Addiction, Love, Recovery:

Grease Star Jeff Conway Dies | A Loved One Lost

30 May 2011 by Recovering You, No Comments »

Jeff Conway

Once upon a time I never thought too much about celebrities dying from drug abuse. It seemed a world so removed from my own, a world of money and excess. Drug and alcohol abuse seemed to just be part of that world, the overindulgence afforded with privilege and expectation. When the make believe world lost yet another star, my perspective was one of losing a character, a manufactured personality that simply left our screens, our radios and our tabloids. I never considered the true impact of the loss.

That was until I found myself living with, and loving an addict. It was then that I realised that the same hurt, fear and desperation I felt in wanting my husband to recover, before he killed himself, was probably the same plight of friends and families of every celebrity caught up in addiction.

Jeff Conway was a celebrity, a person most remembered by many of us as Kenickie from Grease, or Bobby from Taxi. But like every addict, Jeff Conway has people who love him, people who have lost someone they hoped against all odds would recover, people who knew the real man, described as ? gentle soul with a good heart? lost in addiction. He was a brother, an uncle, a son, a spouse, a friend and he was loved.

There are conflicting reports of whether Jeff Conway? death was due to a drug overdose but I don? think there are any doubts that ultimately, his demise was drug related. After years of continual abuse of prescription medications, illegal drugs and alcohol, I have no doubt that his body had lost the ability to fight off any ailment or injury that threatened it.

I watched Jeff Conway fighting his battle publicly, and perhaps some would say melodramatically, with Dr Drew and his team on Celebrity Rehab. While many feel this representation of celebrity addiction is gauche and sensationalist I looked beyond the acting, the lights and the cameras and saw a real man utterly broken by his addiction. It came as no real surprise to me to hear that he had become extremely ill and hopes for his recovery were slim.

As Hollywood mourns an actor, as so many of us feel a little melancholy for the character we watched jive and thrust on Grease, family and friends lose all hope that addiction will let go of their loved one, they grieve and cry and perhaps also feel the relief of knowing that although the battle is lost, it is finally over.

Today as the wife of an addict, I feel true sadness and sympathy for the people who love Jeff Conway and hope that eventually their memories return to the beauty of the man they knew before addiction took its hold.

Goodbye Jeff. Rest in peace now, your fight is done.

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