Roger Ebert, legendary film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, died on Thursday at the age of 70. In addition to writing more than 300 film reviews over his lifetime, he also wrote and spoke freely about his alcoholism and recovery. In 2009, Ebert wrote a column for the thirty year anniversary of his sobriety: “My name is Roger, and I’m an alcoholic.” The column described how, in August of 1979, he set down his scotch and soda, got into bed, pulled the covers over his head, and decided he “couldn’t take it any more.”
A couple of days later, Ebert went to visit Dr. Jakob Schlichter, who asked him to meet with a counselor. Ebert went to his first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting the same day, unable to come up with an excuse not to go since the meeting took place ten steps from his desk at the Chicago Sun-Times building. “That was the beginning of a thirty years’ adventure,” he writes. “It was the best thing that ever happened to me.” Ebert describes the “drunkalogs” and sobriety stories of the unusual people he met there, from a formerly homeless man who liked to read the address on his drivers license to the stories of “functioning alcoholics” like Ebert himself.
Ebert concludes his essay: “Before I went to my first meeting, I imagined the drunks would sit around telling drinking stories. Or perhaps they would all be depressing and solemn and holier-than-thou. I found out you rarely get to be an alcoholic by being depressing and solemn and holier-than-thou. These were the same people I drank with, although now they were making more sense.”
If you or a loved one needs help for a substance abuse issue, we’re here for you. Email us or call us today: 1 888 671 9392.