily told my parents I was drug free, as I was sitting there high as a kite.
Rehab usually consists of a myriad of methods for recovery from individual counseling, group therapy, confidence courses, working with animals, outdoor activities, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, doctors, regimented house rules, etc. People go to rehab for many reasons, from smoking, to substances, to sexual addictions, the list goes on. I do NOT believe that ANYONE with deeply rooted issues that are expressing themselves through an addiction CAN BE well in a 30 day rehab stint. I just don’t. Years and years of deeply rooted issues cannot be resolved in a month. Period. Do NOT let anyone fool you. In my opinion, you are just asking for a relapse. Rehab is only a STEPPING STONE to wellness. Coming out of rehab can create new stresses, and stress is a very common cause for relapse. The support must be ongoing for the rest of your life. Frequently, people attempting sobriety, will continue to act out or continue behavior exhibited while they were under the influence of the substance. Sometimes, for example, what is sometimes referred to as a “Dry Drunk”, is a person that is completely alcohol free, yet their behavior does not change. Hence, as an example, the continued need for support to change that behavior while maintaining sobriety as well.
Britney Spears’ Behaviour Is Not New
So let me be so bold as to make an observation about the latest “Toxic” headline generator Ms. Spears. Nothing I will say here is to be construed as FACT, but only my OPINION and OBSERVATION having seen this in the past oh so many times. Ms. Spears recent behavior is not new. Let’s start by saying that. This has been going on for years. We first must distinguish the human from the brand. Yes Britney lovers, the Britney you see on stage, TV, and read or hear interviews with is NOT Britney Spears the human. As a matter of fact, they are VASTLY different. Therein lays a core issue. The human, a young undeveloped CHILD when this all began MUST live up to the BRAND. In the early years, the exemplary teen pop star influenced millions. Every mom, dad and family could gather round the TV and watch her perform; they could buy the CD’s and just have a good, safe, Disney type time together. Fans bought this by the millions, and felt they “knew” “Brit”. They didn’t. They bought a well-crafted, perfectly marketed brand that happened to be a human. I remember years ago, they took a common rock from your front yard, put it in a box, called it a Pet Rock, and sold millions of them. In the end, you were buying a rock, period, and paying several dollars for it. Case in point? Replace the rock with a human, and you have a product. In reality, behind the scenes, you have a young girl denied the life experiences of your average teen, thrust into a limelight and lifestyle that many dream of. A dream that quickly bursts with the pressures, schedule, responsibility, expectations set and all the other accouterments that go with being “Britney Spears” the BRAND. Let me tell you that is one HELL of a weight to put on a CHILD.
Stardom does strange things to people. It creates a completely false reality. A reality that the world is at your fingertips and you are quite simply, bulletproof. And when the cash cow that was the Britney “brand” exploded to fruition (which if you remember was quite early in her singing career), it was indeed a false reality. Never a need unfulfilled. You want it, it’s yours. An entourage of “yes men” to cater to your every whim. They are what is commonly called “Enablers”. From the parents, to the managers, labels, publicists, entourage, a very very well oiled machine, extremely lucrative and dare anyone defy it, for fear of being ostracized from the gravy train. Sure, SOME humans felt bad, but who was telling her no? I fear, no one. This creates a monster beyond proportions. A monster that ultimately becomes selfish, non caring and has uber high expectations of those around her. It is no surprise that the level of “catering” just skyrockets and the manipulation level increases to “get what one wants” to the extent of being cast out from the financial circle if these demands are not met. Next albums, bigger cash, bigger stress, bigger expectations, and no escapes, except ONE.
The Destruction Caused By Enablers
A cocktail, a joint, a sleeping pill, or in some cases, stimulants to get through the next show because if not for that, exhaustion would create insurance claims for cancelled shows. Can’t have that. Can’t be human. There’s too much money on the line. And there it is, the beginning of the end. Pretty soon you have managers, agents, publicists, friends, and family all now covering up the behind the scenes “monster” that has been created. I truly believe the only difference with Britney Spears today, from the Britney Spears years ago, is that the “flaws” (as we will call them) were protected, covered up. If they weren’t, the money wheel would stop spinning.
The “enablers” working full-time, protect the brand, all at the expense of the human. Pure Tragedy. And yes, you can say “Overprotected”, but not in the way she expressed in the song. There are many former teen idols that will tell you the same thing and there have been many a TV documentary created about these very topics, most of which have a very sad ending. The incredible pressures and demands of “stardom”, combined with basic human psychological, emotional, and other variables of everyday life, create astronomical burdens in living up to what this business expected of her. This has played a major role in and has done nothing but assist to create what you see today. Yes, you read me right, what this business has DONE to her. Enormous and possibly irreparable damage. And of course what will happen? Jive I’m sure by now has ceased all further funding for her record because of her “stability” and from a business sense, why shouldn’t they? Why spend 100,000’s of thousands of dollars to try and get product that she isn’t capable of delivering, or flatly just won’t show up for? On the other hand, this can also be a part of the problem. The feeling of abandonment.
The Impact of “IT” and The Paparazzi
Now, let’s talk paparazzi. Every move she makes, on film. Being human, on film. You, me, and everyone reading this article has picked their nose while driving, all in our own little world. Britney? Denied even that space. There is NO sanctuary, no place to go, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Constantly scrutinized, judged (based on the brand we all bought into remember), for everything she does. If you think for a MOMENT this does not affect emotion, psyche, create stress, conflict, and cause personal turmoil you are vastly mistaken. Before you take that step for the “dream life”, just think about it. Now, to be fair, celebrities USE the paparazzi ALL THE TIME. So while we can all sit back and think about how horrible it is, you must remember: this is NOT always a one way street. Celebs have been known to use the paparazzi for a myriad of things, even down to recreating shots for the magazines because they didn’t happen to feel the image was of the quality they desired. Take or leave it, believe it or not. It IS and will ALWAYS be a two way street. Paparazzi, Tabloids, etc. Celebs deal with them daily, sometimes to their advantage when they can, for example by offering a story/interview/photos, in lieu of a less flattering story hitting the grocery racks. Way it goes. BUT!!!!!! There is a line. And it is my personal opinion in this case, the tabloids, blogs, paparazzi, have SEVERELY crossed it. It’s a catch 22. With Britney, they follow her to catch the “IT” event…the head shave, the breakdown, etc. What they have no regard for is this simple fact that by following her closer then her own ass does, they are CREATING the “IT”.
Guys, for the love of God, it’s obvious she’s sick. Instead of crowding my street today with 40 SUV’s and trampling my lawn, leave her alone, it is time. You’ve gotten the photos, you’ve made your money, please, if you have a conscience, you are damaging this girl beyond belief, and all for money. Ignore my words, and may you forever live with the fact that you were part of the destruction of a human being, not unlike your own child, mother, sister, brother, father, best friend, etc. For some reason, I think these words will fall on deaf ears as a certain amount of these groups of people are the bottom feeders of society; for when and if the day comes when she collapses on the sidewalk foaming at the mouth, they’ll want the picture. And to any magazine, tabloid, or blog that runs or buys from these photos: you are chasing her for today and risking the lives of others, you are just as guilty. I don’t know how you sleep at night, but ultimately in this case, one prays that Karma, Pearly Gates, Heaven, answering to a higher power, whatever flavor you follow actually does exist. Even if it is to provide comfort because one day you shall have to answer for the infliction of destruction you caused upon others.
So…I’ve seen it asked, why hasn’t there been an intervention staged? That is a complex question. It runs deep. I have mixed feelings about interventions because they can severely backfire. Either way, let me make an observation in this case, and this case only, if I may be so bold. My guess? The folks who would or have tried were the very same folks that have been the enablers, like it or not. As such, it can be perceived as an act of betrayal. For example, “Who are you to do this to me, you sat there and got my pot for me when I needed it, or, wait a minute, you were the one that got me X, Y and Z or had liquor sent to my room every night of the tour when I asked”. Betrayal. People in and around the entourage themselves suffering from unaddressed and untreated addictions that at one time “shared a joint”. It can also be that the person trying to stage this intervention or participate is a pothead themselves, for example, and where’s the credibility there? It’s not going to get you the response you are seeking, and most likely will result in a failed intervention or create more damage as an act of “deception” pushing those folks even further away, and grossly inhibiting their ability to now be able to help. I also don’t think that punishment by ultimatum or abandonment is the answer. There are folks who argue this all day, but these are just my beliefs.
Regardless, with the intervention attempts, the constant hounding, etc, pretty soon those all around become “the enemy” and the person feels even MORE isolated, distant, alone and betrayed by their closest people. Bad things can happen. But, having said that, it is important that the so called “enablers” play an active part in the recovery, I just believe that timing is very crucial as to when that process begins or occurs.
The Ultimate Bottom is Quite Simply, Death.
Soon the behavior becomes more erratic, the consumption of substance more frequent and in larger quantities, and it spirals endlessly out of control, with no one able to stop it until “she bottoms”. There are many bottoms, there’s the bottom that says she wakes up one day and says, “I’m done, I’ve had enough, I’ll never be free, I’ll never escape my demons internal or external” and WHEN the ultimate bottom actually occurs. I do not believe in allowing ANYONE to hit bottom, none of us are experts enough to know what a bottom is for one individual human, no matter how close you “think” you are to them. I see it so often, “Oh, they have to hit bottom”. Well, with the influence of substance, that bottom can occur on a whim of substance intake, and by the time that bottom gets hit, you are making burial arrangements. A bottom in this case is tough to even speculate, nor should it be attempted. For example, you are dealing with a certain financial wealth, which can create a significant hurdle in the ability to make a step towards recovery difficult and sustain a free-fall without ever hitting a “financial” bottom. That is commonly one of the “bottoms” people hit as a result of their addiction (gambling, drinking, not going to work, spending money on drugs, etc,) all the while mounting other damage. So to those who are seeking the “bottom”, don’t. She’s already there in every way she can be. The failed marriage and losing the kids are just ridges on the cliff she’s fallen from that she hits on the way down to the inevitable bottom. You have to understand one thing, she is slowly killing herself, with the possibility of that slowness turning into hyperspeed with just the wrong combination of pills and alcohol, as an example. The ultimate bottom is quite simply, death. Don’t wait for her to hit “the bottom”. There are children involved here; they are the most innocent victims in the story, completely and utterly helpless. There is not much to say, simply out of respect for them. It’s very easy to “blame” Britney for “what she is doing to those kids”. Don’t. She can’t help it. She can’t stop. She’s sick. It’s time for a new strategy folks, again she’s not at the edge, she’s free falling from it.
One Thing is For Sure: Nothing is For Sure
In and out of rehab, short stays, more of the instability? Reaction to movements of others around her in their attempts to control certain aspects of the apparently uncontrollable? Hard to say, one can only hope that she finds the necessary strength to begin the path to healing. That is the single most important thing, no matter how it’s achieved. Whether by ultimatum and outside pressure or force, and later realization “once inside” that there is a path, one thing is for sure: nothing is for sure. I’ve seen ultimatums backfire as the choice be made that a 30-45 day stint in rehab is better than the outside consequences, yet yield no true path to healing, and subsequently it’s relapse city. It’s merely perceived as “serving a short sentence” for a crime rather than the self realization that there are deep rooted issues that need to be addressed and dealt with appropriately. In this case, that concerns me. Will it occur that the decision is made that the “punishment” doesn’t fit the crime? The things to ponder. Yet I champion the fact at least the door is open, for the moment.
Again, this is all observation, not fact, just opinion. As I write this I reflect on my own experiences in achieving sobriety, some memories painful, others of great joy that go along with a sense of accomplishment. Ups and downs, successes and failures, loves and losses. I write this with one thing in mind for Britney or anyone else finding themselves feeling alone, abandoned, unloved, unfulfilled, helpless, worthless, full of pain and relying on substance to fill the void: you are not alone. There is someone out there who can guide you, help you brush the dust off when you fall, be a net if they see you falling, and ultimately, loves you and suffers just as much as you knowing you are out there. Do not be afraid to find that person, be it in a complete stranger, or in the person sitting next to you on the couch. You need them as much as they need you because life is in fact, Chaotic.
I really like this person, whoever they are. I have been angry with Britney for not doing what I felt was in the best interests of her children since the divorce. What I didn't realize until the last few days is that this was a "sick little girl," and that the story was much, much bigger than Britney filing for divorce one day. I'm not angry anymore. I'm sad. It's such a tragic story. I think we should all stop looking for who's fault it is, including myself. I want Britney to get better. I want everyone who cares about her to get better too. It is time that Britney the human being becomes more important than Britney the brand, she deserves that.