IN THE BAD OLD DAYS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A LOST WEEKED. INSTEAD IT was San Pellegrino and fruit juice for 12-steppers including Rob Lowe, Dennis Hopper, James Taylor and Larry Gatlin. Along with such cheerleaders as Jimmy Buffett and Randy Quaid, they converged on Tucson’s Loews Ventana Canyon Resort on Oct. 24 to eat prime rib, play golf and celebrate sobriety in a three-day rehab reunion billed as the Ringo Starr Celebrity Weekend. Hosted by Starr (who kicked drugs and alcohol in 1988), the decidedly ’90s event raised about $20000 for the Sierra Tucson Foundation, which helps substance; abusers fool the bill for detox programs.
At Saturday’s $1,000-a-plate dinner—capped by Starr, Taylor and Buffett singing “With a Little Help from My Friends”—the talk was about the joys of playing it straight. “My life has changed in ways I never thought possible,” said Lowe, who has more than two years of sobriety under his belt. “I was lucky I could afford to get help.” Added Hopper, who entered rehab in 1983: “The way all of us were using drugs, you either cleaned up or went insane or died. I feel fortunate. A lot of my friends are dead. A lot never even saw 30.”
The mood was a bit lighter on Sunday, when a Western-theme dinner was followed by an auction that fetched $9,8000 for a guitar autographed by Keith Richards and $7,800 for an Arabian pony. On Monday a golf tourney pitted supporters like rodeo great Larry Mahan against squads that included duffer Starr and the Gatlins. Rudy Gatlin look the prize but declared, “Ringo’s the real winner. As far as I know, this is the first time he’s finished a round of golf.”