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Sunday, October 02, 2011  

Monks and Rehab

My new column for The Daily is up:

In his recent memoir, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards described the rehab stints of his bandmate Ronnie Wood. “Ronnie’s idea of rehab was mainly a strategy to get away from the pressure,” Richards writes. At his favorite facility, in Ireland, the only rule was no visitors and no phone calls. Wood and his fellow residents went there “just to get the day-to-day living off their back.”

As rehab has climbed the rungs from stigma to heroism to lifestyle enhancement, it’s become a part of the resumes of a staggering array of famous people. It’s also an easy trend to disparage. Rehab, as one tabloid has put it, is now little more than a “Get out of jail free” card for people who choose “penitence over prosecution.”

But public acts of penitence and the need to escape the snares of daily living weren’t always thought of as so trivial. For me at least, a show like “Celebrity Rehab” — along with its other charms — demonstrates just how far we’ve gone to recast many of the insights of the ancient Christian and Buddhist monastic traditions into the modern, secular terms of recovery.

Read the rest here.

posted by Benjamin Dueholm | 11:16 PM
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