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Kathie Lee Gifford: Blames Addiction On Parents

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Anybody can be insensitive. We all are prone, from time to time, to speak our opinions before thinking through what exactly the consequences will be. In personal relationships, insensitivity can breed offense and hostility. On a bigger stage, insensitivity can incite a public backlash, often changing the complexion of mass opinion. This is exactly the situation trending currently with Kathie Lee Gifford, co-host of NBC’s Today morning show.

Kathie Lee “Gaffe” ford?

Kathie Lee has been a popular figure through the last several decades; she is a celebrity who invokes the affection of millions of people with her morning news magazine show. It does seem that there has been a progression of insensitive missteps occurring recently (e.g. Martin Short interview), revealing serious deficiencies in a supposed role model and spokeswomen for so many women emulating Kathie Lee’s vivacious personality and stable family life. It is her recent interview on her family life, parenting in particular, that has caused a negative backlash in the world of those families struggling with loved ones suffering from the disease of addiction.

In the upcoming September 2012 Family Circle interview, Kathy Lee comments on her own drinking and parenting. She says that because her kids “haven’t been arrested, in rehab or kicked out of school [she] must have done something right.” The equating of good parenting and the up-until-now probity of Kathy Lee’s kids has drawn serious ire from people, especially parents, holding a different opinion. Another disconnect has been Kathie Lee’s statement about not being an alcoholic while drinking alcohol regularly during her morning show to “create the illusion of a party.” Is portraying a drinking party in the morning a good thing, or worthy to emulate?

While it may be tempting to speculate on the myopic and ignorant statements made by Gifford, the real issue is raising awareness to the insensitivity and at times cavalier attitude held by those who have never had to deal with the tragic truth of addiction and substance abuse. Prevention also can not be simply chalked up to a good upbringing or a sheltered childhood. Likewise, gratitude for escaping or avoiding affliction should be a humble response to the unknowable future and the circumstances that come with it. Regret for past mistakes can induce hopelessness and helplessness. Past mistakes are actually didactic functions in people’s lives; they are learning experiences that should point to the fact that facilities, addiction treatment programs, and other entities exist solely to help people find the strength and freedom to escape the bondage of drug and alcohol abuse.

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