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David Arquette Struggles to Break the Cycle


David Arquette is pleading for help ending the cycle of breakdown that caused the loss of his parents’ marriage, threatens to end his marriage to Courteney Cox, and may forever destroy his dreams for their daughter.

“I think one of the greatest things a man can do is to be a faithful, honest man. It’s not easy … it’s really important for a man to not make the same mistakes that their parent has made.”

~ David Arquette
February 14, 2010

Courteney Cox and David Arquette
Courteney Cox, David Arquette: Can he break the cycle?

by Seth Eisenberg

On his deathbed, David Arquette’s father said, “Your mother was the love of my life and I really wish I would have worked harder at that.” The actor spoke candidly about lessons he learned from his father in a conversation with the LA Times’ Irene Lacher last February.

2010 was a tough year for the 39-year-old actor well known for leading roles in more than a dozen films and celebrity champion for Feeding America.

Eight months after talking with Lacher about turning a new page in his career with a lead role in “The Female of the Species,” Arquette, 39, and his wife, Cougar star Courteney Cox, 46, announced they were calling time-out on their 11-year marriage.

Last month, Arquette talked on-air with Howard Stern about coping with the separation. “I’ve been drinking a lot,” he said. “It’s really a personal, traumatic thing.”

Two weeks later, Arquette entered rehab. “He is in there for drinking and depression, not hard drugs,” People magazine reported.  “He is dealing with a broken heart. He can’t handle all the changes in his life. All his inner demons came out.”

David Arquette, Courteney Cox and daughter, Coco
Happier times ahead for David Arquette, Courteney Cox and daughter, Coco, or dreams forever surrendered?

“This is the hardest thing anyone has to go through,” Arquette said. “You wake up and the reality hits you.”

Arquette added, “Courteney said she doesn’t want to be my mother. I kind of need a mother right now. I need a girl to come bring me some soup and make sure I’m all right. I like that, and I take care of my ladies, too.”

For many, rehab becomes a revolving door because it deals with the symptoms of people who are in emotional pain hurting themselves with drugs and alcohol without getting to the root cause. Effective treatment programs recognize bonding deprivation as a root cause of addictions. What most often leads to self-destructive addictions are circumstances in which adults are unable to get their needs for emotional and physical closeness met in healthy, stable relationships.

Treating addictions without helping people learn attitudes and behaviors vital to creating and sustaining intimacy offers little more than a short-term band-aid.

In his public statements, Arquette has pleaded for the chance not to repeat the choices his own father made that caused so much pain for his family.  Regardless of good intentions, the reality is that people choose from the options they know. For many, the tragedy is that even when they recognize the pain those choices caused, without skills training to learn new options, the cycle of despair is frequently passed on from generation to generation.

Relationship skills training offers a foundation for succeeding in rehab
Online preview of evidence-based relationship skills training that provides a foundation for overcoming addictions.

Evidence-based relationship skills training often provides the bridge to break the cycle of marriage and family breakdown. Emotional and social learning offers building blocks that extend the benefits of rehab through new options for sustaining love. Brief programs, such as PAIRS Foundation’s nine-hour Essentials training, has made a difference for veterans struggling to overcome the impact of traumatic combat experiences and many others searching for tools to reconnect with loved ones instead of losing each other.

While rehab may be a chance for David Arquette to reconnect with himself, it will be the couple’s ability to deeply reconnect with each other that will decide if their once cherished dreams for their marriage and daughter have a future.

Seth Eisenberg is President of the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation in Weston, Florida, an industry leader in relationship and marriage education.

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