Any regular reader of the tabloid press will tell you that it’s not a matter of money. It’s not a matter of success. Last year I was paid three million an episode, plus residuals. I had a loft in Tribeca, a stilt-house on Maui and a recently-acquired chateau in the Basque Pyrenees. I had a stack of scripts on my counter a foot high.
But I could not stop drinking. I went to Betty Ford, to Hazelden, to Sierra Tucson. I’d go away for twenty-eight days, take a cure, come back. Within a week I was back at at, just like I’d never stopped. I tried AA, but all the talk of God turned me off. And day in and day out, my drinking accelerated until I was more or less always drunk. It started to affect my work. My agent called me in. A “come to Jesus” talk, he called it. The writing was on the wall.
“There are a million guys waiting to take your place,” he said. “A million reasons to quit.”
I started to cry. “I know. I just– can’t.”
He slid a business card across his desk. “This guy isn’t cheap, but he offers a 100% guarantee.”
“Money back if I don’t stay sober?”
“No. Stay sober or he kills your family and friends in front of you, one at a time. Last of all, he kills you.”
With apologies to Stephen King