When many see actor Michael Wright in person, he says people try to quote lines from some of their favorite characters. Michael Wright is best known for his role as Eddie Kane, Jr. in the 1991 Robert Townsend film The Five Heartbeats. Wright has been seen on the small screen as well in a number of shows including the 1983 NBC science fiction miniseries V, “Miami Vice”, and on the 1997 HBO series Oz as Omar White.
Many of Wrights characters have been burdened with some type of substance abuse. His ability to play these characters with pinpoint accuracy is sometimes uncanny. But is that art imitating life or vice versa?
When asked what it takes to play characters like this, Wright draws on his own experiences,”What makes drugs and alcohol appealing to those in show business? Is it the feeling that it gives you? Is it the effect of being ‘ready’ for anything? As schedules are jam packed and appearances are many, there seems to be a need for some type of mojo in order to cope with it all.”
So how does one “cope” without becoming dependent on substances? Here a few tips:
1. Truth – Don’t lie. It is better not to lie by trying to make up some excuse like “no I just had some” because that will just lead the person peer pressuring you into their next sells pitch. Those who pressure you will usually arrive at the truth eventually, and if they don’t, they often will cause you to do something you wouldn’t normally do just so you can make your lie more believable.
2. Stand apart – There is no quicker way to make it clear that you are a follower than to use a drug that they know you are only trying because you pressured them to try it. People will respect you far more if you stand apart and blaze your own trail.
3. Friends - Know who your true friends are: If your friends don’t respect your ability to live by your own standards, then those aren’t people you want to be friends with. True friends don’t pressure you to conform to their ways.
4. Worth - Know your worth. Keep repeating it or have it written down somewhere, so what when temptation arises, you will remember who you are and who you don’t have to try to be.
5. Family - Work on improving communication with your family and friends: Many people turn to drugs as a way to cope with issues that related to their family and friends. It is important that you find someone to talk to. If you are having issues with your mom, talk to a friend. If you are having issues with a friend, talk to your mom. Talk to somebody because you don’t want to go through your struggles alone, and you certainly don’t want to go through them with drugs. Also, remember mediation, mentoring and counseling are always better alternatives to drug use.