Jun 17, 2013

John Galliano Opens Up About Alcohol And Prescription Drug Abuse

John Galliano lost his job as head designer of Dior after a 2011 anti-Semitic rant in Paris.

Now, two years later, John Galliano opens up about alcohol and prescription drug abuse that lead to his behavior, his “I love Hitler” comments, and the subsequent Dior firing.

Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair previewed the story that’s in the July issue of the magazine, released nationally June 11th, 2013. John shares his childhood, his passion for fashion, and his future career plans, but what do people really care to read? His problems with alcohol and prescription drug abuse.

Galliano says he started using alcohol in an effort to, in his words, “crash after the collections.” He would take a few days to unwind, but alcohol had other plans. Gradually his desire to escape for a bit lead to blackouts for days at a time. He’d wake up not knowing what happened, and then experience days of tremors, shame, and an inability to sleep.

Prescription Drugs

Galliano’s solution was sadly prescription drugs. After a while John realized, "I was going to end up in a mental asylum or six feet under."

Being fired from Christian Dior was actually a blessing in disguise, he tells Vanity Fair. It was the wake-up call he needed to change his life. He checked into rehab and started to get clean.

Kate Moss then asked Galliano to design her wedding dress. He feels that was his time to be himself again; to use his creativity and unique style again.

What Caused It?

So through all of this, what really lead John Galliano, and what really leads anyone, to a life of alcohol and prescription drug abuse? For John, he feels it was his tumultuous childhood. For alcoholics and addicts overall, unresolved events of trauma, abuse, neglect, or abandonment can leave residual low self-esteem, shame, guilt, and a diminished sense of self-worth.

As he got clean, John wanted to figure out where his anti-Semitic rage came from, and as he tells Vanity Fair, 'I now realize I was so f****** angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could.’


Denied anger and sadness creates angry and sad adults. Repressed emotions that were never dealt with resurface with alcohol and drug intoxication.

While in treatment, the goal is to work through all those past events, issues, and emotions so that the root of addiction is addressed once and for all. Without the identification of your demons, you are really unlikely to get well.

Emotionally Painful

That’s why we see a lot of celebrities (and addicts in general) who have 2, 3, or 4 stints in rehab before changes are really made. Maybe the first time in rehab was too emotionally painful and events of the past are still too hard to face. Relapse and a return to drug and alcohol ensue, but eventually that person ends up in rehab again.

Maybe the second time is a little easier, and issues are addressed, but then the changes made in rehab are not continued after the program ends, and a relapse happens weeks or months later. Drug and alcohol abuse will always lead back to a need for treatment.

Lessons Learned

The lessons learned and issues processed are never lost, even through many cycles of relapse, but addiction is progressive and will only get worse when not properly treated.

John Galliano seems to be living a healthy life in recovery. He is two years clean and sober, and is working to get his fashion career back on track. Alcohol and prescription drug abuse had a hold on his life for a while, and he hit his rock bottom. He worked hard to complete treatment and stay clean, and now hopefully he can continue sharing his gift with the world.

Jared Friedman is quality improvement manager at Sovereign Health Group a dual diagnosis treatment center http://www.sovcal.com. Keep up with Sovereign Health Group and Jared Friedman on Twitter.

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