Mike StarrAnother celebrity has lost his life to his disease of addiction. Mike Starr, 44, the original bassist for Alice in Chains, was found dead in Salt Lake City, presumably from drug-related causes.
Drugs were long a part of Starr's story. He was fired from Alice in Chains for drug use. And in 2009, we watched him try to kick methadone in Season 3 of Celebrity Rehab. His detox and psychotic break scared the hell out of me. In one episode, he became agitated, violent, nonverbal, and full of anger. Later in the season, thankfully, he seemed to have a personal breakthrough of sorts. It was the kind of invaluable headway, in fact, that you hoped could save a drug addict's life; however, Starr was arrested last month for felony possession of a controlled substance, including Xanax and painkillers. Now he is dead.
Charlie Sheen, are you paying attention?
During his treatment on Celebrity Rehab, Dr. Drew helped Mike Starr face his most shameful regret -- an important aspect of recovery since regrets, shame, and secrets keep us reaching for the numbness we find in drugs and alcohol. Starr had been with his best friend, Alice in Chains lead singer Layne Staley, the night he died of a heroin overdose in 2002. The two had a minor argument (about Starr being "too high" on benzos) and Starr left Staley alone and "sick" on heroin, which killed him later that night. Starr had no idea Staley was dying, of course, but he had been carrying around the guilt of leaving Staley for years.
Dr. Drew reunited Starr with Layne Staley's mom, whom he hadn't spoken to since Layne's death, so he could tell her how sorry and ashamed he was about the night Layne overdosed. He told her he wished he had called 911. She told him she had never blamed him for Staley's death, just the message of forgiveness that Starr needed.
This was a huge emotional breakthrough for a man who, racked with guilt, listened to Alice in Chains over and over again to connect to his lost friend. It may have even bought him some more time on this planet, but alas, it wasn't ultimately enough to keep his cunning demons away.
Deepest condolences to Starr's family and friends.
WATCH some clips from Mike Starr's season on Celebrity Rehab:
Do you know someone who needs help with addiction but won't take it? How do you cope?
Image via VHI