Bravo: Watching stars deal with sobriety is about as real as it gets

THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK CITY, Tinsley Mortimer, Leah McSweeney (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/Bravo)
THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK CITY, Tinsley Mortimer, Leah McSweeney (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/Bravo) /

We should be proud of those sharing their struggles with alcohol and addition on Bravo because you never know who it could inadvertently help.

Glamour posted an article this week titled “Getting Sober on Bravo, as Told by Leah, Lala, and Braunwyn.”  This took a deeper look into the lives of TheReal Housewives of New York’s Leah McSweeney, Vanderpump Rule’s Lala Kent, and The Real Housewives of Orange County’s Braunwyn Windham-Burke, all of which have chosen to get sober while on Bravo.  In addition to just being on Bravo, they’ve also shared their stories in the hopes that it might impact someone else in a positive way.

Lala dealt with the realization that she might have an issue with alcohol after her father passed away a few years back.  While watching her friend and fellow Vanderpump Rules castmate, James Kennedy, go through the same thing, the pair eventually both got sober.  James recently celebrated one year of sobriety, while Lala will be at two years near the end of the month.  Of course, she is pregnant now and expecting her first child sometime at the start of next year.

Leah joined the cast of RHONY this season and was tossed into a world of alcohol, menopause, and Ramona Singer.  While Luann de Lesseps was taking a break from alcohol at the start of the season, she slowly dipped her toe back into the vodka pond as time went on.  Leah got a little wild on the trips and rubbed Ramona the wrong way, but who doesn’t rub Ramona the wrong way?

But on the most recent episode of RHOC, Braunwyn came out and said, “For the first time I can say, ‘Hi, my name is Braunwyn, and I’m an alcoholic.’”  This, of course, came as a total shock to viewers even though we had seen her partying a little too hard during her first season.

Glamour interviewed Ryan Flynn, the senior vice president of current production at Bravo, who said, “the sense of freedom and honesty outweighs any downside,” referring to sharing Braunwyn’s secret on air.  And they have a point.  It is emotional and scary to talk about, but that’s what so many viewers and people usually deal with alone.  Seeing your favorite reality TV star admit to everyone that they, too, have a problem with drinking?  Talk about relatable.

Braunwyn spoke to Below Deck’s Captain Sandy Yawn about her decades of sobriety at one point.   When asked if it was possible to do it while being on a show such as RHOC, Sandy said, “Absolutely, but you need to own it on the show. You need to be accountable, otherwise, you’re going to drink again.”  So, that’s what she did.

“When I first got sober, I was scared I wouldn’t be fun anymore, that my life was going to be boring,” Braunwyn commented.  And that’s true for many of the people who deal with such issues.  Is a life without alcohol boring?  But, is a life full of unhappiness and drinking any less boring?  We put stars such as Braunwyn, Lala, and Leah on this pedestal and tell them to be fun, entertaining, and memorable – but at what cost?

Being a Real Housewife isn’t always about expensive cars and $25,000 sunglasses.  There’s room for real stuff too, like struggles with addiction.  And you know what is more relatable than $25,000 sunglasses?  Alcoholism.  Drug use.  Addition of any kind.  So if viewers aren’t ready for this kind of honesty, perhaps the problem is within the viewer.  Watching and learning about other people’s experiences with addiction is about as real as it gets.

Related Story. RHOC: Braunwyn Windham-Burke’s secret took a lot of courage to share. light

We are all proud of anyone who has the courage to share their story, or just to venture into the world of sobriety.  If that’s you – keep up the good work!  You’re doing great, sweetie.

The Real Housewives of Orange County is on Bravo every Wednesday at 9 PM.