Bruce Willis Has a Little Wine “Mostly” With Meals

GoodDaytoDieHardWillisfcTsrYipfull (1)Yippee-ki-yay-mother-Russia.  I know it’s not an intellectual thing to say, but I LOVE action movies. Especially action movies with big strong handsome men who save the world from the bad guys.  Today, Bruce Willis‘ new (DieHard5) movie “A Good Day to Die Hard,” hits movie theatres around town.

If I didn’t have this stupid back trouble we’d probably be having a Valentine’s Day date night, going to see this movie after sushi at Mizu.  sigh.  You can watch the initial trailer here.

This article/video today from Huffpo Live, Bruce Willis Talks Getting Sober, describes how Willis says in a recent interview that he started drinking again.

“I had been sober [for a while]. But once I realized that I wasn’t gonna run myself off the pier of life with alcohol, drinking vodka out of the bottle every day … I have wine now, mostly when I eat.”

The knee-jerk (maybe when we’re being a little “holier-than-thou”) reaction from those of us in the “recovery community” is to gasp at this type of statement, especially coming from a celebrity.  Doesn’t he know once an alcoholic always an alcoholic?  What if he makes other alcoholics think they too can have wine with meals? Wine with meals—harmftt! Denial.

But what does Bruce Willis drinking again have to do with my own recovery–nada.  It just makes me tense up a little, hoping he doesn’t get drunk in public and mess up a good thing.

We have to remember that by nature we alcoholics drink mostly because we like the effect it has on us. And even after a long period of sobriety, if we decide to take a drink–however nonchalantly, innocently–we’re eventually right back where we left off. And we love it.  That feeling that to us surpasses all understanding…the buzz. I don’t think this is what Jesus was talking about in Philippians 4:7.

To an alcoholic, a buzz is not just a buzz.  A buzz is a spiritual experience.

Heather King (she is a Catholic contemplative and sober writer-find her at Shirt of Flame.) describes this perfectly in an interview she did back in 2010 with Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete and Crossroads Cultural Center,

“The first time I drank was a religious experience. Unfortunately for an alcoholic who has this neurological mis-wiring, neurological glitch such that when you take a drink you’ve ceded all free will. Eventually this mental obsession, physical craving (it might take a while) is going to set up, and it progresses. But the very first time I drank, it was that feeling I’d looked for my whole life—I love everybody; everybody loves me. And it lasted a very short period of time before I had a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde personality.” Heather King

It’s not about what kind of alcohol I drink; it’s about the effect the alcohol has on my brain, the brain of an alcoholic.  To understand the neurological workings of an alcoholic brain, click here.


Cover of next month’s (March 2013) GQ Magazine

I was 3 years sober when I decided to “have a glass of wine with dinner.”  Why not?  I can handle it.  I hadn’t drank in three whole years–so obviously, I’d licked this thing.  So on our anniversary in 2009, at a romantic bed and breakfast in the North Georgia mountains, I had a yummy glass of red wine.  Then I had two chardonnays with dinner.

I woke up the next morning and told my husband, “It’s no big deal, honey. I like being sober better. That was a fluke.”

A week later, I had wine when my husband and I went out for sushi.  A couple of weeks after that I had several beers at our neighborhood Christmas party. Within three months I was back to my old ways, drinking every evening, trudging through the days, hung over.

Two people can drink the same drink, the same amount.  The alcoholic has an entirely different internal biological chemical experience than the non-alcoholic.  For you non-alcoholics out there, you’re missing out!  lol.  But seriously, I hope Bruce succeeds in his “controlled drinking” experiment.  He’s a bigger man than I.  It took me a couple of years to get back on track after deciding it was okay to have a little wine with meals.

As a “word girl,” I immediately noticed his use of the word, “mostly.”  At least he’s honest.  Mostly he only drinks wine with meals, but sometimes he drinks it all by its self.  That’s when the best buzzes happen–on empty stomachs.

Here is a blog post from a couple of weeks ago talking about how “real men” (yes, that included Bruce Willis) do get sober.  Not anymore.

22 thoughts on “Bruce Willis Has a Little Wine “Mostly” With Meals

  1. It makes you wonder how many people that admire him, who are alcoholics, will now say “if Bruce can do it then I can to” and won’t realize what they are getting themselves in for. I know that my “just a beer a night” theory after 3 years of sobriety fell apart pretty quickly. Good luck to him, I just hope people don’t follow his lead.

    • as alcoholics we’ll look for any excuse to pick that drink back up. whether it’s bruce willis’ drinking again or a bad day at work. can’t wait to see the movie, though!

  2. Well, let’s check in with Bruce in a few weeks or months and see how that is working for him. Hey, if he can pull it off, that’s wonderful. But that wouldn’t fly with this alcoholic. I know for a fact that the moment I pick up, and I am not putting back down. I have proven that over and over again, and I am not foolish enough to try it again. The longer I have away from that last drunk, the more I stand to lose. But what is interesting is that he’s mentioned being sober since 1988 and having no real reason about picking up again. But as an alcoholic, we don’t need the reasons don’t we? Ego rebuilds and starts to take over again and whispers sweet nothings in our ear like “wine with dinner is fine…you’ve already shown the world who is in control…you” That is why I need to remember that I don’t run the show anymore – it’s God who guides and directs my thinking. It’s His will that I align mine with. I can’t afford ego to rebuild. It could kill me.

    Hope that no one else takes after him. It would be a shame, but Bruce is a person like any one of us – fallible – and he wouldn’t be the first nor the last celebrity to struggle with booze. Good luck to him…and to everyone on this wonderful, but sometimes perilous, journey.


  3. Yes, prayers for him and anyone else wanting to try the same. I am learning from you and those in your sitaution about suspicions I’ve had about addictions. While mine is of a spiritual nature, the mode of attack is the same! — “JUST DON’T GO THERE”
    Wish more would realize who rejoices whenever we try to go contrary to human experience and think we can be different or, worse yet, go it alone. I’m so glad that the Body of Christ reaches out to each other and encourages everyone in these battles. 🙂

  4. I learned Bruce was sober and then not sober in less than a minute. Is he different from any other alcoholic that thinks this time they can handle it? Maybe. Probably not. I hate these stories because you pretty much know how they’re going to turn out. They remind me how powerful denial is and it starts to feel inevitable.

    I really appreciate your story. I am starting to understand how after 3 years, I might not have the same resolve I had at 1 year. I can feel it sort of start to chip away, which is why stories like yours help. In my gut, I know I can never drink casually…I am not that person, and I just keep hoping I never try to be.

    Thank you for your honesty and courage.

    • One thing I think contributed to the relapse for me was I had stopped going to AA after the first year. So, by year three I hadn’t been around the recovery community for them to remind me what happens when you think you are cured. Now, I go to meetings a lot to remind me and to remind others through my story.

  5. I remember thinking it was really cool that Bruce Willis was sober when I was trying to get sober in my 30’s. Thinking he was cool didn’t help much though. I still bounced in and out of AA for 7 years before I finally settled down in ’98. Like CA, that included a two year hiatus after 3 years of sobriety. Thank God Bruce’s return to tipping a few isn’t likely to inspire me to test the waters again either. I like the waters of sobriety just fine.

    But one question: Why is it so many talk about drinking wine again as though it’s a safe way to test the turbulent waters? Especially men? I confess; I did and said the same sort of thing during my repeated lapses in the 90s: “Just having wine with dinner, Y’all. No worries.” And no need for you to know that I knocked back a pint of Jack Daniels and two beers in the car on the way to dinner either. With dinner, yes, I will drink “mostly” wine, because after dinner, trust me, I will drink “mostly” anything else and lots of it.

  6. :::sigh::: Oooh, Bruce, Bruce, Bruce. :::shaking head:::

    Your relapse story and mine are very similar. Three years of sobriety and then we stick our toes in. Pull back. Decide, “Meh, it aint that bad.” Go in up to our ankles. Knees. Next thing you know were drowning in our own alcoholism and bad decision making.

    The evidence is stacked against Bruce, but hey, you never know. Maybe he’s not really an alcoholic. Only time will tell.

    • You mean I’m not special and unique? Ha. This is one of the greatest things about recovery–we share bits and prices of our stories, put it out there, then imagine we are the only ones who feel this way. Then boom. Some sweet soul says, “me too.” And our connection to the world strengthens just a bit more.

  7. Each person is different and has to find what works for them. One of my friends who is now over a decade sober, she can have a sip of her husband’s wine and is OK with it, but then wine wasn’t her tipple of choice. I know of some people who find receiving communion difficult (Anglicans nearly always receive both kinds) and I have been told of a priest who knew exactly how much wine to put in the chalice so he didn’t have anything left to consume after the administration, but I’ve also been told of another priest who didn’t have any problems with communion wine “because it’s been consecrated”. I guess it all depends on where in the journey each person is. But I agree that if one person finds something that works for them, they should not assume that it’ll work for someone else and make it clear that it’s something personal – especially if they’re someone who is well-known.

    Does this make any sense at all?

    • Makes good sense. Perhaps your friend hadn’t crossed that fine line, the one that takes us from being a cucumber to being a pickle. Once a pickle, you never go back to being a cucumber–this is a common funny saying in meetings…but all jokes aside, I do take the Sacrament at Mass. A sip of the consecrated wine every Sunday. Most alcoholics in my recovery meetings would object to this so I don’t bring it up. I don’t expect people to understand the importance of this Sacrament to me and I don’t want to defend or promote the practice to others. It is my path. It’s a very small sip, so when you say your friend takes a “sip” of her husband’s wine and be ok with it, I’m not surprised. A sip is teeny. A gulp or a glass would be a different story and could very well set back in motion the craving mechanism in we alcoholics. I’m no expert but this is my experience and understanding of it. I don’t think Bruce Willis indicated he takes a sip, or at least that wasn’t my impression. Why would your friend want to take a sip of her husband’s wine if she’s sober? Seems like she is playing with fire a little bit but who am I to say? It’s more than being something personal, there are physiological aspects to addiction that make it important the addicted abstain completely. Whew! I don’t usually like to write this much in my comments! LOL. sorry!

      • Cucumber/pickle, wish I had heard that one before! Wishing you the best with the chalice at each Mass. Actually, I don’t have to wish. He knows your intentions and will look after you. 🙂

      • This friend generally drank cider or vodka; she didn’t tend to go for anything else except in “emergencies”, and has never liked wine as a drink. She generally only tries it when her husband says about it being good, and she’s determined not to let it ever be more than a sip, because she likes herself – and her life – better when she’s sober.

        I have another friend whose tipple was Bacardi & coke, but he only has to smell something alcoholic at times and he’s struggling. He’s someone who does struggle with communion wine when he’s having a bad day.

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