Baptized by Rehab: When Saving Face Trumps Saving Lives
film / tv / lists / guides / news / love / celeb / video / think pieces / staff / podcasts / web culture / politics / dc / snl / netflix / marvel / cbr

Baptized by Rehab: When Saving Face Trumps Saving Lives

By Courtney Enlow | Think Pieces | January 24, 2014 | Comments ()

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 2.27.37 PM.png

Well, as you may have heard, Justin Bieber got arrested for drag racing and drunk driving and it’s the most important news in the history of existence. According to nearly every news item touting information from “a source,” Bieber’s people say he needs “help” and want him to go to rehab.

I have…feelings.

On one hand, yes, Bieber needs help. And by help I mean to live his life over again raised by parents who send him to his room and ground him and this time without millions of dollars. He also needs help with his delusions of baby grandeur.


Ugh. He sucks. But, is he sick? Does he need rehab?

Based solely upon that which we know, the knowledge to which we are privy, I mean, no. He doesn’t seem sick at all. He seems like an asshole. And, if you’re keeping score, rehab doesn’t work for being an asshole.

Inpatient rehab is one of the most wonderful things in the world. It is an absolute lifesaver—not just for those who check in, but for the families whose lives are changed because the person they love has made the decision to get help with their addictions and whatever other mental illness co-exists with it. As one of those family members, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me—without it, I wouldn’t have my husband. We wouldn’t have our child. I’m grateful every single day for what that treatment center and all the others like it did to change us. To save us.

You know what it doesn’t do? Make a dickbag asshat of a human more palatable to the masses. That’s not what rehab is for. It’s not a reform school. It’s not a charm school. And to use the idea of rehabilitation as a face-saving device is not only offensive to the goals of these treatment centers, but to those suffering from mental illness everywhere.

No-hearted public apologies are no longer enough. Management teams know they need to make it stick if they want to keep making that money. So, rehab. Send your problem client off to lounge by the pool and do yoga for a month and let people forget what went wrong. It’s the perfect solution. Whether it’s for a problem partier, a vocal racist or homophobe, or a cheating husband, rehab! The duct tape of celebrity!

When Miley Cyrus first started “acting out” and grinding up on your wrecking balls and your Robin Thickes, rehab talk and the need for “help” was thrown around then, too. And at its heart, what she needed help for was being less than ladylike, not acting the way people want her to. And that’s what is happening with Bieber, too. Only he’s actually got the potential to injure someone. So, throw him in jail. Take away his license. Send him to Nova Scotia and make him do work release on a deep-sea trouting boat, eh? But rehab will not help him. At best, it will give us a month off from him. At worst, it will impede the treatment of the actual sick people in that facility (I’m sure actual addicts go to Promises, too, not just celebrity buttholes).

Rehab exists to help those who need it. And, unless I’m wrong, Bieber doesn’t need it. He needs someone to tell him “no.”

Power Ranking 8-Bit Cinema | Playing Then And Now With The Cast Of 'Now And Then'

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • graleabhair

    Listen. Nova Scotia is hard up enough. We don't need no Tranna kids coming here and taking our jobs.

  • PuraPuma

    Case in point... Chris Brown. He went. His threw a rock at his mother. End of rehab. He's still a jerk.

  • Slobby79

    Beiber is an asshat, sure. he's also 19 year old with millions of dollars and women who throw themselves at him. id be an asshat too most likely. not to defend him, but...thats kind of the reality.

    Honestly, he doesnt need rehab, but he certainly could use detox. like go sit on an island (not the one Amy whinehouse went to) and just shut it down for 3 months. learn to surf, get away from the internet, and remember how lucky you are. he'll still probably be an asshat, bc he's 19 with millions of dollars, but he wont have done anything stupid for 3 months.

  • llp

    Speaking on behalf of my Nova Scotian brethren - no, thank you.

  • Melissa D


  • Ami

    I had lunch duty at the school where I work yesterday and overheard a group of 4th-6th graders discussing Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. It was fascinating. These students were so correct in all their points about both celebs. They were saying that Miley Cyrus was really just trying to break free from the shadow of Hannah Montana and was therefore portraying a totally opposite image, but Justin Bieber had just become too famous and wealthy too young, and no one had given him the guidance, structure, or consequences that are necessary for young people to grow into productive and responsible members of society. No one had ever told him "no" so he has no concept of reality or responsibility. Those were basically the exact were the kids used. It blew my mind. Then they followed it up by saying that none of them wanted to be least not until they were adults. Ha.

  • BWeaves

    Those kids have good parents. I'm not saying that the kids didn't come up with those thoughts on their own, but a lot of how a child thinks is shaped by what they hear at home.

  • Armond White is my master now

    In that photo Justin Bieber looks like Dr. Evil's Mini-Me in the arms of Vin Diesel...


  • JohnetteMetzgar

    wow its very amazing style of Justin Bieber .

  • Az

    Nonsense! Look hiow well rehab worked out for Chris Brown.

  • Armond White is my master now


  • MarTeaNi

    You can't take away his license, it was already expired.

    He's going to kill someone one of these days, either himself or a bystander. I don't care if he needs rehab, therapy or prison but one or more of these things is going to have to happen, otherwise he's going to keep escalating.

  • Uriah_Creep

    Rehab! The duct tape of celebrity!

    I could see this being the motto for the Promises Treatment Centers. It's catchy!

  • googergieger

    He is a manufactured sociopath. Articles like these aren't helping much in that department either.

  • nailpolishcolor

    I would tend to agree, Courtney, but that was until I saw a pap pic of him in the backyard with his dad, surrounded by beer cans on the same day he was charged. Nothing says "I could care less" than doing the very thing that got you arrested in the first place IMMEDIATELY after being arrested. Maybe he does have a deeper problem than we can see.
    Or, you know, he's just a few fries short of a happy meal, ifyaknowwhatimean.

  • Kris

    I guess the problem is that it's hard to tell from the outside whether a person's behavior is being caused by substance abuse, mental illness, plain asshattery,or some combination of all of the above. I do disapprove of rehab as a stunt, but I don't automatically think every celeb that goes to rehab is just faking.

    This past July, my mom died of a drug overdose. I didn't know about it for three days, because we hadn't spoken in four years. Prior to that, I'd tried time and time again to get her to agree to rehab, but she wouldn't do it. Most of the time, she had so many chemicals in her bloodstream that I was amazed the EPA didn't get involved. I never knew which Mom I was going to get when I called; if she was on the "right" drugs or having a manic episode, she could be fun. If she was on the wrong ones, she was a nightmare. When she was sober, she'd either be incredibly depressed but unwilling to change, or angry at the world for making it so inconvenient for her to get drugs and money for drugs. Was she spoiled and headstrong? Yep. But she was also a talented artist and gifted with numbers; if she'd grown up just a little, she could have done awesome things.

    Don't get me wrong, I would be thrilled if Justin Bieber became a monk and took a vow of silence, but I'm also not ready to immediately write off his behavior as solely being spoiled. He got famous too early, his parents probably haven't handled it well, thus the train wreck we're all sick of. Whatever caused it, I hope he finds something that works for him, and leads a happy, productive life. Preferably far away from any cameras or microphones.

  • emmalita

    I'm sorry about your mother.

  • Dumily

    Years ago after I had a fight with my bipolar, alcoholic father, I told my mom that he was being an asshole. She said, "He's not an asshole, he's just sick." Turns out we were both right.

  • NateMan

    Honestly, he needs to grow up. I don't mean in maturity alone; he needs a few more years on him. He really is still a kid, and kids make mistakes. Most of them just don't have the money and fame to get away with it, and when they do it usually just leads to more badness. With his station he's another punk who'll get rehab for killing someone. That said, he needs more than a hand-slap for driving drunk. It needs to be dealt with seriously by the law.

    He also needs the snot kicked out of him a couple times, but that is illegal, unethical, and he has some damned beefy bodyguards.

  • RipCity

    I vote he takes up Time Rowes old show and has to do dirty jobs lol

  • NateMan

    Autocorrect in action, I assume? I agree with your concept, though. As long as they don't put it on TV.

  • RipCity

    have to train this new phone lol

  • Courtney, this may be my favorite rant of yours to date. I've said the same thing many a time, but couldn't have said it better.

    Gotta admit, though.....from a purely selfish POV, a month without Bieber sounds worth a "Sure, whatever, go for it" shrug.

  • e jerry powell

    Eloquently put. While I was in the psych hospital, we didn't have to deal with any celebrities at least. I just had to deal with a nurse coming in every two hours while I was trying to sleep for a blood glucose check. The rest of the time I was trying to stay awake through all the group therapy.

  • Berry

    Group therapy is the worst. If I wanted to hear people talk about their problems, I'd stay in touch with my family and friends.

    (Feeling misanthropic today? Maybe.)

  • e jerry powell

    I remember there was one anorexic girl who felt she always had to sit next to me wherever I was so she could bitch about the fact that this particular psych hospital didn't have treatment resources for eating disorders, so she couldn't feel "special" about being there.

  • NateMan

    I'm glad you don't have to be there any more. You're fun.

  • e jerry powell

    It was especially fucked because the psych hospital doesn't have WiFi, and they disconnect the phones during the day except during lunch.

    I'm very addicted to my computer and the Internet. Perhaps I need rehab.

  • emmalita


  • Haystacks

    A basic elementary education might help as well. The ignorant ass shit that comes out of this kids mouth...

  • lowercase_ryan

    It doesn't matter if you're talking about meth or anger issues, a person's behavior is never going to change if they don't see it as a problem. Once you reach that point, rehab can help with any undesirable behavior. It can even help dickbags not be dickbags, if that's what they want. Once you reach that point of wanting to change a behavior, anything is possible. It doesn't always work, and failed attempts to rehabilitate behavior DO NOT INDICATE A LACK OF DESIRE TO CHANGE, but the key is it can work.

  • Finance_Nerd

    Assholes. Assholes never change (see Fallout voiceover).

    It's going to take a pretty major fall for Beiber to change. You see examples of this in professional sports pretty often for the same reason: young men are given lots of money and surrounded by people that want to be there for the party, so they don't tell them no. They are adults, so on the off chance their parents tell them that they are acting stupid, they ignore them. I live in Austin and heard on the news earlier this week that Vince Young is declaring bankruptcy. He made $56M+ in his career (salary and advertising). He now owes over $10M in debt & has less than $1M in assets. He went through $65M in seven years?! He's now suing his "advisors" for not giving him better advice, but he also did the following:

    - Spent $5,000 per week at Cheesecake Factory during his rookie
    - Once spent $6,000 at a T.G.I. Fridays.
    - Would do $600 shots of Remy Martin at Morton’s after games.
    - Once got a loan to throw himself a $300,000 party.

    Beiber is supposedly worth $160M, so he's going to need to up his game to piss away all that cash. Combining drugs, alcohol and driving is a good start though.

  • e jerry powell

    If NFL players who entered the draft before using up their NCAA eligibility can do it, any yahoo with no sense of perspective can do it just as easily.

  • e jerry powell


    What the hell does one buy at TGI Friday's for $6,000? The entire menu 50 times over? I wouldn't do that to my worst enemy.

    $6,000 would get a chef's table for eighteen with an twenty-course tasting menu at a restaurant with three Michelin stars. $6000 gets you a chef's tasting menu (by the Iron Chef himself) for 29 friends at Morimoto in Chelsea. There are literally dozens of quality chef's tasting menus out that that are a damn sight better than an American casual chain for that amount of money.

    Do these children learn nothing in school?

  • My mind broke at trying to understand how one spends that much money at FRIDAY'S AND CF. HOW MUCH CHEESECAKE DID HE EAT, MY GOD?!

  • Finance_Nerd

    This article tries to break it down (, but it is ridiculous

  • JenVegas

    There's an excellent 30 for 30 on ESPN about this. I think every one in High School should be made to watch it.

  • e jerry powell

    I liked that one. What was interesting is how few female athletes were on the list at the end of the film. The only name I remember on it was professional Diva Sheryl Swoopes, and I can still remember when she went broke (covered in an ESPN-W Nine for IX film about her). She still treats Texas Tech like they owe her something, twenty-plus years later. They love her in Lubbock; everywhere else, not so much.

  • lowercase_ryan

    You're equating making bad financial decisions with being an asshole and the two are not mutually exclusive. Are the actions you listed above dumb? You bet. But spending $6,000 at a TGI Fridays is not the same as drag racing while high.

  • God Of Bal-Sagoth

    Actually, I'd say he's making a statement about how poor decision making can ruin even the most promising of careers, regardless of what form that decision-making takes.

    Both of them are people who abruptly came into massive amounts of money, and both serve as their own particular kind of cautionary tale.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Of course bad decisions can ruin careers.

    Except that the article talks about rehab and assholes, and he starts off saying assholes never change. He then proceeds to use Vince Young as an example of this. Which I actually don't even get the comparison because Vince Young was never arrested or widely considered an asshole. You know what ruined Vince Young's career? He's not a good quarterback. But the only thing he appears to be guilty of is being horrible with money.

    Guess who was a big asshole and, for whatever reason, decided to change? Robert Downey Jr.

  • e jerry powell

    A fair enough assessment of Mr. Young. Here in Longhorn Nation, none are averse to hyperbole when a national championship is being discussed. Most say "exceptional" whereas I say "extremely lucky due to circumstances."

    On the "not a good quarterback" front, Tebow, as inexcusably and sanctimoniously over-hyped as he was, hasn't really earned enough money to squander it on the order of a Vince Young.

  • Three_nineteen

    RDJ is an actual drug addict. He didn't go to rehab to fix his image, it was essential for him. Rehab took a few tries to work, but it finally took, not before he spent time in jail.

  • Gavin Smith

    And now he is a bankrupt asshole.

  • Finance_Nerd

    Vince Young was considered an asshole.

    - He was arrested in a Dallas strip club in 2010 for assault
    - He constantly ignored his first coach (Titans) which led to his benching
    - He threw his shoulder pads into the stands & walked out on the team after a loss
    - He frequently blew off local reporters, but would talk to national ones

    I also lived in/have family in Nashville and he was not well liked in that city b/c of his "I'm better than you" attitude. Being reckless and immature are definitely attributes of an asshole, but I will concede that maybe it isn't the correct comparison - he wasn't drinking and driving.

  • e jerry powell

    It's the second coming of T.O.!

  • lowercase_ryan

    I stand corrected.

  • Dumily

    These things do make him an asshole. His money troubles don't.

  • Dumily

    Maybe I'll just let you do all of my commenting for me on this one.

  • God Of Bal-Sagoth

    You know what the difference between Miley Cyrus and The Beebs is? Generally speaking, her personal life is not showing up in my damn news feed every 90 minutes. She's reasonably good at keeping her private shit together. Sure, she's talked a lot about smoking pot, but Jesus, could there be any milder youthful attitude? She doesn't crack up her car, or piss in buckets, or get caught speeding or sexually harassing her ex (and texting dick pics to your ex when she wants no part of you? Is sexual harassment, Beebs, you douchebag) or any of the other dumb shit that entitled little shitnose up there does.

    Her issues -- if we're going to even call them that, and I'm not certain that we should -- are almost entirely due to her actions as a performer. About her videos and magazine spreads and all that shit, all of which frankly, I'm OK with. She's a little controversial and something of a conversation piece, but at least she's not an asshole. She's figuring out what kind of performer she wants to be, and making some weird decisions, but ultimately she isn't hurting or endangering anyone -- including herself.

    And the discussion of rehab -- for either of them -- seems a bit ridiculous. Beeber probably could use some therapy, six months away from the internet, a good shaking and a lesson on how belts work, but rehab? Rehab won't cure stupid.

  • Valhallaback Girl

    I was gonna say "genitalia" but yeah your answer works quite well, too.

  • emilya

    even if this post wasn't amazing, you totally win for the "a lesson on how a belt works" comment. WELL PLAYED

  • NateMan

    This is me applauding you.

  • mswas

    The @godofbalsagoth:disqus speaks the truth.

  • manting

    Rehab in Justins case isnt intended to help. He, like many Politicians and celebs, got to rehab to remove themselves from the public eye until the news cycle moves on. Its really that simple.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    If that previously published text message exchange with Selena Gomez was real, then this IS what happens when someone tells him "no."

    For real, though, dude doesn't sound like he has "problems" outside of being an asshole 19 year old with virtually unlimited funds at his disposal. I don't know any cure for that besides "growing up" and even that's not 100%. It is most definitely not newsworthy, though.

  • googergieger

    Good ole fashion ass whoopin' is the cure.

  • Wrestling Fan

    Also, apparently, he has parents who cater to his every whim. His mom reportedly feeds him prescription drugs, and his dad reportedly helped block off the street on which Beibs was drag racing.

    That sure as hell is just fueling his ego and attitude.

  • NateMan

    When you go from cheerleading your kid to actively enabling him, it's time to back the f--- off.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    That's just the kind of parenting that got Lindsay Lohan where she is today! Who wouldn't want that for their kids?

  • We could all learn from Dina Lohan's award-winning parenting.

    (Yes that's a real Mother of the Year award.)

  • googergieger

    This makes me think my world's sexiest grandpa t-shirt is just a joke!

  • Mrs. Julien

    Was it from Chaos Junkies Anonymous?

  • mswas
  • Mario Gp


blog comments powered by Disqus