Fans are standing firmly by Eminem

Yes, Detroit Free Press is right about it : we do. I have posted health recovery wishes on my personal website in my name and in the name of all the loyal fans around the world.

Fans are standing firmly by Eminem

News of rehab has them concerned
August 20, 2005

BY BRIAN McCOLLUM and PATRICIA ANSTETT
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS

Eminem fans in the Detroit area and around the world expressed concern and get-well wishes for the artist Friday, following his admission to a drug rehabilitation center this week.

A day after revelations about Eminem’s dependency on sleep medication, compounded by a lengthy bout with insomnia that led to the cancellation of a European tour, fans from Birmingham, Mich., to Birmingham, England, said they hoped for the best — and were relieved the news wasn’t worse.

Word that Eminem had sought medical help for a sleep medication addiction was the latest development in a life saga whose dramatic arc often seems pulled from the pages of a gripping novel, a big factor behind the intense interest in the rapper born Marshall Mathers III.

Many Eminem devotees have said they feel a unique bond with the artist because of the deeply personal nature of his lyrics.

Tracey Sexton is a 33-year-old fan in Elwood, Ind. Four years ago, she was ambivalent about Eminem, a celebrity she knew little about. But after being introduced to his albums by her son Jason Staton, now 13, she found herself drawn deeply into Eminem’s world, where she found parallels to her own life.

That’s why this week’s developments felt like startling news about a family member, she said Friday.

“I’ve been down that road of addiction — alcohol, for me,” she said. “Eminem’s music has had such a connection for me, on such a personal basis. I knew something drastic must have happened for him to have canceled a tour. I’m just relieved that he caught this before it was too late, and not letting it linger on.”

In Farmington Hills, 10-year-old Dakota Lucas was disappointed Friday that he couldn’t make it to a community get-well tribute staged that morning by radio station Channel 955 (WKQI-FM, 95.5).

Dakota was introduced a couple of years ago to Eminem’s music — some of it, at least — by his mom, Melanie Lucas.

“I was a little bit shocked that Eminem was in the hospital,” Dakota said. “I was like, ‘Wow, I wonder what’s wrong?’ I know he’s under a lot of stress. I would say to him, ‘You’re one of my favorite singers. I just hope you get well really soon.’ ”

At the Channel 955 event in Warren, about 1,200 well-wishers showed up to fill three door-size cards with get-well messages, said morning personality Spike.

“The fan outpouring has been as large as you’d expect his hometown crowd to be,” he said. “People were willing to share their stories of overcoming their own hardships and seem willing to accept whatever career adjustments are necessary for Eminem to recover.”

Sources told the Free Press that Eminem admitted himself early in the week to Brighton Hospital, a well-regarded rehab center, and had been taking large doses of Ambien after a difficult struggle with sleep while touring the United States in July.

Thousands of people for the last 50 years have sought help for substance abuse at Brighton Hospital’s sprawling wooded campus in Livingston County. But it’s no country club, say patients who have attended the program.

One of the oldest programs of its kind in the United States, the 63-bed hospital uses the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous approach to substance abuse rehabilitation. It offers live-in care at its main Brighton facility and off-campus treatment through several community centers.

Citing federal privacy laws, the hospital has declined to say whether Eminem is or was a patient there, or whether he is participating in outpatient programs.

But reports that Eminem was at the Brighton center “caused us a great deal of concern about patient care and security,” said Lou Martin, spokesman with the St. John Health System, the hospital’s corporate owner. A car driving a patient to be admitted Friday drove away when its driver saw a Detroit TV crew there, he said.

Metro-area singer Stewart Francke was hospitalized last September at the Brighton center for two weeks for addiction to painkillers he took after cancer treatment.

“It wasn’t like a spa or a New-Agey kind of place,” he said. “It’s definitely not a country club. It’s tough, make no mistake about it. They don’t let you make excuses for your behavior. Of all the places” Eminem “could have picked, he went to a down-to-earth, bare-bones place near his home.”

Brighton Hospital allows patients to continue treatment from home, though spokesman Martin declined to say how soon patients, in general, might be released from the hospital.

The Sanofi-Aventis Group, which manufactures Ambien, offered only a brief response to the reports of Eminem’s addiction problem.

“When used appropriately, Ambien is a safe and effective treatment for insomnia,” said spokeswoman Melissa Feltmann.

Contact BRIAN McCOLLUM at 313-223-4450 or mccollum@freepress.com. Contact PATRICIA ANSTETT at 313-222-5021 or anstett@freepress.com.

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