#Fevola plays rehab card #afl #dickileaks
For a celebrity on the cusp of losing a lot of money and/or whatever remains of their wilting reputation, drug and/or alcohol and/or sex rehabilitation is the best hand by far in the crisis management deck. In our culture, you can’t criticize someone once they have gone into rehab because the act itself is seen as immensely courageous (a notion I will turn to in a moment). In the moments following word of Brendan Fevola’s oh-so-predictable move, the response on Twitter shows why crisis communications consultants adore rehab so much.
Fevola reportedly in rehab: Brendan Fevola is understood to be dealing with his self-destructive demons…
This is bullshit for more than the obvious reason that the term, “self-destructive demon” , makes no sense since it means a demon that destroys itself and would, therefore, leave Fevola demon-free. I assume they mean that the demons are destructive of Fevola and that, by demons, they are referring to his tendency to drink loads and loads of piss and get in trouble as a result.
Now I have a deep philosophical problem with the idea that alcoholism is something that attacks you, demon or disease-like, from outside oneself or as a kind of third-party, but I won’t go on at length about that here. (I have posted on this subject before, based on my own experience as a chronic boozer and my eventual recovery which kicked off on October 2, 2006.)
Now let me get to this heroic act of courage storyline that will spread like a horseshit-fueled wildfire as the Fevola-rehab yarn plays out.
Let me get one thing straight: stopping drinking is not easy for someone who suffers from chronic alcohol dependency. For such people, going into detox (which usually precedes rehab) is somewhat courageous because the prospect of going even a couple of hours without alcohol can be incredibly scary, as it was for me. But Fevola is almost certainly not in this camp. Fev is a binge-drinker who is able to function quite normally (well…you know what I mean) without alcohol coursing through his veins. In the DSM-IV that defines such things, Fevola abuses alcohol without dependency. We all know plenty of people in this camp and, for some of them, the binge behaviour leads to shocking outcomes like drunk-driving, domestic violence, assault and many other crimes. In most instances, people tend to move on from this kind of conduct as they settle down and tire of hangovers and or come under pressure from loved ones who tire of them. A percentage of these boozehounds kick on and develop full blown dependency throughout their adult life, and such people either give up as things become untenable (often without rehab or any other medical intervention), or they don’t. The latter group is what most people mean when they think of an “alcoholic”, as distinguishable from the ubiquitous, in Australia and NZ culture at least, pisshead.
For a pisshead like Fevola, rehab is far from scary or courageous. It is — literally, for a portion of the day at least — a walk in the park. He will almost certainly experience no physical withdrawal symptoms of note (after all, he plays football and trains at an elite level for half the year), and his personality strikes me as optimal for the purposes of avoiding too much in the way of emotional turmoil or shame. This will be a very gentle few days for the man, possibly even a welcome respite. If he likes yogurt, and is partial to a bit of yoga, the whole rehab experience will feel more like a meditation retreat than a daring act of self-intervention.
Good luck to him. For someone in his position, the prospect of curbing his drinking behavior is no doubt daunting, if that is indeed his intention. But rehab is the easy part. And, if it saves his million-dollar contract, then the decision to check himself in today is a no-brainer worthy of a man with no brain.