It seems to happen on an almost weekly basis. We, the public, are exposed to a heartfelt confession from some star or former star acknowledging his or her alcoholism. Another public figure discusses losing a family member or loved one to the disease. For some it can seem like tabloid fodder and exploitation but to others it is an acknowledgment that they are not alone. Getting people into alcoholism treatment programs is difficult work, often because people fear the stigma attached to such efforts. The more out in the open we can be about these issues the better chance people have of addressing these issues.
So when I see articles like Representative Paul Ryan opening up about losing his alcoholic father or child actor Alison Porter(best known for the 1991 movie Curly Sue), I think that if it allows even a handful of people to address their demons it is a good thing. These days finding an alcohol recovery program is easy but folks need to first understand that they have a problem. Even the most functional of alcoholics could benefit from facing the issue head on. As they hear of successful people coping with the disease and its fallout it becomes a lot easier to see what they may be. That understanding can start the long march towards healing.