Global musical phenomenon John Taylor, the co-founder and bassist of Duran Duran — and today a critically acclaimed author — was honored with Writers In Treatment’s Experience, Strength and Hope Award on Friday night during a celebratory evening hosted by Writers In Treatment with support from New Directions for Women.
Actor Robert Downey Jr presented the award to his friend Taylor. Host Ed Begley Jr., headline performer Bobcat Goldthwait, actress Ione Skye and singer Divina also paid tribute to Taylor during the starry event held at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
The Experience, Strength and Hope Award is given to well-known individuals who have written courageous and honest memoirs about their journey from addiction to recovery. Past honorees include astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Academy Award winning actor Louis Gossett, Jr. Taylor’s memoir In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death & Duran Duran, tells of his upbringing in Birmingham, England, his years with Duran Duran, and his road to recovery.
“John, you wear your transformation like a loose garment,” said Robert Downey, Jr., as he presented the award to Taylor, “not like the tight spandex you wore 19 years ago. Thank you for being the artist, the example and the writer that you are. You know I love you.”
“In some ways my life didn’t really start until I got sober,” said Taylor in his acceptance speech. “My recovery isn’t incidental, it’s a guiding force of my book.”
Actor Ed Begley, Jr. served as emcee for the evening, which featured a performance by actor-comedian-director Bobcat Goldthwait. Actress Ione Skye thanked the evening’s sponsors, who included Alcohol Justice, Aspen Education Group and Sierra Tucson, Balboa Horizons, Betty Ford Center, Bridges to Recovery, Cirque Lodge, Coast to Coast Computer Products, Design for Living, Desert Palms Recovery, Dungarees, Hightower Intervention Services, Inspirations Youth, New Directions for Women, Newport Academy, Orchard Recovery, Opiates.com, Phoenix House, and Rally 2 Recovery. Singer Divina performed a selection of Duran Duran’s hits, including “Red Carpet Massacre,” “Hungry Like a Wolf,” and “Save a Prayer.”
Writers In Treatment Founder Leonard Buschel said of the event, “When you have over 375 sparkling and healthy people celebrating individuals who have triumphantly overcome their battles with addiction, and Bobcat Goldthwait is being funnier than God, the event transcends the visual, and becomes about the feeling of the heart, which is love.”
During the evening, Buschel was himself presented with the Friends of Recovery Award by Dona Dmitrovic and Tom Hill on behalf of Faces & Voices of Recovery in Washington, D.C. The award honors Buschel for his creation of the REEL Recovery Film Festival (Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Vancouver).
Among the other guests in attendance were Taylor’s wife Gela Nash-Taylor, co-founder of Juicy Couture, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, actress Joanna Cassidy from Body of Proof, musician and actor Michael Des Barres, Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, James T. Moorhead, publisher and founder of RenewEveryDay.com, Maer Roshan, founder of The Fix and Radar, and Kurtwood Smith from That ’70s Show.
Writers In Treatment produces and presents culturally significant events dedicated to improving the quality of recovery by reducing stigmas associated with alcoholism and addiction. The organization believes it’s important for people in recovery, and those on the cusp, to have entertaining and culturally stimulating events that inspire enthusiasm for clean and sober living.
The charity event is a celebration of the benefits of clean and sober living and the importance of humor in the recovery process. All proceeds benefit Writers In Treatment’s Jewelle Sturm Memorial Scholarship Fund.