Step 3: Submit to a credible sponsor

DIY rehabilitations happen now and again. But most fallen human beings need a way-finder. During your retreat, see if you can enlist a sponsor. NFL star Michael Vick was lucky to recruit former NFL coach Tony Dungy, a man of impeccable morality, to guide him back into our good graces after a dogfighting conviction and trip to prison. A credible sponsor gives the fallen a way to signal the sincerity of his efforts at rehabilitation and restitution.

So far, none of the high-profile accused has taken this step. But it can work. In Hollywood, Jodie Foster helped cure Mel Gibson’s pariahhood. Robert Downey Jr. relied on his wife, producer Susan Levin, to do the same. Mark Halperin’s journalism partner John Heilemann would be the obvious candidate for Halperin’s restoration. Brian Williams could intervene with Matt Lauer (remember Lauer’s interview with Williams when he was shamed for his fabulist turns?). Tina Fey could work with Al Franken. I don’t know how credible a sponsor I would be, but I’d be humbled to be part of the reintegration of my friend Michael Oreskes into professional life.