Hollywood celebrities began arriving at the posh Beverly Hills L’Ermitage Hotel to walk the red carpet of an Emmy party co-sponsored by My 12 Step Store. Only hours before, the store had moved from Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood to Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.
Invited celebrities brought their star power to raise awareness for various charities. Some showed their support by designing t-shirts that would be auctioned off for charity. My 12 Step Store set the tone by shining a positive light on the world of recovery, hoping to increase recovery awareness among people in all walks of life. Hollywood familiars, such as Eric McCormack, Jane Kaczmarek, James Woods and Adrian Grenier, along with famed attorney Gloria Allred, stepped onto the red carpet.
My 12 Step Store caters to anyone interested in recovery – from the most famous to the most infamous. Lindsay Lohan once ran into the store to shop and hide from the chasing paparazzi. Rock ‘n’ Roll legend, Steven Tyler, stopped by to design a t-shirt on his way to his own concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Other celebrities drop in during times of personal crisis.
The store has occasionally found itself smack in the middle of a media frenzy over celebrities who are looking for positive recovery support. The world seems eager to know about their shopping habits and the salacious details of their pre-recovery lives.
During an Entertainment Tonight interview, RJ Holguin, founder of My 12 Step Store, explained, “We respect the anonymity of everyone’s recovery. We never divulge names with Twelve Step program information at the level of press, radio or film. If they choose to do so, it’s their choice. We have to keep our journey on the high road.”
Holguin admitted, “It’s a fine line, but it is possible to enthusiastically celebrate recovery without saying anything about your Twelve Step program or even if you belong to one. It’s important to bring awareness to the life that’s possible in recovery. Whether we like it or not, society is influenced by Hollywood celebrities. Many have been affected by addiction, as well as the industry’s well-known tragic deaths from drug overdoses. I, myself, was influenced to consider recovery in 1986 and then to continue with it when I heard of the Hollywood celebrities checking into the Betty Ford Clinic.”
While the store has a significant celebrity clientele, most of its customers are everyday people. Holguin pointed out that much of their business comes from their online store which ships recovery gifts, books and other items worldwide.
“This year we are celebrating our eleventh year of being in business. One of our goals has been to keep the doors open for all kinds of people to celebrate all kinds of recovery – from the young and edgy to mom and dad.” Holguin, clean and sober for over 28 years, explained, “We surrender and let the sunlight of the spirit shine on our love and service.”
Holquin went on to say, “We don’t always get to choose how that will be done or who comes knocking at the door, but I do know how to answer the door. I know miracles when I experience them. I’m grateful for all miracles, from our supportive customers to our employees, the amazing men and woman who put their talent and service into running our store.”
“Yes, we have some high-profile guests who attract attention, but we love all our customers.” He went on to explain, “No one person can represent recovery. We simply do not judge. We can’t control the emotionally-charged reactions both the famous and the not-so-famous have during recovery. If we mention a celebrity name, we are not confirming or denying that they belong to a Twelve Step program. However, stars such as Mackenzie Phillips and Steve-O openly lend their names or their books to support recovery charities and rehabs.”
When I asked Holguin how the store handles the controversy about its racy t-shirts and slogans, he admitted, “Sometimes with tears. The store is like a child to me. I remember not to take things personally and live in the Steps.”
“We are real people; and recovery is about being happy, joyous and free. We are not a glum lot, nor saints. It’s progress rather than perfection. I got sober at 24 years of age. Nowadays, kids are getting sober even earlier. I’ve seen too much death as a result of addiction.
If saying or having the f-word or a racy joke on a shirt is part of your recovery to make it fun for you, I say, ‘Go for it!’”
“We are all miracles and as some like to say, f—ing miracles.”