Ten Miles Square


April 05, 2013 1:05 PM Roger Ebert on Alcoholism and Recovery

By Keith Humphreys

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 is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine.


  • Addiction Myth on April 06, 2013 1:27 AM:

    Alcoholism isn't a disease. Typically men like Roger Ebert drink because they are lonely and want to go out carousing. Sometimes they drink to create distance from their wives. This strategy generally works great, at least until potential sex partners start to dry up. Then they get lonely and aren't sure quite what to do. Many just stop drinking, and some go to AA. It's easier to blame your sex habits on alcohol(ism) than your own constitution. This is because society tends to view promiscuous sex as immoral.

  • CRA on April 07, 2013 10:49 PM:

    Addiction Myth on April 06, 2013 1:27 AM:

    You have no idea how off-base you are. Please read Ebert's essay linked below, but possibly more importantly, read some of the hundreds of comments. I really think you owe the rest of us at least a half-hour of your time... I wonder if you'll have changed your mind.