Every so often, I feel the need to combine my drag blogs with the blogs that I write for “We are 1 Voice” and this is one of those times. There is nothing worse than an entertainer on the stage who is over the top sloppy drunk.
Now before I continue, let me say that I’m not passing judgment, I’m speaking from experience. I am a recovering alcoholic / addict and am very open about it. I chose not to maintain any sense of anonymity due to the fact that I made my “problem” very public so why hide my journey in recovery? I rewrote the definition of “knocking a few back” before a show & I literally destroyed my reputation and career towards the end of my drinking career.
I was un-bookable, nobody trusted me or wanted to even work with me. I dug myself into a very deep hole that I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be able to climb out of. Just one example of my madness laying across a table trying to feed an unwilling audience member salad after a show and I don’t remember any of it….(True story) I have truly been blessed to have had the opportunity to get a second chance. I’m not proud of my past actions, but I am forever grateful for the lessons that they taught me. However, it’s taken me five and a half years to get to this point and I still strive to move forward with every day that passes. Not all entertainers are that lucky and there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not grateful for it.
I’m well aware that not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic, but it doesn’t change the fact that being heavily under the influence while being on the stage or out in public when you’re an entertainer is definitely NOT something that should be done. When you’re heavily under the influence, you have no impulse control, you slur your words, trip over your feet and act in a totally unprofessional manor. I see absolutely nothing wrong with having a few drinks before a show to calm the nerves or just relax. I see nothing wrong with knocking a few back with the fans / audience after the show in order to be social. However comma…..allowing yourself to be tore up from the floor up is most definitely a problem. It changes the way people see you, it changes the way the show directors / venue owners view your sense of professionalism and believe me, PEOPLE WILL TALK.
Professionalism is extremely important in this business and you must maintain your sense of professionalism both ON and OFF the stage at all times. Believe me when I tell you that I am NOT preaching. I am trying to be informative if nothing else. Some of you may take this with a grain of salt, but I’m hoping that most of you reading this will head my warning. The struggle to rebuild your reputation is a long and difficult road. One none of you want to walk. This includes those times when you’re not performing and just out cutting loose with your friends. If you’re an entertainer, people WILL recognize you and again, PEOPLE TALK.
Although I myself am in a position where I can no longer “indulge” I don’t see a problem with people who do. I’m not holier than thou and totally anti-alcohol. I don’t pass judgment and I firmly feel that people have the right to do what they want to do. All I’m trying to say is if you are in this line of business, you’re always in the spotlight whether you’re on the stage or not. Your actions can and will come up and bite you in the rear end if you’re not careful.
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist.