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Entries in reality TV trauma (1)


New Hope for Reality TV Addicts

Divorces, suicides, and other negative repercussions have shown us that while being on reality TV can be fun and financially beneficial, it can also be psychologically harmful to families and children.  Sudden fame and fortune often cause reality TV participants to think that they're actually stars, despite their lack of any actual talent.  Thanks to their senses of entitlement and narcissistic illusions that their fame will last forever, most reality TV participants have no Plan B.  Then suddenly, when their shows are over, they're propelled back into true reality where they have to give up their fancy homes, go back to regular jobs, and start living mundane lives again.  Depression and other symptoms of PTSD can result from having to integrate back into the mediocre lifestyles they recently thought were permanently behind them. 

But wait! Now there's help for former reality TV stars with no Plan B.  The Twelve Steps of AA have been modified to fit many addictions:  alcoholism, drug addictions, gambling, overeating, codependency, and more.  And now the list includes an addiction to being on reality TV.  Here are twelve recovery steps for former reality TV participants whose lights have flickered, dimmed and then inevitably sputtered out.

               The Twelve Steps of Reality TV Addiction Recovery

1. We admitted that although we thought we'd always be stars, we were ultimately powerless over the fleeting nature of fame.


2. We came to believe that powers greater than ourselves could restore us to a normal life without fame:  Cutthroat networks, declining ratings and lack of public interest.

3. Made a decision to turn our lives back over to normal pre-fame living including working a regular job, no longer expecting to be treated as though we are entitled, and ceasing pimping out our families' and children's privacy for money.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves and realized our lives, and especially our children's lives, were better without being in a reality TV show.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to other human beings the exact nature of our wrongs, specifically our previous misconceptions that infamy equals fame and that money and fame buy happiness.

6. Were entirely ready for our television networks and production companies to end our contracts.

7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings, or at the very least help us appreciate the depth of our superficiality and loss of basic human values.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all, including ourselves.  (In some cases this step is expected to take the longest.)

9. Made direct amends to such people without exception, because to do so would heal our relationships with them. 

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.  (This step is lifelong and ongoing, particularly in some cases.)

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to educate ourselves about the realities of “reality” TV and the entertainment business, praying only for knowledge of how it has harmed our loved ones and how we may recover and heal together. 

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others exploited by reality TV and to practice these principles in all our personal and professional affairs.


God, grant them the serenity to accept that they are not, never have been and never will be "stahs," the courage to go back to living as normal citizens, and the humble and gracious wisdom to know the difference.   

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Article first published as The 12 Steps of Reality TV Addiction Recovery on Technorati.

 Thanks to friend and Internet neighbor Mickey Mckean for the idea for this entry.

 Follow Polly as WernyGal on Twitter.