James Kennedy adds a lot to SUR with his DJ gig, See You Next Tuesday, and adds a lot to Vanderpump Rules with his antics. But after Katie Maloney-Schwartz gave Lisa Vanderpump an ultimatum — James or Katie — Lisa decided to fire James to show she stands with women. Katie's recovering from some body-image issues and if she wants to wear disco shorts, she's gonna wear disco shorts, dammit.
James admittedly has problems with alcohol, and has had periods of sobriety where we have seen his life drastically improve. But weighed down with the burden of caring for his mother, Jacqueline Georgiou, his father, and his brothers, James sometimes takes a dive into the black hole where he calls women fat and whores then wakes up to face Lisa's wrath and promises he won't be "naughty" any longer.
Then there's the situation with Lala Kent, James' former BFF; they joked around and made music together and appeared to be on the right track again (after James called Lala's man fat and then apologized, blaming it on the alcohol).
It's a dilemma for sure. James works hard and means well, then, well, next thing you know you're fat, your man's fat, and, poof, James has no job.
How can you give tough love but also not totally abandon someone you care about?
Sobriety coach Thomas McAlinden, who suffered from his own addiction for years and was able to get sober, now helps families in crisis due to a loved one’s alcohol or drug abuse, or other negative behaviors. He tells Personal Space that Lisa and Lala are now in a “delicate balancing act” while trying to practice tough love with James, but still be there for him.
“For example, with younger people who come from wealthy families, parents use tough love as a bargaining tool. They threaten to cut off the kids from the financial cord that sustains them,” McAlinden explained. Much like Lisa did by cutting off James’ job.
“Sometimes it’s effective, sometimes not,” he added. “ Most of these kids are not able to be self-sufficient and it can motivate them to get help.”
He said it’s incredibly hard for most people to make the decision to “cut off” or not talk to friends and family members who struggle with alcohol or drugs. “If the people who are cut off die from addiction, the guilt and regret the family members would have is immense,” McAlinden said, adding, “Not talking to an addict can push them over the edge into total hopelessness and despair. Sometimes it pushes them to reach out for help. Sometimes not.”
He urges those who are trying out tough love to reach out for help themselves as well, because an addict can hurt those close to themselves too, and Al-Anon can help friends and families.
“After years of living with an alcoholic or addict, friends and families get burnt out and exhausted,” McAlinden said. “My own family went through it. When I was 18 I found my older brother dead in bed from an overdose. He was 25. I didn’t get sober until I was 28.”
As for Lisa, if you’re the boss of someone who exhibits irresponsible drinking behavior, “you are in a very bad situation.”
“Especially if you’re on good terms with the person,” he noted. “Making the decision to terminate their employment must be difficult. But, sometimes losing a good job can be the final straw that gets someone to admit they need help."
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