Friday, May 4, 2012

Little Girl Lost: Drew Barrymore

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At first glance, the name Drew Barrymore may still be associated with the wide-eyed giggly, innocent child that lit up the screen in E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial, but in reality, Drew’s life fell into a continuous downward spiral only a few years after the movie was released. On the surface, people might blame Hollywood for her troubles insecurity, drug and alcohol addiction, but she openly admits that acting was actually her saving grace throughout the difficult times in her life. With a long history of drug and alcohol addiction in the Barrymore family, much of the media and tabloid headings had no problem understanding why Drew fell into a self-destructive state, but in Little Girl Lost, Drew Barrymore, with the assistance of Todd Gold, (staff correspondent for People magazine), explains the causes of her addiction and her struggle to over come it.

Drew Blythe Barrymore was born on February , 175 at Bottman Memorial Hospital in Culver City, California. Her mother, Ildyko Jaid Barrymore had chosen the name Drew before she was born to be used if the baby was male or female. Drew’s father, John Barrymore Jr., (who was a well-known actor at one point in his life), left Drew and her mother before Drew was even born. In fact, the earliest memory Drew has of her father is him breaking into her mother’s home and throwing them both into a wall while trying to steal a bottle of tequila. Fortunately, Drew and her mother were not hurt; but sadly, this memory has stayed with Drew for her entire life.

Drew’s insecurities began at a very young age, and began with the loss of her father. She always longed for an authoritative male figure in her life, but the closest she came to having one were encounters such as this with her drunken, abusive father. This is also where Drew’s resentment for her mother began. Drew held a grudge deep inside because her mother had failed to supply a replacement for her father. She had failed to find a mate who could provide Drew with the paternal affection she so desperately needed.

When Drew was just a baby, her mother took her to an audition for Gaines puppy food. While Drew was waiting for the director to say “action”, the puppy that was to be in the commercial came up and bit Drew in the nose. Everyone in the room froze, fearing her response and a possible law suit, but even then, free-spirited Drew threw her head back and began to laugh. She landed the part in the commercial, and so started the acting career of Drew Barrymore. When Drew was only six years old, she landed the part of “Gerdie” in one of the biggest movies of all time, E.T., The Extra Terrestrial.

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In light of her sudden stardom, Drew began to go to late night Hollywood parties with her mother. Drew would stay up all night and go to school each morning. Besides complete exhaustion, the Hollywood night-life brought upon many other harmful changes in Drew’s young life. She began to smoke cigarettes at only nine years of age. Driving in a car with her friend’s mother after a late-night party, Drew experienced marijuana for the first time at only ten years old. After this, Drew began to smoke marijuana regularly, but after a year or so, she was tired of the same “high” feeling she experienced from smoking marijuana, and by the time that Drew was twelve years old, she was addicted to cocaine. Drew craved that drug more than anything else in her life, and threw everything else aside. Her relationship with her mother went from loving to almost non-existent. The only time her and her mother would speak is when they were arguing. Drew and Jaid would constantly scream at each other over anything and everything. After putting up with Drew’s destructive behavior and rapid mood swings for almost a year, Drew’s mother finally forced her to go to a rehabilitation center.

At ASAP Rehabilitation Center, Drew endured group therapy, and family therapy once a week with her mother. As time went on, and therapy progressed, Drew and her mother finally came to terms with their feelings towards each other. Drew edured a great share of ridicule while at ASAP. Many of the other patients would mock her because of her fame. Despite plenty of urges and desire, Drew only relapsed one time over the course of the two years she spent at the rehab. At the age of fifteen, Drew was released from ASAP and decided to move out of her mother’s house, despite the fact that they were finally making progress with their relationship. However, Drew no longer resented her mother. Drew’s life was finally coming together.

During the time Drew spent at the ASAP Rehabilitation Center, she tried very hard not to let the press know of her troubles. However, after leaving ASAP, she realized that her efforts had failed. Finally, the story had come out. Headlines read “E.T.’s Little Girl Addicted to Cocaine and Booze!”. Drew was hurt beyond belief, but she refused to fall back into the self-destructive pattern that had comforted her insecurities before. Instead, she decided to let the media, and the world, know the truth of her addiction by writing Little Girl Lost.

In Little Girl Lost, Drew Barrymore presents the reader with brutal honesty. She explains, “I’m not a miracle-worker. I’m not someone special. Whatever I’ve accomplished has been through hard-work, tears, pain, love, and more hard work.” The general theme of her book is just that. In her autobiography, Drew proves that she can write as well as she can act. Little Girl Lost is truly a remarkable confession of one girl’s fears and insecurities growing up in a hectic world. Although Drew Barrymore has overcome her addiction, no one knows what the future may hold, but as Drew says herself, “All I can do is the best I can”, and that is true for all of us, whether we are famous Hollywood actresses or not.

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