Guest blog written by Cory Sealey
Smoky voiced and drug addled chanteuse Amy Winehouse pined, “They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said no no no.” From Winehouse and Britney Spears to conservative religious leaders and political pundits like Rush Limbaugh, It seems like rehab is the new Club Med. Call someone a derogatory term, just go to “Naughty Word Rehab” like Isaiah Thomas. Were you caught in a homosexual relationship with a male prostitute like “completely heterosexual” Pastor Ted Haggard? Go to ex-gay rehab, emerge three weeks later and proclaim your “straightness” for the entire world to see. But when does spinning rehab as glamorous and an easy get-out-of-jail-free card turn dangerous?
I take issue with rehabilitation programs being spun as a way to give positive public opinion instead of a method of dealing with serious neurological issues and chemical dependency among other things. Why are Billy Bush and his Access Hollywood cohorts interviewing the director of Promises Rehabilitation Facility (where Lohan, half of the Olson twins, and the aforementioned Spears have stayed)? Why is the director highlighting the number of flat screen televisions in their “spa grotto”? Shouldn’t he at least touch on the counseling aspect of a stay in a rehab facility? When is he going to discuss the actual rehabilitation aspect? Oh, I forgot, discussing counseling programs doesn’t win you Emmys.
All of us have unfortunately acquiesced to the fact spin is going to be pretty much everywhere. What we should take major issue with is when a life saving method of helping people overcome horrible addictions is being spun as a way to sleep off your appletini-induced bender and avoid jail time. Legitimate issues of addiction, abuse, and mental health are being glossed over in favor of hot stone rubs and aromatherapy with fellow meth addicts while DJ AM spins the latest house tracks in the background.
Can the dramatic increase of rehab visits and their visibility in popular media can be directly attributed to the positive-for-the-wrong-reason spin it is receiving. Is this spin is going to get people killed. What about the people who can’t afford multiple stays at rehab? Where are their stories? How many suicides or drunk driving accidents have been linked to people who didn’t treat their rehabilitation program seriously? Who cares how pretty the pony was Nicole Richie had to brush every day for a week? She is only one member of the elite club that has been in rehab multiple times. Spin is hiding the simple fact that these programs need to concentrate less on relaxation and more on rehabilitation. We all need to wake up and take a vested interest in our rehabilitation programs. Only when we realize these programs should not be something aspired to will we finally stop this dangerous spin.