In Season 9, Episode 6 of the totally bonkers Showtime series Shameless, now showing on Netflix, Courtney Cox plays a famous actress who employs a “sober companion” to keep her off the booze before an important shoot the following morning. High jinks ensue as it appears to be tougher to keep a celebrity sober than it is to wrangle a wild bull. The episode illustrates how mendacious and creative an alcoholic can be when he or she wants a drink. And Courtney does a fine job of capturing the unique challenges of being a celebrity with a drinking problem while attempting to maintain a normal life of work and pleasure.

Fellow Brat Packer Demi Moore went through a similar real-life struggle on the set of the 1985 film St. Elmo’s Fire. In her 2019 tell-all memoir Inside Out, Moore confesses that she was dangerously addicted to cocaine which required her to enter a rehab program two weeks before filming. As well, production had a drug counselor accompany her 24/7 throughout the entirety of the shoot. This program was primarily put in place and maintained by the film’s director, Joel Schumacher.

“Joel was doing for me what he couldn’t do for himself, because he got sober so many years later,” Moore says. “I had never had somebody really champion me, like there was no reason, I didn’t have any huge box office for him to really be sticking his neck out—it was an ensemble, they could have definitely filled that with any number of young and up-and-coming actresses.”

Schumacher, who passed away in June after a year-long battle with cancer, apparently put his own money up to make sure Demi stayed sober throughout the shoot.

“The fact that he allowed me to start the movie with 15 days of sobriety, that they paid for me to have a companion—and that companion, they had to pay for 24/7 for the entire shoot, it just was not heard of,” the Indecent Proposal star says. “I think anybody else—there’s a good chance I would have just been looked at like a liability.” 

On June 22nd, Demi tweeted about her former mentor writing, “Working with Joel Schumacher on ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ was a pivotal moment in not just my career, but in my journey to recovery. Forever grateful for the tough love and the chance he took on me. His daring, dynamic spirit will be missed. Rest easy Joel.” 

That being said, her experience with ex-husband Ashton Kutcher was another piece of business entirely. She struggled with alcoholism throughout their eight-year marriage, and Demi claims the former male model consistently “shamed” her about her drinking.

“I wanted to be that girl. The girl who could have a glass of wine at dinner, or do a tequila shot at a party. In my mind, Ashton wanted that, too. So I tried to become that: a fun, normal girl,” she says. “When I went too far, though, he let me know how he felt by showing a picture he’d taken of me resting my head on the toilet the night before. It seemed like a good-natured joke at the time. But it was really just shaming.”

Nonetheless, Demi is not ready to cast blame or aspersions on her ex; instead, she chooses to take responsibility for her own actions and to see the upside of her troubles.

“I’m grateful to Ashton, too, believe it or not,” she writes. “Whatever pain we went through together enabled both of us to grow into the people we are today.”

Since people have been largely quarantined due to COVID-19, drug overdoses have skyrocketed and alcohol sales have increased by as much as 55%. Seclusion and loneliness can be a breeding ground for drug and alcohol abuse. According to CBS News, “Coronavirus pandemic may lead to 75,000 ‘deaths of despair’ from suicide, drug and alcohol abuse.”

If you or someone you know is going through a hard time, it’s important to understand there are resources out there to assist in recovery. SAMHSA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “offers a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.”

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