Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How To (Temporarily) Drop Your Coke Habit: Marry A Total Narc

So after realizing, at a Hall & Oates concert, that her new squeeze Mr. Mason wasn't a conceited twerp after all, Belinda still decided to play it cool for a little while, right? Pffft, you should know better by now. From Lips Unsealed:
I moved in with Morgan the next day. Everyone thought it was crazy. They thought we were crazy. Morgan and I said they didn't understand. We thought it was the most natural thing in the world. We were in love.
In love! The birds sang, the flowers bloomed, the urinals flushed. Those other kids, they didn't get it, man. They were just jealous. Because nothing is crazy once you've found your true Yuppie sweetheart. It should be noted, however, that moving in with a man she hardly knew was probably the least crazy thing Belinda had ever done, as she quickly illustrates with her next couple of paragraphs:
Of course, he didn't have any idea he had gotten himself involved with a cocaine addict. He looked at me through a haze of affection. It blinded him to reality, a reality that I strove to conceal. I showed him the very best of me, the person I wished I was, the person I might have been if not for the whole secret life I had going on as a drug addict.

I was able to hide my coke addiction, but it took major effort and tons of lies. I was slow in moving my stuff from the Marina on purpose. I used my condo as a hideout, a secret den where I could go and get high in safety. At night, after Morgan fell asleep, I snuck out and went to my old place and got high. I always left little notes on the bed for Morgan, saying that I went out to get Pepto-Bismol.
?!?!?! That must have been a lot of imaginary Pepto-Bismol. Morgan really must have been wondering about the strength of Belinda's digestive system. I mean, we all get the runs now and then, but to need Pepto-Bismol ... every night? Hitler should have tried that excuse on the Allies. "You just invaded Poland!" "No I didn't, I was just out getting some Pepto-Bismol." Nevertheless, Belinda's love hit her like a shockingly urgent bowel movement:
My feelings for Morgan were deeper, stronger, and more mysterious and fulfilling than any I had ever felt in my life. He was unlike anybody I had ever met. He was attractive, elegant, smart and sophisticated, and very funny. I couldn't understand why he had been so aloof when we met. He was totally opposite from that arrogant guy.

Morgan drove a Ferrari. Although I had always thought guys who drove those sleek sports cars were creepy, Morgan looked appropriate in his car, just like he did in his finely tailored suits. It fit without pretense or attitude. He enjoyed himself and lived with a sense of fun, panache, and style.
Just admit it Belinda, you wanted to be a Yuppie. It's OK. It was the '80s. It happened to everybody. Even Steve Winwood! But contrary to popular belief, not every Yuppie was quite so approving of the magical powder:
Sometime toward the end of February, Morgan figured out the truth about me. I had been going back and forth at night between his condo and my dealer while he slept. I would buy the coke, come back, sit in the living room and get high, and then smoke cigarettes on the balcony.

I don't know what I was thinking.

Clearly, I wasn't thinking.

I was gone. Subconsciously, I was begging to be found out.
The coke wasn't your high, Belinda. The danger was your high.
One morning Morgan woke up and came into the living room. He saw me seated on the couch, bending over something. As soon as I heard him, I shoved it under the couch. He saw me, though, and asked, "What are you doing?"
Nice, the old "shove it under the couch" routine. "Oh, nothing honey, I was just ... admiring the floral pattern on these seat covers! Excellent upholstery choice, dear."
Instead of waiting for me to answer, he reached down and pulled out a mound of coke that I had piled up on a magazine. He took it out on the balcony and with a look of utter disgust dumped it over the side.
Noooooo!!! Morgan nooooo!!! That was her next album's whole advance!
I was busted, so completely busted. I hadn't moved. It was like I was waiting for him to do something.

"I'm sorry," I said, dissolving into tears. "I'm sorry."

He was upset and didn't know what to do. Neither did I.

He never gave me an ultimatum; I simply knew that I had to get sober. And that's what I did - sort of.
Bravo, Belinda, bravo - wait, what? "Sort of"? What do you mean, "sort of"? What the hell does it mean to be "sort of" sober? Good question - and lo and behold, she actually answers it:
As any recovering addict knows, you can't be "sort of" sober. It's all or nothing. But I devised my own plan. I didn't want to check into rehab; I couldn't stand the thought of seeing my dirty laundry unfurled in the press. In retrospect, it shouldn't have been a big deal. If I was going to admit I had a problem, it shouldn't have mattered if I admitted it to one person or a million. What did matter, though, was admitting the whole and honest truth to myself, and I couldn't do that.

I thought I was taking the right steps when I confessed to Morgan and then sought out Charlotte, who was recently out of rehab and attending meetings. She was extremely understanding and helpful. With her help and encouragement, I stopped doing coke right away.
Stopped ... doing ... coke? Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and no, that's not coke in his beard. This was truly a landmark moment in Western Civilization. If Belinda Carlisle could stop doing coke (well, you know, for a little while), then anything was possible. The Berlin Wall could crumble. The U.S. could end the embargo against Castro's Cuba. This was a great day for all of us. Well, "sort of":
She took me to twelve-step meetings and I began attending Cocaine Anonymous meetings on my own, too. But I concocted or rationalized my own version of the program, one where I could drink, pop pills, and do hallucinogens - anything except cocaine. That was my one rule: no coke.
Good rule.
I was proud of my progress. Once I told someone who had a number of years of sobriety under his belt that I was in "the program," a euphemism for being sober and attending twelve-step meetings. He asked if I attended meetings. I said, "Sometimes." Skeptical, he asked who my sponsor was. I said that I was sponsoring myself. Seeing that I was serious, he shook his head slightly, an almost imperceptible acknowledgment that I didn't get it, and said, "Okay, good luck."
Slick. That's like being your own parole officer. No conflict of interest there.

But I'm burying the lede here, which is that, contrary to my initial impression of the Belinda Carlisle career arc, the start of her unexpectedly corporate solo career did not actually coincide with out-of-control drug use. So wait, you mean to tell me that this former hardcore L.A. punk rocker dove headfirst into late '80s Top 40 bubblegum ... with a clear head? You mean to tell me she went Yuppie ... knowingly? Well, a lack of cocaine consumption doesn't necessarily translate into a "clear head" (as we shall see), but yes, you might consider this something of a twist. If anything, her "sort of" sobriety may have been the driving force behind her shameless and emphatic embrace of the Yuppie ethos. Maybe she never really liked punk rock; she just liked the drugs! Actually, I think she liked both, but after being scolded by her husband for those late night "Pepto-Bismol" runs, it turns out she didn't stick with either.

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