You've heard of Ringo Starr, drummer for The Beatles. You've heard of Ringo Starr, singer of songs such as "Back Off Boogaloo" and "It Don't Come Easy." And you've heard of Ringo Starr and the All Starr Band. But have you ever heard of Ringo Starr blackout drunk?
Well, that's what Ringo used to be. A bona fide blackout drunk. The legendary drummer even said as much. Back in October. Onstage at New York's famed Rainbow Room no less.
"I was living my life so great," said Ringo. "I was one of those really nice pass-out, blackout drunks. Anyway, I came to out of a blackout one day and I had done a lot of damage. I was about to lose the love of my life, Barbara, and everything else. It was my moment."
Ringo made the confession with his wife Barbara Bach Starkey by his side. The love of Starr's life is herself a recovering alcoholic, as well as a former Bond Girl. So she too knows what it's like to be an addicted celebrity. Better still, both Starkeys know what it takes to get clean and sober. And how much it means -- to themselves, to each other, and to their families.
In fact, that's why the two were onstage that night. To honor the efforts -- and sobriety -- of Joe Walsh. See, the former Eagle isn't just a fellow recovering addict; he's also the Starkey's brother-in-law. That's right. Joe's married to Barbara's sister Marjorie. And Sir Ringo and Lady Barbara were there to present both Joe Walsh and Marjorie Bach Walsh with Facing Addiction with NCADD's annual Humanitarian Award.
"We are so proud to be here tonight and honor my sister Marjorie and Joe," said Barbara. "[They] have been supporters of Facing Addiction with NCADD from the very start. Marjorie has always been a force of nature, full of energy. And I've been so proud to watch her in her recovery, and all she and Joe do to help addicts and alcoholics."
Also on hand for the Facing Addiction with NCADD gala were Olivia Harrison, Steven and Maureen Van Zandt, Bad Company's Simon Kirke, Wendy Williams, American jewelry designer Loree Rodkin, and American menswear designer John Varvatos. Varvatos even donated a surprise new t-shirt design commemorating Joe Walsh as an "Ordinary Average Survivor" to benefit the work of the nonprofit. It's the first time a major fashion brand has partnered with this cause to create a designer t-shirt to raise awareness for addiction and recovery.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was also among the celebrants. In fact, His Honor made a special trip just to attend the fundraiser. And he delivered a riveting and personal keynote about his own journey to recovery from addiction to boot. See, Mayor Walsh has been clean and sober and open about it for 21 years. No easy feat for an elected official from anywhere, let alone one from a major American city.
In fact being clean and sober and open about it is no easy feat for anyone, regardless of their station. But it can be done. Heck, if all the successful sobriety stories in the room are any indication, it can be done wonderfully.
"I've been sober for 25 years," said Walsh. "I decided to drop my anonymity because most of the world knew I was a mess anyway. [I decided to] go public and speak out and try and help others (struggling with addiction) because that is what we do."
Indeed it is. Joe knows it. The mayor knows it. Ringo Starr knows it too. And the former Beatle has known it for some 30 straight years. A fact that meant all the more when he, Joe and an All Starr Band closed out the night by segueing from "Life in the Fast Lane" to "Life's Been Good."
(We at Recovery Boot Camp would like to congratulate Joe Walsh on his quarter century of sobriety, as well as his and his wife Marjorie's Humanitarian Award. We'd also like to applaud all the great good work done by Facing Addiction with NCADD. Mostly though, we're grateful the phrase Ringo Starr blackout drunk can be relegated to the very distant past. Go Ringo!)