By Best Selling Author Hanala Stadner
Hanala Stadner

Britney, Lindsey, Paris… do have it all, including anxiety, fear, insecurity, confusion, loneliness, guilt, depression—parents! If there’s anything these self-destructive divas have taught us, it’s that having loads of money and special perks, doesn’t fix what’s broken inside. But, who are these poor mega-rich girls going to complain to—people who think they should be grateful and happy? It can be difficult to have empathy for the rich, famous, pretty and thin. I can relate, my parents, the Holocaust survivors, weren’t exactly feeling sorry for me. But it didn’t mean I wasn’t in pain. I left Montreal for Los Angeles to get into acting. Instead I got into drugs, alcohol, and limos with strange men. I did what these girls have done, and it got pretty ugly. My book "My Parents Went Through the Holocaust and All I got was This Lousy T-shirt" reads like a blueprint for addiction and recovery. (If you’re a parent, just do the opposite of what my parents did, and your daughters will be fine!) I’ve been sober 25 years, and as a substance abuse counselor practicing in Hollywood, I’ve worked with my share of celebrities. Some of my clients have been postal workers, some have been Oscar winners, and they’ve all had the same feelings. They feel bad about themselves, and they take drugs to make themselves feel better. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks of you. If you think you are a fraud, or you’re anxious about your image, you might need to take the edge off. And remember, alcohol is a drug in liquid form. It doesn’t matter if you drink it, or snort it, or if a doctor gives it to you. It can still wreck your life My clients are often surrounded by people, yet feel isolated. Celebrities often can't trust who their real friends are. I had very famous client who said he could never run out of drugs because people wanted to hang out with him, so they’d always come over with drugs. Entourage availability. Photographers are paid to hunt these girls. The bigger the zit, the lumpier the cellulite, the more they get for the photo. Imagine if that were you. Another factor: They’ve reached the top of their field, they have the career, the money, the men and they’re miserable. They’re used to the struggle of trying to get ahead; when you’re used to struggling, you create more struggle. It’s the “Attractor Factor”, you bring toward you what you’re used to. Drug addicts find drug addicts like pigs find truffles. They do it automatically. For example, Britney started hanging out with Paris Hilton. In 12-step-speak, it’s called: hanging out with “lower companions”. How bizarre is it to call a billionaire a lower companion? But again, this proves that money doesn’t make you well. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. Addicts have 2 brains: one brain says, ‘I shouldn’t do drugs’. That’s the rational cortex, and then there’s the emotional or stupid brain, it’s irrational. It says, ‘I feel terrible, get me out of this feeling’. Then the cortex says ‘if you do drugs, you’ll do bad things which will make you want to take even more drugs’. And then the stupid brain says, ‘just shut up and call the dealer’. Drugs put the cortex to sleep. We’re all pre-disposed to be addicted to something: cigarettes, food, some use sex, that’s the nature of addiction. Addiction can be time consuming. You plot and plan around it all day. It’s like a second career for these girls. First you’re an addict. Then you’re a star. There’s a lot of enabling going on in the business. In one of my podcasts on, I graphically lay out the pattern of dysfunction of two celebrities: Barbie and Ken (last name withheld). Barbie’s addiction has caught up to her, and the media now refers to them as: ‘Alcoholic Barbie and Co-Dependent Ken’. The video explains some of the ways families and friends, and directors and agents, enable the addict to keep using. “Partying” is an interesting term to use for something that destroys someone’s life if it’s done in excess. Getting high is more about stopping the brain from shrieking with worry. Are they pretty enough, thin enough, are they over-the-hill at 25? And, bad reviews! It’s more important for them to get out of their discomfort, often bringing on what they fear. The next time you’re sitting there thinking, ‘If I only had enough money’, think of Paris. Some of the nicest mothers I’ve known were meth addicts and their children lived in dirt. Nice and smart have nothing to do with going nuts. You can talk to Paris, and she might seem to be so nice—in my experience, alcoholics can be the nicest people because they’re sensitive. And smart has nothing to do with managing your life well. Look at Albert Einstein, he could split an atom, but he couldn't manage his hair.
Speaking of hair, Britney Spears may not get empathy if she complains, but if she shaves her head, and parts south, that’s her way of saying, “I’m not OK”. Putting her child between her and the steering wheel? No one in their right mind would do that. She’s not in her right mind. Drugs impair good judgment. So, who’s to blame? Parents do play a part in the building of their child, good and bad. They are a part of the dysfunction. It’s not helpful when parents don’t take responsibility. It’s not a matter of blame, it’s a matter of seeing the part a parent plays. For example, ‘You’re a bad girl’. Most parents say that, but some kids believe it and think ‘I’m bad’ and they live up to that expectation. So, is the paparazzi to blame? The paparazzi in the girl’s own heads say worse things about them than any reporter. Yes, we buy the tabloids. We want to feel better about ourselves. We can look at some of these famous people and say, ‘I’m doing better than they are’. Also, it’s like picking a scab. We’re all interested in what’s underneath that smooth exterior. Tabloids peek for us. Plus, the truth is only interesting if we know the person, and we think we know the movie star.
So, my advice to the bad girls? Number One, read my book; if I can recover, anyone can! You need a self-esteem make-over. Stop numbing your brain with chemicals. Understand that your thoughts are not going to kill you—what’s deadly is denying those thoughts. Rather than be concerned about your image, become aware of your self-image. And do aerobics.

About the author:

Hanala Stadner, best-selling self-help author, network media commentator and long time host of her own L.A. talkshow, offers her own very candid take the string of celebrity indulgences and bad behavior infecting Hollywood and fascinating the public. The survivor of her own addictions (alcoholism, eating disorder and drugs – all under the glare of the media spotlight) and the daughter of Holocaust survivors, Hanala blended her own recovery experiences with humor to help others. She is the author of My Parents Went Through the Holocaust and All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt, and a regular guest on the Showbiz Tonight, E!, CBS Early Show, Dateline, Extra, and numerous radio shows.
You can catch Hanala Stadner this week in New York City.
Friday -- Nov 9, 6pm, BORDERS, 461 Park Ave and Monday -- Nov 12, 7pm, Barnes & Noble, 240 E. 86th