I know this may sound strange, because I had absolutely nothing to do it, but I was so proud to watch my old partner in well, you know…. John Taylor presented with the  2013 Writers in Treatment Experience, Strength, & Hope Award for “demonstrating character, courage and creativity in recovery” last Friday night. In JT’s recently released book, In the Pleasure Groove – Love, Death, & Duran Duran, he shares much more than the usual drugs, sex, rock and roll memoir  the public devours with an insatiable appetite.

Christina Estrada, John Taylor, & Julie Anne Rhodes

Christina Estrada, John Taylor, & Julie Anne Rhodes

Yes, there is the obligatory behind the scenes account of Duran Duran’s rise to stardom,“the highs of hanging out with icons like Bowie, Warhol, and even James Bond; dating Vogue models; and driving fast cars.” I’ll never forget being terrified my water would break in John’s brand new 250K (at the time about $500,000.00 US) Aston Martin when he insisted on taking me for a test spin while heavily pregnant with Tatjana – but then we both shared a love of fast cars, and he’s a big softy around pregnant women. When I voiced my concern he said, “ah, it’s just a car.” Yeah, one I knew he’d longed for since childhood, waited almost two years for it to be hand built, and turned down offers of double his investment for his place in the queue for the limited edition of only 200 made.

John Taylor & Robert Downey Jr. at the reception before the ceremony

John Taylor & Robert Downey Jr. at the reception before the ceremony

That is not why John was honored with this award – it was his willingness to also candidly share his battle with substance abuse, how his addiction nearly destroyed him, and how he found his way back to sobriety – hopefully giving hope to those who are still out there struggling with the disease of addiction. Who better than longtime friend Robert Downey Jr., who fought his own very public battle with the disease and conquered his demons too, to present John with his award?

Ed Begley Jr., Davina, and Bob

Ed Begley Jr MC’d the evening, with singer Davina serenading, and Bob

The evening took place at the nearly impossible to find (and 1 1/2 hours in rush hour traffic from Hollywood), yet beautiful once you do –   Skirball Center. Actor Ed Begley Jr. was master of ceremony over the event which also boasted an acoustic performance by singer Davina, and a roll-on-the-floor-laugh-your-guts-out stand up performance by comedian Bobcat Goldthwait who referred to his current wife throughout the routine as “09.” I couldn’t wait to thank him afterwards for the laughs that had felt so good, and to meet the infamous “09.”

John the award , AND a peck from Robert Downey Jr.

John, the award , AND a peck from Robert Downey Jr.

Now Robert Downey Jr. is no slouch in the humor department either, and a hard act to follow, but John killed it with his own hilarious references to my ex, a touching thanks to his gorgeous wife, Gela, Some Like it Hot’s Michael DesBarres, and Sex Pistol Steve Jones (all in attendance). He also humbly admitted that this award, and what it represents, means every bit as much to him as his Grammy’s.

John with his wife stunning and equally dynamic wife Gela Nash Taylor

John with his wife stunning and equally dynamic wife Gela Nash Taylor

The evening was all the more poignant to me, because I too have stayed sober one day at a time for the past 15 years, and I got to attend the event with my “sober family” who both gave me prior permission to break their anonymity. My sobriety sister, writer Sheri Sussman, and my sponsor Julia Negron.

Attending the event with my girls Sheri Sussman & Julia Negron

Attending the event with my girls Sheri Sussman & Julia Negron

When I finally found my way into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous I was on my knees, writhing in pain, with a heart and self-worth (and ego) shattered into a million little shards. The women in my home group loved me until I could love myself again, and Julia showed me by example how to work the 12 steps, and weather life’s challenges as a sober woman with dignity. I thought the fun was over when I first got sober, but then I learned it hadn’t even started yet!

A New Path calendar

A New PATH calendar – March

I am honored to be in this years New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing) calendar. A New PATH is a non-profit advocacy organization of parents, concerned citizens, individuals in recovery, healthcare professionals and community leaders working together to educate the public, media and decision makers about the true nature of the disease of addiction, and to expand access to treatment services. They advocate to end discriminatory drug policies that serve as roadblocks to recovery. You can buy a copy of the calendar here, and know that your money will help make a difference!

Sheri with Buzz Aldren

Sheri Sussamn with Buzz Aldrin

My life today is still filled with giggles – like when Sheri acutely pointed out that many of us in the room that evening may have thought we were high enough to touch the moon, but attendee and previous Experience, Strength, and Hope winner, “Buzz Aldrin actually walked on it!”

I had to be there to tell my old pal how much I admire his journey

Congratulating John Taylor

You can buy JT’s book, In The Pleasure Groove here, but he shot me a wink as he left, and asked his assistant to give me a copy (in his haste he forgot to sign it, sorry) for a giveaway. Entries are due by noon PST on my birthday, March 9, 2013, and will be verified. Any entries not in accordance with rules guidelines will be disqualified.

In the Pleasure Groove

TO ENTER:
1). You must be a member of Jewels from The Roving Stove on Facebook, and make at least one comment on the “The Sobriety Pleasure Groove.” Please click on “comments” at the end of the blog post (on the blog itself) to join the conversation.

2). Earn a second entry by JOINING the Personal Chef Approach™. For existing members, just mention it on your entry email. Joining does not guarantee you will when the book (so do so only if you genuinely want to simplify dinner and your life). You will be entered to win.

3). You can earn another entry if you post about the give-away on your Twitter or Facebook status. Better still, feel free to blog away about it!

4). You must send one email listing all of your entries to info (at ) personalchefapproach (dot) com no later then noon PST on March 9, 2013 to qualify. All entries will be verified, and any that do not meet the rules and guidelines will be disqualified. By entering the The Sobriety Pleasure Groove Giveaway you are accepting that you have read and agree to comply with the give-away rules.

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  • February 19, 2013
    10:18 pm

    I just happened to have a good friend loan me her kindle while I was recouping from an infection. She recommended John’s book, a beautifully written biography, and I read it cover to cover without pause.

    I respected his candor while discussing low points, insecurity, and the struggles of sobriety . He showed poise in how he presented his band mates. No bashing, no bickering or finger-pointing. This book was about journeys with family and friends, and ultimately that difficult journey into himself to break the addiction bondage and move forward in control of his own person and happiness.

    It’s not a cookie-cutter rock star story, but a personal life journey many can relate to in some fashion, myself included. I thought it was very well done. A book I hope he feels great pride in writing. It’s one I’d love to own. And on a funny note to John, the ‘red corvette’ mention…anything to do with a sign in Boston? Am I busted? Sorry Jewels :-))

  • February 20, 2013
    5:07 am

    What an evening Julie Anne. Wish I was there! Three of my favourites……..Buzz Aldrin, Robert Downey Jnr and the ever so charming Birmingham lad John Taylor.
    I bought my copy of John’s book last October and read it in two days. Since then I have read it twice. I loved it! Cynthia…….you could not have put it any better.
    Congratulations on your sobriety Jewels.
    :-)

  • February 20, 2013
    8:46 am

    I’m so glad you were able to be there, Jewels! What a wonderful honor for him. I’m very proud of both of you for sticking with sobriety one day at a time.

  • February 20, 2013
    8:58 am

    Absolutely fantastic blog post, Julie Anne. What an honour and deservedly so for sharing such a personal story. You are all to be commended. I am happy beyond words to see people who have lived to tell the story by coming out the other side. So many do not and the more help the better for those who are in the middle of the process or need the help to ask for help.

  • February 20, 2013
    11:10 am

    Did any of his fellow band members attend? That was wonderful that you went and showed your support. I have John’s book but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Looking forward to the insight. Nothing is ever at it appears from the outside. So glad his story and yours both have happy endings (and “to be continued”s)!

  • February 21, 2013
    6:07 am

    My Library is so buying a copy of this book! I am happy and proud that you’ve been sober for so long. You’re the best, Jewels!

  • February 21, 2013
    9:10 am

    You are an amazing lady Jewels! I can’t imagine the strength it must have taken to seek out help and then to share your struggle in such an open way. I have so much admiration for you. Too funny about your concerns about your water breaking. My first pregnancy I slept on a trash bag because I was worried about ruining our new bed. What a dolt!

  • February 21, 2013
    4:10 pm

    Congratulations to John for realizing he needed help and turning his life around. And even more congratulations to you for all you have accomplished, the life changes you have made and for your positivity in helping so many others make changes in their own lives.
    Coming from a family where it would have been far too easy to delude myself and follow the lead down the pathway to becoming an alcoholic, I realized that to continue drinking, even just indulging in one drink, would put me flat on my face and in the end, possibly kill me. Medications, even prescription ones do not mix with alcohol. My doctor made sure to warn me about this when he prescribed what would be the first of many medications I would need. I promised him that if I ever got so despondent that suicide crossed my mind, that I would contact him immediately. That was almost 25 years ago and I’ve kept my promise.
    I’ve never had to encounter all the problems, challenges, or situations that you have had to deal with and I so admire you for your quiet grace and dignity. Thank you for teaching me that life is worth the fight and only by fighting to hold on to the true essence of your self worth, only then do you realize that you are truly an amazing person, so much more so than you would ever have realized had you not gone up against and overcome all these challenges.
    Anyone who overcomes the challenges whether the demons are drugs, alcohol, gambling or any other number of vicious gremlins that can wreak havoc on not only your own life, but also on the lives of those you love. You, John, and all the other survivours deserve so many accolades, but the ones that mean the most are the quiet nods of love from a sponsor, holding the hand of your spouse or significant other or the all embracing hug of a family member. Quietly acknowledging what is a major accomplishment seems not to be enough, but in fact, is exactly the perfect way to say “I’m so proud of you! Well done my friend.” I echo these sentiments Jewels, you truly are a survivour.

  • February 21, 2013
    5:51 pm

    I’m a bit perplexed as to why being a former addict deserves an award. I don’t think you people really know what it’s like to really have it tough. You had fame, beauty, money… and you chose to screw up your health by taking copious amounts of drugs. And the rest of the world is supposed to congratulate you for overcoming that?? You desperately need 5 minutes in the real world, people.

  • February 21, 2013
    6:53 pm

    You look more beautiful today than you ever did in the 80’s. Thank your for sharing so much of yourself.
    ;-)

  • February 22, 2013
    9:50 am

    In November I watched my 24 year old step brother take his last breath. He died as a result of liver failure due to alcohol abuse. I have trouble wrapping my head around how at the age of 24 can this happen. Life is hard and people handle it in different ways. I applaud those who conquer this disease!!! I wish so much that my step brother could have but it was just to much. Nobody should ever judge someone else’s demons. Congrats on your many years of sobriety!!

  • February 23, 2013
    10:05 am

    You are so brave to share your journey so openly and honestly. I really admire you!

  • March 3, 2013
    10:30 am

    I am so proud of both you and John for going through what you have gone through and coming out the other side survivors. Loved the blog entry Jewels.

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