Line One: Hollywood

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We've now passed the 28th day of post-election, court-ordered confusion. In Hollywood, this is considered a milestone, for  "28 days" refers to the standard four-week stay usually required by drug treatment centers. Talk to any number of celebrities, from Matthew Perry to Liza Minnelli, and mention that number, and they they're likely to have a Pavlovian response, like chain-smoking or blaming a parent. It's such a familiar milestone that last year one of our major studios used it as the name of a movie. Sony's  "28 Days" starred Sandra Bullock as a party girl battling addictions, an unsupportive boyfriend and a weak script.

More recently Hollywood has turned its attention to recovery because of the high-profile substance-battling of two of its own, Robert Downey Jr. and Melanie Griffith. For Bob (as his friends call him) and Melanie (who vacuumed topless in  "Working Girl"), the world is one big meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Here's Downey on the cover of  Details discussing his hard road to recovery and sounding optimistic, several weeks prior to his arrest once again on drug-related charges on Nov. 25. Here's Griffith, detailing her recovery from "pain pills" in  Melanie's Recovery Journal on her web site,  "I feel so incredible! My energy level is awesome." Something is wrong.

It's a tradition among stars to go public with their recovery, and in fact they can hardly avoid it; Downey's drug abuse became news after his run-ins with the law. In the interest of full disclosure, TIME is among the many publications who've offered him a chance to tell his story since going to prison. But these past few years, Downey hasn't served himself by discussing his addictions and recovery every time he's been sober for a few weeks. It's called Alcoholics Anonymous for a reason: Going public with one's recovery, especially in the beginning, adds to the pressure to stay sober. The lingering fear of disappointing family, friends and colleagues is heightened when the world's watching. Griffith is raising the stakes on her own sobriety every day she adds a journal entry to her web site, which, by the way, also sells dresses and "goddess beads." The recovery journal seems like nothing more than an enticing come-on to a New Age-y online shopping experience.

When I read about a celebrity's failure to stay sober, I think of the addict out there who's reading the same thing and giving up hope. And I sometimes wonder if sobriety does anyone any good unless you can use it to help sell your junk on the Internet. And so I make myself feel better by going on and ordering some goddess beads. I don't know long delivery will be, but I'm sure it's something less than 28 days.