Courtney Love and Recovery

Iconic grande dame of rock and roll Courtney Love played at the recovery rally, a celebration of recovery from drug abuse recently in NY. Love is known for her on and off stage antics, largely connected to her long time on and off recovery. Love has had a stormy history including the suicide of her husband, Kurt Cobain. It’s been a very public experience, one that easily asks the question, is she an example of recovery?

The media has long been telling the same story about recovery, the same story arc of fall from grace, lesson learned, never did it again. It’s a fine story, the kind that after school specials and Republican social policy is made of, not to mention the DARE program. Is there anything wrong with this message? No. It’s a happy tale and representative of about 2 percent of people currently in remission from addictive disease and some of them may be lying.

In a way, Courtney Love is the perfect recovery story and one that is closer to more stories than the media approved neatly tied up story. She has been up, down, in rehab, stable, funny and charming, glimmers of artistic brilliance consumed by tragedy, back recording and touring, fall again, loved, hated, the story continues. Most of us don’t live our lives under the watchful eye of the media nor do we have the unique life of Courtney Love. At many levels, she is an inspiration, she reduces the shame that many addicts feel by letting us watch her very flawed and imperfect life, she gives misfits permission to live, to feel they have a place in a complicated and often isolating world. So yes, Courtney Love is a role model for the recovering community, and I enjoyed her show and was there to say thank you for advocating for our cause.


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