Artie Lange’s addictions nearly killed him, but the portly comic came back to write his haunting memoir Crash and Burn.
The book reveals the depths of Lange’s heroin battles, his misplaced rage against those who tried to save him and how he emerged clean and mostly sober to write a new chapter in life.
Readers can take five critical lessons away from Lange’s book:
- You Gotta Have Faith: Lange isn’t a model Christian given his extreme appetites. Still, he says surviving his addictions left him with a strong faith in God. The comic, best known for his stint on The Howard Stern Show, may be an unlikely spiritual source, but his expression of faith reads as both sincere and profound.
- Addicts Lie … Even to Themselves: Nearly four years ago Lange took a knife and stabbed himself nine times, a shocking act he describes in great detail in the book. Lange explains the surreal reasoning behind the led up to the stabbings, a desperate act he claimed wasn’t meant to end his life. Later, in the book’s afterward, he confesses the stabbings were a suicide attempt. He couldn’t even confess the truth while writing his own memoir.
- Addicts Never Fully Recover: Lange admits in the final pages of his book that he’ll always have the hunger, the need to gamble with anything–including his life. It’s a sobering message to wrap an otherwise inspirational story, a reminder that those dealing with addiction often battle their demons indefinitely.
- Good Guys Gather for Artie: We often hear horror stories about Hollywood stars, their hypocritical stances, insulting rhetoric and public high jinks. Crash and Burn reveals several stars, including Howard Stern, Norm Macdonald and conservative funny man Nick DiPaolo, who did all they could to help Lange overcome his addictions. Their loyalty and willingness to help a friend in need deserves applause.
- Addicts Need Unconditional Support … or Consequences: Stern refused to fire Lange even though he repeatedly fell asleep on the job. Celebrity pals rallied to Lange’s side over and again, even though he continually disappointed them. Perhaps if Lange had been canned from Stern’s show he might have reached rock bottom sooner, or perhaps he would have found the strength necessary to regain his sobriety. Modern medicine still struggles to understand the intricacies of addiction, but casual readers may wonder if Lange’s friends enabled his worst behavior–even if their intentions were noble.