Star at Pentagon Anti-drug Observance Tells of Alcohol Addiction, Recovery
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2003 Actress Lynda Carter may have been superhuman when she starred as Wonder Woman of the hit 1970s television series, but her super powers were no match against the evils of alcohol abuse.
Lynda Carter, star of the 1970's TV series "Wonder Woman," tells Pentagon employees about her years of addiction to alcohol during the Red Ribbon Week observance at the Pentagon Oct. 27. Red Ribbon Week is an anti-drug event held at the Pentagon each year to educate individuals, families and communities on the destructive effects of drugs, while highlighting the positive alternatives available. The observance at the Pentagon's main concourse began Oct. 27 and continues through Oct. 29. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
During a ceremony marking the Pentagon's 13th Annual Red Ribbon Week observance, Carter explained how she fought alcohol addiction to regain control of her life.
Red Ribbon Week is an anti-drug event held at the Pentagon each year to educate individuals, families and communities on the destructive effects of drugs, while highlighting the positive alternatives available. The observance at the Pentagon's main concourse began Oct. 27 and continues through Oct. 29.
Carter told the audience she had a disease, a "genetic predisposition" for alcohol, "that sort of grabbed hold of me," she said. "It was like staring into a deep, dark hole that I thought no one would understand or still love me if I ever admitted it or (if) the public ever knew about this very shameful part of my life. My family suffered and I was very good at hiding my problem."
To deal with her addiction, Carter said she went into recovery at a residential treatment facility in Maryland. There, she said, she was determined to learn about her disease.
"I was going to treat it as an education. I was going to find out what was wrong with me that my steel will and my self-discipline as evidenced by my previous accomplishments was not working for me."
Carter said part of her treatment was discovering that she was "not alone" in her addiction. "You're not alone if you are one of the victims of these terrible addictions," she added. "And I don't think that there is a person who hasn't gone through this that ever would have chosen it for themselves."
She said education, support and God were her keys to overcoming her addiction.
Now in her sixth year of recovery, Carter said her life is "incredibly beautiful, more than I could ever have dreamed six years ago." She encouraged Defense Department personnel to keep up the fight against drug abuse, noting that the anti-drug programs exhibited during Red Ribbon Week are helping those with drug and alcohol addictions.
"Every effort that you make to confront someone in your life, encourage him or her to seek help, because you can't do it alone," she said. "And all these programs that you're doing are helping those people. Certainly it's education that keeps kids away" from drugs.
Kyle Daly, 15, of DeMatha High School, believes that message.
Daly, a member of the Naval Sea Cadets Corps an organization that, in conjunction with the Navy, teaches youths self-reliance through seagoing skill training, and which also provides them an environment free of drugs, gangs, and violence -- said he appreciated what Carter and the Pentagon are doing to teach young people about drugs.
"They're doing a great job for this country," he said. "Being in school, students get so much pressure, but when they see how many people are getting together to make sure they don't do drugs, maybe they will realize just how bad drugs are."