Even if you’re not a football fan you’ve probably read or heard about the public exploits of soon to be former Cleveland Browns quarterback, Johnny Manziel. In full disclosure, I have never met Johnny Manziel. I don’t know his parents or anyone in his family. Regardless of what is reported in the media, I have no personal knowledge that he has any drug related issues.
While I am an addict in long term recovery, (April 8th 2007) and speak regularly on the subject, unlike what seems like half the known universe, I have no advice for Johnny. Why? He has not asked me for any. He has not even admitted, at least publicly, that he has any issues. Why would he? I didn’t take out a front page news column about my addiction and recovery. When I finally attained self awareness of my problems, my recovery began privately in the rooms of AA. It did not become public until much later when I made the personal choice to become an advocate. To my knowledge, Johnny has made no such choice.
Recovery should be private until the person in recovery chooses to make it public. It therefore irritates me to see a string of professional athletes, former and current and other celebrities ,tweeting and public interviewing their ego driven “call me bro” recovery plans to someone they clearly don’t know on a personal level and has not asked for their help. How do I know this? If there was a personal relationship, they would not be tweeting and making public media announcements, they would be making personal, private phone calls and telling no one.
Yes, Johnny’s parents did make a public plea to their son. While in a general addiction sense, we know that public shaming can be a motivator to that first step, it can also backfire and alienate. I won’t second guess that either for the same reasons. I don’t know the parents and I don’t know Johnny. It’s not my place to say what they did was right or wrong. He’s not my son.
The people who call quietly are the people who most often ultimately, end up making the difference, not the “call me bro” sudden media addiction “experts”. Because someone is a cautionary tale and expert in their own story, does not mean that person is experienced in dealing with the issues of others.
I suspect that if Johnny decides he needs support, he will go to the people closest to him. He will not reach out to the “call me bro’ addiction experts. That is the way it should be. That is the way it was for me. As Mr. Wonderful. would say, Let’s stop the “call me bro” madness. This is not a reality show. It’s not a game.