Reality Rocks - Archive

Steven Adler: They Tried To Make Him Go To Rehab

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

The latest show I've become addicted to (no pun intended, really) is VH1's Celebrity Rehab 2--which, unlike most heavily edited reality shows, offers a completely unglossy depiction of its celebrity subjects. It also offers a real service to the people who appear on the show--yes, some might argue that it exploits these rockers who've hit rock bottom, but at the same time, it provides top-of-the-line rehab treatment for addicts who clearly need it. And that can't be a bad thing.

The Celebrity Rehab 2 cast member who's made the biggest impression on me so far this season is former Guns N' Roses drummer Steven Adler. I always figured a guy whose drug abuse was severe enough to get him kicked out of GNR--not exactly the most teetotaling band in the world--was a hopeless case, a loser, a wastoid and a waste of space. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it's how I genuinely felt. It's probably how a lot of people felt before watching Celebrity Rehab 2.

But on the show, Steven turned out to be a surprisingly sympathetic character--childlike and gregarious, willing to show vulnerability, abundantly friendly to his fellow patients, sweet and loving to his wife, trying to recover from a drug-related stroke, and battling horrific childhood demons that could make anyone considering picking up a syringe or pipe (for starters, his mother kicked him out of the house at age 11 upon his stepfather's orders, dumping his boyhood belongings in the street and changing the locks).

Steven also broke down on camera on Celebrity Rehab, discussing what he'd lost due to drugs--not just a job drumming for the biggest rock band on the planet, but also his friendship with his ex-bandmate Slash. The moment when he looked longingly at an '80s framed GNR photo and cried out, "I want my best friend Slash back," it was almost too much to watch. (But if you want to watch it, go HERE.)

It was hard to watch because it was real. Unlike most scenes on reality shows.

Yes, Celebrity Rehab is real REALITY, people. Which means it doesn't necessarily have a happy ending. Real life doesn't always work out that way.

Case in point: This week, Steven pleaded no contest to a heroin possession charge in the hopes of avoiding jail time by entering a treatment program. Another drug treatment program. Apparently there is a lot more work to be done where Steven's concerned--more than Dr. Drew can pull off during the course of a brief VH1 Celebreality series.

Steven is scheduled to appear in court on December 12 to determine if he is eligible for drug treatment instead of jail. I personally wish him luck. It would be nice if he could get his happy ending after all, and get his best friend back.

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