Friday, May 27, 2011
GREASE ACTOR JEFF CONAWAY DEAD AT 60
'Grease' actor Jeff Conaway died Friday at age 60, Radar Online reports and The Hollywood Reporter confirms. The news comes just a day after reports that the star would be taken off life support.
Radar calls it "the end a long, sad road of addiction that made him one of Hollywood's cautionary tales." Conaway, known for his roles as Bobby Wheeler on 'Taxi' and T-Bird Kenickie in 1978's iconic 'Grease,' was a New York native who battled substance abuse for much of his career.
Conaway rocketed to fame in 1978 with his starring role in 'Grease' and in the same year began a three-year run on 'Taxi.' Roles dried up in the 1980s as his addictions worsened...
Conaway, who had no children, was married twice -- once to Olivia Newton-John's sister Rona from 1980 to 1985, and again to Kerri Young in 1990.
In 2008, a disheveled and unhealthy Conaway joined celebrity doctor Drew Pinsky's VH1 show, 'Celebrity Rehab,' to address his addiction to drugs and alcohol. Sadly, his sobriety attempt failed and last year, the actor was injured in a fall while under the influence of OxyContin and methadone.
This time, in May of 2011, it was originally reported that Conaway was hospitalized due to a prescription drug overdose, but Pinsky later insisted the star was suffering from pneumonia and sepsis, a dangerous blood infection. Pinsky tweeted on May 21, "We all need to pray for him. Not doing well today suddenly."
Of his televised problems with addiction, Conaway told THR in 2009, "I think people are just enamored with other people's problems because they have enough of their own, and they want to stop thinking about their own and think about somebody else's for a while. I think that's what television is all about, really."
Earlier this year, Conaway and on-and-off-again girlfriend Victoria Spinoza filed restraining orders against each other. The night before Conaway was hospitalized, Spinoza paid him a visit that ignited controversy within the star's family.
Conaway's sister, Carla Shreve, filed a May 18 restraining order against Spinoza, alleging that after a recent breakup, Conaway feared for his life.
"He had just secured an apartment ... and was calling friends and family anxious to start this part of his life without her," reads Shreve's restraining order request, obtained by PEOPLE.
The magazine calls Conaway's rocky relationship with Spinoza "volatile," noting restraining orders each filed against the other earlier in 2011. Spinoza's friend and spokesperson, Aubry Fisher, tells PEOPLE Spinoza cared for Conaway for seven years and deems the new restraining order "horrible and wrong."
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I'm saddened to hear of Conaway's passing. I remember him well from Taxi.
The fact the he was an addict who could gain no control over his addiction, and that he succumbed to a much too early death...hits home with me, strikes a nerve, makes me take pause.
I'm an addict, too.
Do i wanna end up like Jeff Conaway?
In my desperation to regain control of my diet, i've turned back to raw food. I feel like I now have got a fighting chance to save my life. If i stick to raw and don't lose my raw "abstinance," I'll not succumb to the same fate that Conaway did...untimely death from a life of self-destruction and illness. Constantly barraging the immune system with crap, drugs, binge foods, is gonna weaken the immune system to the point of no return. Pnemonia is gonna be a given then. Sepsis is what my mother had and she almost died from it. If i look down the road and say to myself, "If i keep doing to myself what i'm doing, what do you think will happen?" It's obvious - what happened to Jeff Conaway.
Conaway was so talented, but he wasn't able to overcome his addiction. The same might be said about me, unless i get my shit together and stay raw.
It sounds harsh, raw, raw, raw, legalistic, rules, regulations, addiction talk, where's all the love? Well, what i've been trying, moderation?, I can't make it work. Maybe if i got a labotomy or took anti-depressants or was brainwashed by the moonies, i could make it work.
I finally came to the conclusion that i CHOOSE raw. i didn't want to try to make it work with cooked anymore. Too much failure. Too much pain.
The last few days of utter hopelessness, I asked God to lead me. I started to do an online search of "Cooked Food Addiction." The more articles on cooked food addiction i read, the more and more i became sure that i am a cooked food addict. As i shared with my boss tonight, I said, "Arnold, I was raw for 3.5 years and managed my 175 lb weight loss. When i began to eat cooked, my weight and my eating spun out of control disasterously." I was an addict, who had forgotten it. I thought, 'maybe i can get away with one bite today... Maybe i can be just like everyone else and get to enjoy the foods of every culture... Food glorious food! Maybe i can just eat a little...'
When i weighed 425 lbs, I was binge eating on such huge amounts of food, the worse and degraded and fried and fatty and disgusting the food was, the more I liked and craved it.
When i turned to Optimum Health Institute to save me from myself, i was making a very clear determination and decision that i was a cooked food addict and by going away for 8 months to eat raw food, i was giving up my old way of life for a new way of living, which i would need to continue when i got home. And i did. I never took a little taste because i knew if i did, i'd be binging on cooked in no time. For 3.5 years, the most i crossed the line was with Rita's waterice and bottled salad dressings and seaweed salads that i knew had a little fish sauce in them. It felt like i was sticking my toe in the water to test the temperature.
It wasn't until i began to eat beans that i realized i had just crossed a very big line. Everything shortwired to bread and butter and i was back binging on cooked in no time.
Now, on the other side, two years after the first bite of beans, I find myself last week ordering hamburger after hamburger from McDonalds again. Wooo, I haven't eaten hamburgers in nearly 5 years. That really shook me to the core to be going "there" again. At 425 lbs, i routinely put away 5 to 6 hamburgers in ONE sitting. Talk about despair driving you. I was miserable and all i wanted was those greasy livery disgusting sandwhiches. With 2 double quarter pounders in my belly last week, I was on my way to 425 lbs again. I'm not too far away at 370ish.
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Jeff Conaway is dead due to addiction and illness. And I am alive, thank God, I'm alive today and able to look at his life and say, "I don't want that!" I still have a fighting chance. He does not. I only pray that i can turn around my ever increasing weight and say goodbye to my beloved drug of cooked food and remain back on track on raw, what worked for me for 3.5 years. ONe day at a time.
I've tried everything else. I've NEVER stayed on a program/lifestyle for a YEAR let alone 3.5 years. I may have still been abusing food when i was raw, yes, i binged on Brad's chips, but i was still relatively in control of my diet. Raw is such that you can even binge on it and gain weight, but the minute you send the fruits and veggies through at the next meal, you on to losing the weight again in no time. I felt a measure of CONTROL on raw that i would probably venture to say i never felt with food before.
The last two years? I gave up control. Cooked food was in control. I was at it's mercy.
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The A&E Television show, Heavy, has expressed interest in my 'story.' I wrote to them in my despair for help back in April, for my ever increasing weight and addiction to food.
Heavy offers help to supersize obese people, setting them up with trainers, nutritionists, psychologists, and they track and film your progress for 8 months. After the 8 months, your filmed journey becomes part of an episode in the series, Heavy.
Possibly being on TV scares me and excites me. The chance to actually get down to 200 lbs or even below is quite possible if i sign up with this show.
I will also be bearing my soul and failures to the world. But i do that already here. At least there, i have a real chance to make a big change in my life. It's questionable whether i will follow through here without the proper support/guidance.
I will be responding to Heavy's interest in my story by sending them the required videotape they requested to continue the audition process.
They know i am a raw chef and i am going to request they put me on a raw diet if i am chosen for the show.
Wish me luck.
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I was takling with my friend, Jan, about the hidden issues behind food addiction and clutter and finance problems. Reading Jeff Conaway's story reveals some of the hidden issues that drive us to "act out".... If you read between the lines of Conaway's story, you see a man deeply struggling with his identity as an out of work actor, probably struggling financially, the anger he must have felt at an industry that once loved him but now disgarded him, his now apparent bitterness towards his public who once loved him, but only now were using him as an escape from their issues by watching his laid out weekly on the Pinsky show, his despair at failed marriages and relationships, growing fear of and anger with his mate, his certainly depressed hopes about getting clean again after failure-after-failure, his crushed self esteem, his certain feelings of loss of a real family life never having had children, ultimately the despair of being so sick physically with pnemonia and sepsis..."will i ever get better?" fear, lonliness, mourning...
All of the hoopla surrounding "the addiction" masks all of the issues. We addicts don't really want to talk about or face what's really going on with us.
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Conaway took PAIN killers. What is food but the ultimate PAIN killer? It feels so good and promises to take all of our pain away.
What do we do with our pain once our pain killer is put down? I have so much pain. I'm gonna have to learn how to manage my emotions without numbing them with food.
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I have a lot of issues i don't talk about often, but i talk about my out of control eating ALOT.
It's a cover. Just like a messy disorganized house is. You look at the clutter so you don't have to look at the issues. When it's clutter free, when you're drug-free, you finally have to FEEL your feelings. Maybe it's loss of a loved one, maybe it's loss of who you once were, maybe it's a loss of who you'll never be. I feel that alot. I want so much to be an incredible singer and fall short, crushingly short often.
I have LOTS of issues. Crippling insecurity and self doubt, sadness at the prospect i may never have children, anger because i don't get any sex from my mate, bitterness that my needs don't count, anger at men who only love beautiful perfect skinny women, the crushing judgement i feel from others due to my weight gain, the intense loss of self esteem after gaining so much weight back, the shame in my out of control state, the shame of my dirty house, the pain i feel that i'm not good enough, that i'm not worth it, the sadness at the loss of beauty i once had, sadness in the loss of sexuality, my ambivalence about marrying Cliff, my inability to keep house, the lack of trust i feel for my own singing technique, the anger i feel against teachers who have not guided me correctly, the anger i feel against raw foodists who ate cooked food with me, why didn't they stop me from hurting myself?..., the bitterness i feel for the fact that it is almost impossible to get a job as a 350+ lb person, the anger i feel at my own body's proclivity to holding water, i can't even sit at the computer without my ankles swelling, the anger i feel that what i want, salt, is not best for me, the anger i feel at the temp agencies who used to hire me when i was thinner and wouldn't hire me when i was heavier, which i am again, the anger i feel at men who only want to use you for sex, the anger i felt at the recent proposition i received for sex from someone who says he loves me but doesn't love me and only wants to use me, the bitterness i feel towards people who have nice houses, cleaning ladies, who travel, who have lots of money...like i should have...what's wrong with me? i want the world delivered to me on a silver platter and i don't wanna have to work for it,....the indecision i feel about my career, am i a singer? a chef? my lack of any real sucessful career, the anger i feel for cliff for not fixing the walls and the back deck fence and the floors like he promised he would, the anger i feel that i can't have people over to my messy house because i can't afford a cleaning lady, the anger i feel for not having any money, the desire i have to want to be saved and rescued in my diet and financially, my disinterest in taking responsibility for my finances and my weight, the anger i have at my parents for never teaching me how to properly handle money...
I could go on and on.
And these are precisely the things that i unwittingly eat over. Undercurrents always there. Discomfort always present. And food appears and says, "i'll make you numb and take all of your pain away." But food never fixes any of those issues. it just compounds them.
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I started meditating again. I'm having more awarenesses about what drives me. I'm having more awareness that it's my screwed up attitude and my anger and judgement and bitterness that are destroying me, and that i use food to mask all of that.
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I was raw for the 2nd day. i feel hopeful again. And not depressed.
I don't wanna end up like Jeff Conaway on a slab in a morgue somewhere with people saying, "She had such talent, she coulda been so much more."
I told my friend, Jan, tonight, "what will they say on my tombstone when i die? How many pounds i gained and lost? Is that what i want my life to be about? About food and dieting?" Because that's what it HAS been about.
Getting to the core of the issues, admitting them, forgiving myself, forgiving others, letting go of the anger, the pain, and grabbing ahold of my Higher Power, grabbing ahold of abstinance as a liferaft to help me win the fight, and finally making peace again that i am an addict....will save me from the same fate that Conaway encountered today.
xoxo michelle joy
Posted by MICHELLE at FREEDOM FROM BINGING at 7:43 PM