Years ago, when I was researching Alcoholics Anonymous in Urbana, Illinois, I found out inadvertently that Roger Ebert was a member. I did not of course tell anyone until he told his own story publicly in 2009. As someone who works in the addiction field, I make it a point to inform people who are struggling with addiction that a large number of extraordinarily successful people were once — just like them — lost in alcohol and drugs. In short, there is hope for recovery, indeed in some cases for a life that is even better than what came before the carnage of addiction:

In August 1979, I took my last drink. It was about four o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, the hot sun streaming through the windows of my little carriage house on Dickens. I put a glass of scotch and soda down on the living room table, went to bed, and pulled the blankets over my head. I couldn’t take it any more.

The rest of Ebert’s story here.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor at Stanford University. @KeithNHumphreys