But for the Grace….

You don’t have to know who Deryck Whibley is or have ever even heard of his band, Sum 41, to understand the human agony of what he has done to himself. 

The Canadian-born singer who used to be married to Avril Lavigne just nearly died from alcoholism. His kidneys and liver shut down and he was basically comatose for a week. He’s 34. Doctors told him if he takes one more drink he will die.

Deryck Whibley unconscious in hospital

I sometimes get grief for choosing not to drink and I tell people different things when they ask why.  Although I’m not labelled an alcoholic, I certainly have those tendencies.  Lately I’ve decided to say, “I pickled myself when I was in my twenties. I don’t need to drink anymore!” And that’s very close to the truth.

The rock and roll lifestyle is dangerous for anyone.  Living on the road, hotel to hotel, and all of the temptations, luxuries and sheer boredom that come along with it can leave people searching for relief. Some take up cycling. Others turn to substances. This is how Whibley normally looks:

Derek Whibley looking well fed and well

This is Whibley leaving the hospital.

looking very frail and thin

A few years ago we lost a pal who was on the waiting list for a liver transplant after decades of abusive drinking. It’s tougher for someone who drank heavily to even get on the list and because it takes 3-3 1/2 years to get a liver, they often die before one becomes available.  It’s no laughing matter. Maybe now Mr. Whibley will learn to cope without stimulants, or he’ll join a long list of substance abusers who died way too young.

2 thoughts on “But for the Grace….”

  1. I get strange looks when I tell people I don’t drink anymore either. I like the early pickling explanation, but I usually just say “because I don’t feel like it”. It’s no ones business why, right? 😉

    We had a sales rep at the stations who was sober for 15 years, and ONE DRINK quickly spiralled him back to the deep, dark haze he thought he’d beaten. He met someone who said they didn’t want to date an alcoholic, so instead of telling her he didn’t drink, he thought he could handle the odd sip in a social setting.

    He was dead from liver failure a few years later.

    Cunning, baffling, powerful indeed. :'(

    1. Wow. One drink is what ultimately did in Philip Seymour Hoffman, too. It led to everything else that killed him. He was clean and sober for years. You’re right – it’s nobody’s business but it’s amazing how many people take it as a personal commentary on them if you don’t join them in a drink. It’s a very social thing. I just don’t hang out with those people anymore!

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