CVIndependent

Tue09292020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

If you’re one of those people who gets upset when you can’t read a newspaper article due to a paywall … it’s time we had a chat.

First off, you should know that it’s not your fault you feel this way. When the big daily newspaper companies went online two decades ago, the decision-makers at those newspapers decided to give everything away for free. Why, you ask, would they make people pay for news delivered in physical form, yet give it away online? I don’t know. I do know that many of those big newspaper execs are what people call “morons,” seeing as they chose to react to things like Craigslist not by innovating, but instead by making staffing cuts—resulting in a weaker product—to protect what was often a 30-40 percent profit margin at their companies.

This caused a death spiral at most daily newspapers around the country: They kept cutting and cutting and cutting, and not innovating, until things got dire. Then one day, they decided to start charging for that online news they’d been giving away for more than a decade.

Say it along with me: Morons!

In the alternative-newspaper world, we were a little smarter. Yeah, we gave away our content online for free, too—but that made a little more sense, because we’d been giving away the physical product for free, too. While our industry also got our ass kicked by Craigslist and online personals services, and that killed off some of the slower-acting bigger-city newspapers, a lot of people also innovated: We started doing profitable events that our readers liked, for example. We were more innovative online, too, making better-looking websites and creating e-Editions—and generally being more fun than other newspapers.

Until about a month ago, many alternative newspapers—especially in smaller and medium-sized markets—were doing OK. We were doing fun, engaging and important coverage of our communities; attracting advertising from restaurants, theaters and events; and doing events of our own. That kept the lights on, the servers serving, and the presses running—meaning we could continue to offer all that fun, engaging and important coverage to our readers for free.

Then … well, thanks to COVID-19, all the restaurants were closed (except, thank goodness, for takeout). So were the theaters. And the events were all cancelled. This is a problem.

Anyway, the idiocy of the daily newspaper companies, and the sorta-smarts of the alternative-newspaper companies, have long masked one important fact: Doing news is not cheap.

Take us at the Independent, for example. Our staff writer gets paid. Our 10-15 regular freelancers are paid. We have server fees and bookkeeper fees and cell-phone charges and monthly subscription fees for the computer software we use. Each “normal” pre-pandemic print edition of the Independent cost, conservatively, $3,000 to $4,000 to lay out, print and distribute. Heck, we pay about $2,000 a year just for libel insurance—needed to protect us in case someone with deeper pockets than us decides he or she doesn’t like a story we did.

I could go on and on … but you get the point: If you are able, you need to support the newspapers from which you get your information. (Yes, even The Desert Sun.) This stuff takes time, and talent, and money to produce.

So … the next time you can’t read a newspaper article due to a paywall, don’t snivel; subscribe.

As for the Independent, never fear: As long as I am around, we will never have a paywall, because I understand that some of our readers—especially right now—can’t afford to pay for the news … and I am proud of the work we’re doing, and I want everyone to have access to it. I also trust that our readers who can afford to send us a few bucks will do so, because they’re smart and value what we do.

But, seriously: Stop complaining about paywalls, OK?

Tomorrow, we’ll have some news about some exciting things going on with the Independent, despite all the darkness. In the meantime, keep reading. Oh, and if you want/need a copy of our April print edition, go here for details.

And now, the news.

• Our very own V.J. Hume did an amazing piece on how our neighbors who are Alcoholics Anonymous members are dealing with this new temporary reality. It’s a fascinating read.

• Fingers crossed: Faster, easier COVID-19 testing is on its way … to some places at least.

• USA Today brings us this interesting piece on what scientists are learning from COVID-19 mutations. Buried within the piece is more encouraging news about how California’s doing at #flatteningthecurve.

• Coming next weekend, some big-name drag performers are putting on a really big online show.

• The president and CEO of the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce has put together a fundraiser to send local health-care workers food.

• Missing Las Vegas? Here’s info on a virtual tour of the Neon Museum to temporarily satisfy your thirst for the bright lights.

• The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center and Mayor Geoff Kors are holding a webinar at 1 p.m. tomorrow (Monday) on resources for businesses affected by this mess.

• From our partners at CalMatters: The governor thinks the state will have enough ventilators to get through the pandemic—as long as citizens keep doing our part.

• Palm Desert’s CREATE Center for the Arts has put its 3-D printers to use, making personal protective equipment for local medical professionals.

• A bunch of local orgs have created an emergency fund for families in need.

• Could the coronavirus bring back the drive-in movie theater?

• The California Restaurant Association is afraid that the pandemic will shutter 30,000 California restaurants.

That’s enough for today. Wash your hands. Make sure (safely) that your neighbors are OK. Support local journalism. More tomorrow.

Published in Daily Digest

Getting sober is one thing—and staying sober is another.

Since 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings have been there to help members stay sober—offering a safe place for people to air their thoughts, questions and problems, with the tacit understanding of “what’s said here, stays here.” At least 10 percent of Americans deal with addiction issues, meaning AA and other 12-step programs are huge parts of many people’s lives.

Then came the coronavirus—and a societal shutdown the likes of which the United States hasn’t experienced in more than a century. When people can’t attend meetings … what happens to sobriety?

Enter the internet—and, specifically, Zoom meetings. While some local AA members continue to meet in person—risks to themselves and society be damned—most have turned to Zoom to continue to get the community and support they need.

We recently reached out to nine AA members and asked them how they’re coping as we all ride out the pandemic. We’ll start with D. and D., a couple who met in the program. Instead of physically attending meetings, they’re hosting online meetings daily via Zoom (zoom.us) at 9 a.m. The first meeting they held had 22 attendees. Within four days, attendance had soared to 92—a meeting featuring a screen full of faces on computers, tablets and smart phones.

Zoom’s basic service is free, but meetings on the basic service can last only up to 40 minutes. Therefore, people happily chipped in to upgrade the service, with the extra money collected going to support the AA Central Intergroup Office of the Desert, which remains open on Date Palm Drive in Cathedral City. There, people have always been able to phone in or visit in person to pick up literature, ask questions about meetings, or simply learn about the mysterious disease of alcoholism. The central office now includes a list of Zoom meetings at aainthedesert.org.

D., the wife, got sober at the age of 14 and is a grade-school teacher with 43 years of sobriety; her husband of 14 years has 28 years of sobriety. They found out about Zoom after the husband took a course online several years ago.

“We were contacted for an (online virtual) AA meeting a year and a half ago—an early morning 6 a.m. meeting that went around the world, and we were both asked to be speakers,” the wife said. “There were people in Iceland, Cambodia, on islands, in remote areas of the world, or people here with jobs who had weird hours, and it was difficult for them to get to regular meetings. We had some apprehension—but we liked it.

“Zoom is free for 40 minutes, and anyone can use that. To upgrade, you have to pay. … We have unlimited time now for a whole year for $149.

“My favorite part of our meetings is at the end when everyone reaches toward the screen, and we say a final prayer. We feel a closeness of the spirit, and it’s like holding hands.

“Unfortunately, some people are too afraid of the technology to join us. This morning, there were a couple of people who had ‘slipped’ (drank again) during this coronavirus. … People are struggling, and they are not all finding Zoom right away. For newcomers especially, it’s difficult.

“Initially, we were just going to do this on Sundays. I wasn’t sure that I hadn’t been exposed at school to the virus … so it was a strange time. I wanted to do something normal like our Sunday 9 a.m. meeting. But I saw on Facebook an ad for (online AA meetings), and they were looking for hosts—and our first meeting was so great, and everyone was so touched, that we decided to do it every day.

“We are supposed to be in lockdown. We may be isolated—but we are still connected. That’s why we call this meeting Stay Connected.”

The husband added: “It helped me so much. When you share your sorrows, they divide, and when you share your joys, they multiply. It’s true! It still works online at a Zoom meeting.

“Because of the virus, I couldn’t see my mother in hospice the last two weeks, so it caused me to concentrate more on the meetings. Then I actually found out by being texted during a Zoom meeting … that my mother was beginning to transition. … We interrupted the meeting, which I have never done before, and told everyone what happened, (and) that we had to go. Another member stepped up and acted as host. … We ran out and left our computer on. As we were traveling, we were texted that my mom had transitioned. We were back home 10 hours later, and the computer was still on—the meeting had closed, but we had no idea when it had ended!

“Since then, it has helped me to share at the Zoom meetings, and hear others’ stories about family who had passed away. I felt like I wasn’t alone by sharing at this meeting. … It was the best, to feel the group support … and to my unexpected amazement, I found myself being more open with my emotions, even to a group with a lot of strangers. I didn’t know I was going to do that. People from all over the country chimed in; it was like we were all on a life raft together. Just like AA’s creation of the Grapevine magazine for the loners, it was this forward thinking that got Zoom (meetings) started.”

The wife added: “With phones and texting, we all check on each other and offer support—and we still do that too, being self-quarantined. The technology is harder for older people, but we have younger people who stick around after every meeting to help them. Everyone is helping each other. We have to talk each other through it, so there is an incredible amount of communication going on.

“You’ll see a girl, 18, helping someone who is 85. It’s great.”


Kirk is a snowbird, a retired firefighter with 23 years in AA. Accustomed to attending five meetings a week, he now relies on Zoom for his meetings at 6:30 a.m., as well as another meeting originating back home.

“I see my old friends at the meetings! I almost feel like a newcomer—I had a lot of fear and uncertainty about the technology, like when I first walked into the rooms of AA,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m doing, but I am going to keep doing what they tell me.

“I need a hip replacement and am taking a lot of Advil and Tylenol—we can’t do surgery on it right now. My doctor says this virus thing is a monster; everyone is so overwhelmed. It gives me goosebumps.

“I have not heard of anyone picking up a drink over this yet … yet. I am pretty bewildered by this; I think we are totally underestimating the power of this thing. None of us has ever done anything like this. … I think it’s going to get worse. I hear the doctors interviewed on TV, and their voices shake sometimes.

“I was cleaning up the yard yesterday, just to get out of my own head. Hopefully we will know more in another month or so. … We have to go back (home) at the first of April, and then we will come back down here until the end of May.

“I suggest that people pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t called in a while … and get connected! When I do, I can feel the anxiety leaving my body. Clean the closets; clean the garage—and stay away from the refrigerator! Bicycle riding is great. … Walking the dog is great.”


L., from Indio, has 29 years in the program; his wife, has 32. They met in the program years ago.

“I was all for the meetings shutting down because of the coronavirus. The meetings can be Petri dishes, because people go to them even when they are feeling sick,” the husband said. “They should have been closed sooner. I support them staying closed as long as this virus is a threat. I have a lot of people I am close to, and we are staying in touch on the phone, going to online meetings a bit, and practicing prayer and meditation at home.

“I met with one sponsee, wearing a mask, sitting seven feet away, sitting outside. It is the last face-to-face I will do, because he is in a recovery home, and people there are sick. Who knows how widespread this is?

“Having a wife in the program is an advantage, as she has a source of interaction other than me, with all her AA girlfriends, so the pressure is not on us to be each other’s source of entertainment. The online meetings I like, but not as much as in person, though it is a good way to stay connected.

“I am not living in fear. … We are taking all the precautions we can. We are in quarantine and go out only when we have to. … We have one N95 mask, and I wear that when I go out shopping. When I bring food home, I have a Tupperware container with water and bleach, and I wipe down everything.

“(My wife) and I are actually getting along better. … I don’t know why, but it is. We are on the same page.”

His wife adds: “I appreciate the online meetings. … I’ve been doing meditation and music—and making cookies! I’m trying to keep a positive attitude. I am doing good, staying healthy and feeling good.

“This is really strange, isn’t it? I think in the end, good will come from this. A lot of people are coming together in love and peace and gratitude.”


Scott, in Redlands, just celebrated three years of sobriety.

“AA changed my life, because it allows me to help other people,” he said. “I am a 100 percent disabled veteran with dual diagnosis—I have to treat everything. I had to learn skills to stay sane and sober, both. I work the 12 steps, and my sponsor allows me the freedom to work with my psychologist as well.

“… In AA, I learned to practice ‘radical acceptance.’ When I came to AA, I had no place else to go. Now I help other people, especially at (a center in Redlands)—first, by staying sober, and also by being involved in my 1,018 days.

“At first, I was a chronic relapser, but now I don’t relapse anymore, because I take every day as a gift from God. I have learned to build a life worth living, rather than destroying things. Part of the process is learning to love yourself. It was difficult, but I learned to believe in myself. Now I teach the guys I sponsor about assets and liabilities; you can look in your heart and decide who you want to be.

“I sponsor two newcomers, and one has relapsed, but came back; it had nothing to do with the coronavirus. You see, the opposite of addiction is not sobriety; it is connection, and that’s why the rooms of AA are so valuable—that’s where we connect. We have to learn to pick up that phone and call our sponsors, call our sponsees, and join meetings online.

“The way to get through this time is this: If we don’t change our paradigms to changing circumstances, it isn’t going to work. We need to accept the change and be willing to change our behavior. It is a battle for all of us … but we’re not doing this alone. Even if technology is too much, we can all still use the phone!”


European-born Lena, now with 22 months of sobriety, lives in Palm Desert with a sober roommate.

“We actually have open meetings outdoors at noon each day, out in the fresh air, and we have a meeting (where) we hike to up at the cross at 8 a.m. … We are between four and nine people there every day,” Lena said. “I never had so many friends in my life! My sobriety is completely different as a result of this. … It’s like I didn’t know who I was.

“I started to use alcohol late in life, like after 40, and the progression was very fast. I came to California in 2017. I now volunteer and have a part-time job, but I am a dental assistant and don’t have my license yet. I went back to college late.

“I miss meetings … but Zoom meetings, thank God for them. It’s all over the country, which is great. So I am hiking in the morning, walking in the evening, and (having) Zoom meetings in between. I know several people who have ‘picked up’ (relapsed) over this, out of frustration, fear or justifying it—or they don’t want to go to meetings. Everyone who goes to meetings regularly stays sober, even with this stupid virus.

“I am very active. I have a very good sponsor, and we usually go to women’s meetings together. … I feel positive—it’s a great life, even with financial insecurity. God is everything or nothing, right? So I guess He’s everything!”


John, of La Quinta, celebrated 36 years of sobriety two weeks ago.

“When the meetings shut down, I knew I had to take care of myself—by phone, online, or even at outdoor early-morning park meetings … where I went only once,” he says. “I am now in a 15-day lockdown.

“I respect what the president is doing; he is the CEO of the country. … I can’t imagine where we would be if we hadn’t shut down. I have five sponsees right now, and I have to take care of them! I am going to stay in contact with them, and with other people, and with God.

“I am kind of retired from physical work. The online meetings have been a challenge technologically. Yesterday was the first day I seriously tried to do an online meeting, with partial success. I plan to definitely try again. My sponsees are doing really good; one guy is home with his kids, painting the house together!

“There are still (physical) meetings actually happening, and he is going to those in person. I didn’t get on him about it, but if we are all staying home, I think he should, too. I have another sponsee who is a nurse, and he is still working; he is doing OK. I say to him, ‘Take care of yourself, even with that protective gear!’ Another one is a kind of a hermit who never leaves the house much anyhow; we are only in touch by phone now, although we have met in person every week for five years.

“Another sponsee is moving! In the middle of this! He is lugging stuff right now.

“I used to go to meetings every day, and I love them. Acceptance is a big part of our program, and now we have to accept this new way of life. … We can’t get uptight about the new rules. Like the 12 steps of AA, we have to stay sober by doing them, and so we have to follow these rules in our civilian life to stay alive.

“God is asking a lot of us right now, but I think everyone will be just fine.”


In the city of Coachella is Joe, who plans to celebrate 21 years of sobriety in April.

“While this coronavirus is impacting people worldwide, I think it’s brought us closer than ever before,” he says. “We educate each other and stress the importance of being connected.

“We now have meetings in our home every day—sponsees and family, about 10 people. We aren’t worried about the virus; we are sanitizing and keeping our distance a bit, but we are not locking our doors.

“When I was overseas as a Marine, we had an Iraqi translator, and he used to walk around freely where everyone else was ducking flying bullets. He had no weapon. We asked why he did this, and he replied, ‘If it is meant for me to die, I will.’ I remember two other Marines under fire—one was taking cover; the other wasn’t, and he said to his friend, ‘Don’t bother hiding; you can’t die yet. You gotta get those teeth fixed first!’

“I won’t live in fear! I have to remind myself not to listen to my head, to live in a neutral zone … so I can’t go around thinking I might get the virus. My head will always try to feed me negative information. Every time we cough or sneeze now, we think we have the virus!

“There is a reason for all the principles of AA—we have to use the ideas, not just think of them as words. Now that we are home with our family all the time, I stay away from the news, because my mind gets worked on by it. AA tells me how to direct my day, and I am a whole lot better. It is a daily event, and if I don’t live in faith, then I can hear my mind talking to me. … It is stuff that is no good for me or anyone else. That’s why we hold these little get-togethers.

“People are so grateful for these! One gal just got 30 days (of sobriety). Another guy is 14 years old, and he just got two months of sobriety. To hear them say they need this makes it worth it—every time. I think I have had more get-togethers now than ever before; it is making us closer, while the rest of the world is isolating!

“I’m not yet going to meetings on Zoom. I say: Keep removing fear whenever it comes up; we are not running the show!”

Published in Features

We hear the terms a lot: codependent, enabler, dysfunctional.

We’re used to applying those terms, perhaps lightly, to our friends who call with their recurring relationship dramas, and more seriously to those who are living in situations where violence or substance abuse is common. Sometimes, we can see it in others—but not in ourselves.

Codependency is a relatively recent label attached to certain feelings and behaviors, originally an outgrowth of the Alcoholics Anonymous organization. The AA 12-step program is well-known for its effectiveness with those who follow its recovery protocols. AA stays open to the reality that not everyone makes it through the first time they try. Their door is always open.

Al-Anon began as an AA support group for family members and friends of those addicted to alcohol, so they could share their struggles, shame, insights and coping mechanisms. Sometimes, kids just need to know there are others going through similar family situations. Meanwhile, Narcotics Anonymous began to specifically address drug abusers.

While some disdain the 12-step program’s reliance on the concept of a “higher power,” I have a friend who just celebrated 30 years clean and sober; his atheistic approach is Star Wars and “The Force.”

“It doesn’t matter how you get there,” he says. “It’s just about working the program.”

The psychological community has its own approach to codependency, focusing on those who associate with dysfunctional people. For example, Robert Rotunda writes that in 1941, German psychoanalyst Karen Horney suggested that some people adopt a “Moving Toward” personality style, drawn to others to gain “approval and affection, and unconsciously control them through their dependent style. They are unselfish, virtuous, martyr-like, faithful and turn the other cheek despite personal humiliation. Approval from others is more important than respecting themselves.”

All About Counseling acknowledges that the original definition was “the set of responses and behaviors people develop while living with a partner or family member who is an alcoholic,” but adds that codependency may develop in anyone living in a dysfunctional relationship or environment, regardless of whether there is substance abuse, even where someone has a chronic mental or physical illness.

Why is it important to recognize oneself as possibly codependent? Kaplan and Sadock’s Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry indicates concerns about the development of psychosomatic illnesses, self-defeating behaviors, the likelihood of attracting further abuse, being more likely to stay in a stressful job or relationship, and being less likely to seek medical attention when needed.

My first marriage was to an alcoholic, who was the son of an alcoholic father and grandfather. His brothers have all struggled with substance abuse of one kind or another. Our children have had to confront this inherited reality as well.

I was young, with twin babies. When my husband drank every night after work, I saw my role as keeping as much peace as possible in the household. “You’ll wake the babies,” I would say. And whatever was bothering him, I would engage and try to calm him down, or agree so as to avoid an argument, or cry at the hurtful things he would say.

I consulted a therapist, who kept telling me, “It’s not your problem,” but I didn’t get it. “I’m in the house with him when he’s ranting or storming around. Of course it’s my problem.”

You don’t get things until you get them. One night, with the usual scenario unfolding, I found myself sitting on the staircase that led to the upstairs, watching him as he stormed around the living room. And all of a sudden, I got it. What he was going through wasn’t my problem, and I couldn’t fix it. I sat there watching, saying nothing, refusing to be drawn in or to engage. It was like watching a movie as opposed to being in it.

He left that night. I had gone up to bed at some point, and when I woke up in the morning, he was gone. We divorced shortly thereafter.

The national group known as CoDA, Co-Dependents Anonymous, uses the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous principles to focus on what they describe as the journey of self-discovery—learning to love oneself. Through group sessions, people of all ages, races, backgrounds and experiences share their stories and their insights to help each other find the confidence to handle their individual situations. Resources include a checklist of behaviors and attitudes that help one to self-evaluate, categorizing symptomatic behaviors of denial, low self-esteem, compliance, control issues and avoidance patterns.

CoDA has several meetings throughout the Coachella Valley, from Desert Hot Springs to La Quinta and Borrego Springs. There are meetings every day of the week, at churches, meeting halls, even restaurants. Some groups are for women or men only, and programs may involve group discussion (one may just listen), studying the 12-steps, or such subjects as “Winners vs Whiners” and “Peeling the Onion.” You can get more information about the local groups and their calendar at www.DesertCoDA.org. On Friday, Sept. 25, the meeting at St. Margaret’s Church in Palm Desert will include a special guest speaker. Meetings are open, welcoming places, and one can go alone and feel comfortable.

What I learned from my first marriage, and the realization that “It’s not your problem,” was what I now refer to as the Ping-Pong Theory. It can be applied to codependency situations, bullying, recurring relationship issues, and even interactions with your children: In a game of ping-pong, when someone hits the ball over the net, you always have the option of picking up the racket and hitting it back—or not. It’s your choice whether to play. Once you pick up the racket and hit the ball back, you’re in the game. Skillful players, especially those who know you really well, are adept at enticing you into a game. Just remember: You always have the choice not to play. Then, it’s truly not your problem.

I was struck by a comment made by one of the women at the CoDA orientation I attended at St. Margaret’s. She said, “I finally realized that no matter what he was doing, I was stuck on a drug of my own. Hope was my dope.”

There really is hope—but first, you have to recognize that the only person you can fix is yourself.

Anita Rufus is also known as “The Lovable Liberal,” and her radio show airs Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on KNews Radio 94.3 FM. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Know Your Neighbors appears every other Wednesday.

Published in Know Your Neighbors

As I prepare for another production of Lush!, which I wrote about the first woman who was involved with Alcholics Anonymous, I thought I’d share the story behind the story.

It started onstage, when I was playing the supporting role of “Anne Smith,” wife of Dr. Bob Smith, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, in the play Bill W. and Dr. Bob. (Bill Wilson, of course, is the other co-founder.) It was a role I felt I was meant to do, since my paternal grandmother’s name was Mary Anne Smith … and her husband was my grandfather, “Dr. Bob” Hume. Loving that connection, I set out to bring the role to life.

During one performance, the unbidden thought popped into my head, “Wait a minute. Everyone makes such a fuss over these two guys. Who was the first WOMAN in AA?”

I didn’t know the answer.

Research revealed a fascinating and unknown story of a true American heroine. I had no idea that such a powerful and exciting tale could be lost in the shuffle of history’s cards—and decided that it was my duty and privilege to bring this tale to today’s audiences.

Marty Mann was born in 1904 in Chicago, to wealth and privilege. Despite her advantages, she wound up a hopeless and homeless drunk, living alone on a park bench in London, England. How could it happen? She had been smart and beautiful, with a sparkling personality and success in her work.

But that’s what happens to alcoholics. The disease is no respecter of education, class, sex or family name.

Today, everyone knows someone who is a drunk. Almost every family has one … or more. Statistics tell us that one out of every 10 people is an alcoholic. But in Marty’s day, nobody believed that women could be alcoholics. And until 1935, no program for helping the addicted had ever truly worked, despite attempts of all kinds throughout world history. So when Marty tried to get help, she was not only fighting her disease, but also the men in AA who didn’t want her there!

Well, Marty went on to change America. That journey is what my play is about. I called it Lush! because someone once referred to a friend with that term, and I felt a huge wave of embarrassment and shame wash over me on her behalf. I remembered that reaction when researching Marty Mann’s life, and realized I had found the perfect title. So I not only wrote it, but then directed it.

The two-act play is performed as “reading theater,” with the actors playing multiple roles. My husband, Ted Pethes, provides fabulous clarinet music between scenes, with the songs not only setting the mood, but indicating exactly the year of the upcoming scene. Musical snobs love that add-on! The show stars Mr. Ron Young as “Dr. Bob” and Mr. Dean Apple as “Bill W.” (reprising their roles from Bill W. and Dr. Bob). After directing three other actresses to play “Marty Mann,” guess who finally decided to accept her fate and play the lead role? Yup: moi.

The most amazing part of performing this play is the audience reactions. Not just the standing ovations, or the tears we see from the stage, or the roars of laughter we hear (drunks ARE funny … sometimes), but the comments that come back to us long after the show. The first time we performed it, a woman decided to get sober! Others have described it as “life-changing.”

It has been performed twice at the ABC Recovery Center in Indio, and twice at the Tolerance Education Center in Rancho Mirage, as well as at the Indio Performing Arts Center and the world-famous Betty Ford Center, where they acknowledge that without Marty Mann, Betty Ford herself might never have found sobriety.

Of course, we hope the tale will someday end with the play being discovered and becoming the Hollywood movie (with an Oscar-winning role for its star) it should be. Come see it while it is still in its fledgling stage!

Lush! will be performed at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Palm Springs Womans’ Club, 314 Cahuilla Road, in Palm Springs. Tickets are only $10. The production benefits Michael’s House, a Palm Springs recovery center, with its Heroes in Recovery program. Call Zigi at (760) 464-2138.

It's for a great cause. Please come see it!

Published in Theater and Dance