Recently headlines were made when the famous French actor Gerard Depardieu gave an interview with SOFILM where he stated the following, “I can’t drink like a normal person. I can absorb 12, 13, 14 bottles…per day. But I’m never totally drunk, just a little pissed. All you need is a 10-minute nap and voilà, a slurp of rosé wine and I feel as fresh as a daisy! I have to admit that when I start counting, doctors start worrying.”
I thought it would be a good exercise for me to act as if Gerard himself had called our admissions center and that I took the call. I did some research (see resources at the end of this blog) on the actor and used this research and some of his actual quotes to fashion what I believe his answers would be to the questions I ask all people who call me for help. He’s a famous, world-renowned actor. He’s wealthy beyond most of our wildest dreams, he owns his own winery in France. He has houses all over the world. Mr. Depardieu has it all.
Does that make him unique when it comes to drinking? Is he that different from the rest of us? Can he drink that much and not be an addict? Maybe Mr. Depardieu is scientific marvel who should be studied since he doesn’t drink like the rest of us and can drink 14 bottles of wine and not be drunk. If that’s the case, I want to be the one who makes the discovery.
I have a list of standard questions that I ask people when they call me. Without having to ever speak to Mr. Depardieu, I was able to create the conversation that we’d have if he’d called me himself.
Here’s an excerpt from my imaginary interview with celebrity Gerard Depardieu.
Rebecca: Mr. Depardieu, thank you for calling Vertava Health. I can assure you that have called the right place and I am ready to help. Let me start by saying none of us start out drinking 14 bottles of alcohol a day, how old were you when you started drinking?
Gerard: I left home when we was 13 years old. The son of an alcoholic, I led a life of petty crime often selling stolen booze.
Rebecca: Does alcoholism run in your family?
Gerard: Not only was my father an alcoholic, but also my son Guillaume who passed away in 2008. Guillaume had a history of alcoholism and drug addiction he was in a motorcycle accident and needed a leg amputated. He died from an infection from the wound. Before his passing, Guillaume wrote a book about his life. In it he says the following about me, “a coward, a cheater and a chronic liar, obsessed with the desire to be loved and the need for money.” We were not speaking at the time of his death.
Rebecca: Have there been any legal ramifications as a result of your drinking?
Gerard: In 2013, I lost my license in France over a DUI where my blood alcohol level was three times above the legal limit. I wasn’t actually moving at the time and no one else was injured. It also didn’t help matters that I chose not to show up for court causing my charges to be elevated. I wasn’t actually moving the vehicle and celebrities don’t show up to court. It is what it is.
A few years prior, in 2011, I was ejected from an Air France flight for failing to remain seated during takeoff. Instead of waiting for the plane to be full cruising altitude and the fasten seatbelt sign to go off to make my way to the restroom, I relieved myself into a bottle. While standing in the aisle. In front of passengers. Ridiculous, it was not because I was drunk! I really had to go to the restroom! I was supposed to just go in my pants?
Rebecca: Have you had any health problems as a result of your drinking?
Gerard: In 2000, I had emergency quintuple bypass surgery in order to save my life. I have heart disease. But it was nothing to me. In fact, I was back working in the film industry four weeks later. My drinking or smoking has not slowed down subsequent to this surgery and I’m perfectly fine with that. “When I’m bored, I drink, apart from occasional compulsory moments of abstinence. After undergoing bypass surgery (five times), and also because of cholesterol and stuff, I have to be careful. I’m obsessed with the racket in my body, the beating of my heart, the gurgling of my intestines, my joints cracking. It’s become a phobia to the point that if I’m alone in a hotel, I must drink so as not to hear it, so as not to go mad from it. I can’t get to sleep unless I am dead drunk.” (actual quotes)
Rebecca: How often do you drink?
Gerard: “In the morning, it starts at home with champagne or red wine before 10am, then again champagne. Then I break up the wine intake with a little aniseed liqueur pastis. Then food, accompanied by two bottles of wine. In the afternoon, champagne, beer and more pastis at around 5pm, to finish off the bottle. Later on, vodka and/or whisky. But I’m never totally drunk, just a little p*****d. Anyway, I’m not going to die. Not now. I still have energy.” (actual quotes)
Rebecca: That’s interesting sir, because I didn’t ask you if you thought you were going to die.
Here’s what I’m looking for when someone calls:
- Early Onset
- Family History
- Legal Consequences
- Extreme Health Warnings
- Increased Tolerance
A person struggling with addiction fits many or all of these criteria. This is how we determine where a person is on the addiction spectrum and how we tailor treatment for the best outcome.
Just from reading a few articles it’s obvious to me that famous actor Gerard Depardieu isn’t an anomaly. He’s not made up of some special biological compound wherein he can drink all of the time and not have ramifications.
Take a look at his list. He started at 13. His father was an alcoholic as was his late son. He has had major heart surgery. He’s been arrested, lost his license and has embarrassed himself by being so drunk that he urinated in front of people on an airplane getting him ejected off the flight.
Nope. He’s not unusual at all.
If Gerard Depardieu picked up the phone today and said to me, “You don’t understand, Rebecca. I can’t drink like a normal person. I can absorb 12, 13, 14 bottles…per day. But I’m never totally drunk, just a little pissed. All you need is a 10-minute nap and voilà, a slurp of rosé wine and I feel as fresh as a daisy! I have to admit that when I start counting, doctors start worrying.”
I would reply: No, my friend, you’re right. You don’t drink like a normal person at all.
You drink like an alcoholic.
Don’t be afraid to reach out – you never know how amazing it can be,