Back in the 1980’s, Bruce Willis was getting paid enormous amounts of money to promote Seagram’s Golden Wine Cooler. And before that, before he got his break in Moonlighting, he was a bartender on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Alcohol was close to his life then.
But he eventually quit the high paying gig and alcohol altogether when he decided to find sober living in 1988. “I had been sober for a while,” he said in his 2013 interview with GQ Magazine, “But once I realized that I wasn’t gonna run myself off the pier of life with alcohol, drinking vodka out of the bottle every day,” he quit.
That year, Willis had just begun an acting career in Blind Date with Kim Basinger. And between Moonlighting and Blind Date, he has gone to make 73 other films from Pulp Fiction to The Sixth Sense to 12 Monkeys to The Bonfire of the Vanities. And of course, his blockbuster his, Die Hard, stands out in his career as an actor.
Today, Willis admits that he has a glass of wine with dinner, as he casually mentioned in his GQ interview. This hit the sober living community hard, especially those who believe in once an alcoholic always an alcoholic, and so having a drink means risky behavior. After the GQ interview was published last year, there were reports across the Internet that screamed, “Bruce Willis reveals he’s not sober anymore!”
The best sober living experience is different for everyone. Some believe in the power behind seeking sober help throughout the course of one’s life, even if it’s been years after finding sober living. Others believe that once you’re free of the grip of addiction, you’ve learned your lesson and there’s little to no chance of getting caught in the destructive cycle again.
For instance, experts say that recovery, sober living, is not only the absence of engaging in self-destructive behavior. It is also the participation in productive and life-affirming behaviors. It is also the ability to have healthy relationships, including with oneself.
Researchers believe that although a person might have entered recovery there are still parts of his or her personality that warrant healing. Even when a person is no longer drinking, patterns of thought that might have led to the drinking in the first place are often still in full swing. It’s the reason for the popular AA phrase – the dry drunk. The negative connotation to this phrase comes from the fact that family, friends, and co-workers must still have to bear the arrogance and destructive behavior of a recovering alcoholic.
Perhaps for this reason, the headlines that Willis was drinking again spread across the Internet. There’s an underlying message that the grip of addiction and its destructive cycle might come back to haunt Willis if he’s not careful.
However, in the meantime, he’s clearly enjoying his family. He just had another child with his wife, and he and his family are living happily in their Manhattan home. Whether Willis finds himself under the grips of alcohol addiction is unknown. But what is clear is that if he does, he’s sure to bust through what limits him. He’s sure to live up to the characters he’s played by relying on his strength and finding sober living again, if he needs to.
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