The Destruction From Within or What Is Wrong With Us?
The media circus that surrounds the self-absorbed, addicted lives of Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan and numerous fallen “idols” overshadows the courage of other celebrities.
A rising star, Robert Downey Jr. appeared in several critically acclaimed films, including Chaplin, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award as best actor in 1992. During the years that followed he was frequently arrested on drug charges and went through several rehab programs. Despite several attempted comebacks, his appearances before court judges seemed pathetic as he was repeatedly given more chances. Following his last drug arrest in 2001 for cocaine use, Downey, nearly at the point of no return, decided on life instead of death and reached out for help.
His determination at staying clean and sober pulled his life together and revitalized his career, which has reached new heights. He has starred in
the hugely successful “Iron Man” movies and won a Golden Globe in 2010 for his performance in “Sherlock Holmes.” Like many addicts, he once blamed others for his problems. It was when he took responsibility for his own actions that he turned his life around. He credits his victory over drugs and alcohol to his family, therapy and the 12-step approach, which emphasizes turning an unmanageable self-centered life over to God.
Mickey Mantle was one of the best New York Yankee sluggers to ever live. But he could have been greater, maybe even equal to baseball’s legendary Babe Ruth, had he not destroyed his life with alcohol. Mickey’s father, uncle and grandfather died of Hodgkin’s disease at young ages. He never thought he’d see age 40 because of the hereditary disease. Despite winning three Most Valuable Player awards for the season, holding the record for most
World Series home runs and being called the “greatest switch hitter of all time,” Mantle was plagued by injuries throughout his career. Although it seemed to be bad luck, the injuries most likely stemmed from his partying lifestyle, particularly his drinking. After being a consistent .300 hitter, his career suddenly took a downturn in 1965
and he had to quit baseball in 1969. His drinking got worse during his retiring years, often caused by regrets over what could have been.
When he finally decided to give up the bottle, his liver was so damaged he needed a transplant. During the operation, doctors discovered a cancer, which was inoperable. Mickey lived for another year and a half and bravely came forward with a final message to his many lifelong fans. He confessed before news cameras that God had given him superior talents to play sports, but he “blew it” and insisted he was not a hero. “Don’t be like me,” Mantle pleaded. He died in 1995 at age 63. He had tried to beat a family curse with self-affliction. His courage to the end provided a valuable lesson. All of us have crosses to bear. They can be overcome through acceptance without tempting fate.