Celebrities are exposed to a lot of alcohol and drugs. Many alcohol and drugs are consumed at premieres, events and parties. Some of these celebrities started drinking and using drugs because of trauma, troubled relationships, the pressure put on them to perform, suddenly being in the spotlight and all the attention they will get or because it started innocently and eventually became an addiction. These celebrities won their battle from addiction and shared their stories.
1. ELTON JOHN
The famous hit singer celebrates his 30 years of sobriety this year. His cocaine addiction began in the early 1970s. He began to use it to overcome his shyness. But after years of using, shyness wasn’t the problem anymore: “So, it started out by making me talk to everyone and then ended up by me isolating myself alone with it, which is the end of the world.”
After 16 years of using drugs and alcohol, he met the AIDS-infected Ryan White. Ryan was the spark that helped Elton recover from his addictions and he founded his AIDS foundation. After Ryan’s death, he became sober and after 29 years, he still is. He even has sponsored Eminem. He shared on his Instagram last year: “I finally summoned up the courage to say 3 words that would change my life: ‘I need help’. Thank-you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety. I am eternally grateful.”
2. DEMI LOVATO
The American singer and actress is very open about her past, her struggles with addiction and eating disorder and her life in sobriety. Demi grew up with a father who was addicted to alcohol, causing the family to fall apart. At a young age, she became known in several series and grew up in the public eye. In high school, she was bullied, had struggles with body acceptance, and at the age of 17, she came into contact with alcohol and drugs. Although she knew the dangers, as she saw her father, she still enjoyed it. At the age of 19, she got sober and lived a sober life of 6 years. With time her eating disorder got worse and led her back into a relapse. After being hospitalized due to an overdose in 2018, she checked into rehab and is completely sober again. ”Everybody has their path in recovery. For me it’s about going to therapy, working my program and having an honest relationship with myself and the people around me”.
3. RUSSEL BRAND
Russel Brand is an award-winning comedian, actor, bestselling author and a passionate activist for mental health and drug rehabilitation. He is very famous in the recovery community and is 17 years in recovery.
Russell brand told in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that his personal struggle with drink and alcohol stemmed from his childhood when he felt “unhappy, lonely and a little sad.
His parents were divorced early on in his life and he grew up alone with his mother. At fourteen, he created a “food problem”, bulimia nervosa, in which he ate compulsively. He had a porn addiction before he started doing drugs. When he was sixteen he left his house where he lived with his mother and started experimenting with drugs. Since he was nineteen he has been an addict. After using different kinds of drugs like cannabis, amphetamine, LSD and ecstasy, he became dependent on drugs to function after starting using heroin, it went downhill and he hit rock bottom, ”the heroin took over my life”. In December 2002 he got clean and sober. Nowadays he helps and inspires addicts and people in recovery with his books and podcasts.
“There’s an assumption that 12-step recovery is for addicts and alcoholics — and that is indeed how I found my way into the program. But what is also true is that 12-step recovery is for everyone.”
4. BEN AFFLECK
The 47-year-old Oscar-winning actor, writer and director Ben Affleck were in the news a lot for his alcohol consumption and multiple recordings in rehabs. Growing up in a family where addiction is a common thread, he also realized to seek help in 2001. His father was an alcoholic, his parental grandmother took her life at the age of 46, his uncle committed suicide with a shotgun and an aunt was a heroin addict. After his first admission for alcohol treatment in 2001 he started drinking again after a while, he found it hard to accept that he was an alcoholic. He also dealt with depression and anxiety since the age of 26. After his divorce from Jennifer Gardner in 2015, which hit him hard, was painful and disappointing in himself, he started drinking again on a daily basis. He knew he needed help because he didn’t want his children to grow up with a father who was an addict. “I really don’t want my children to pay for my sins”. In 2017 and 2018 he sought for help again and spent 40 days in rehab and has been sober since the end of 2018.
“You’re trying to make yourself feel better with eating or drinking or sex or gambling or shopping or whatever. But that ends up making your life worse. Then you do more of it to make that discomfort go away. Then the real pain starts. It becomes a vicious cycle you can’t break. That’s at least what happened to me.”
5. ANTHONY HOPKINS
The 82-year-old Oscar-winning actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, known from the movie Silence of the Lambs is sober for 45 years. He suffered from alcohol addiction. He started his career in the theatre and that’s where the abuse of alcohol started. In an interview, he said “Because that’s what you do in theatre, you drink. I was very difficult to work with, as well, because I was usually hungover.”
He also indicated that as a little boy he grew up an uptight loner who was bullied and not all that bright when it came to his studies. He even admitted he went into theater because “he had nothing better to do.”
In 1975 a woman addressed him from the Alcoholics Anonymous and asked him “why don’t you just trust in God? These words changed his life and the urge to drink was gone and he never touched alcohol again. He’s very grateful that he could stop drinking. “I still cannot believe that my life is what it is because I should have died in Wales, drunk or something like that.” The actor has been knighted for services to the arts and is still acting.
But I look at it, and I think, “What a great blessing that was, because it was painful.” I did some bad things. But it was all for a reason, in a way. And it’s strange to look back and think, “God, I did all those things?” But it’s like there’s an inner voice that says, “It’s over. Done. Move on.”
6. TARA CONNOR
The former Miss USA 2006 suffered from silent addiction from the age of 14. She experienced major traumas at an early age. Tara survived incest by her uncle at the age of three, her parents had a rocky relationship and alcoholism and mental health issues were very present in her family. When she was 14, her parents divorced, her grandfather died a short time after which she felt very lonely. To feel better and to belong to something, she started drinking vodka at a cheerleader camp. A year later she also started taking morphine pills. Tara was crowned Miss USA in 2006. After testing positive for cocaine in December of that year, she checked into rehab and completed 30 days of treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. Since then, she has celebrated 13 years of sobriety.
Tara now uses her voice to raise awareness that addiction is a disease and that many people lead healthy and productive lives in recovery.
“It is so important to understand that addiction is a family disease. I have experienced this in my own family. But I’ve also learned that through treatment and recovery, you can break the cycle.”
7. ROBERT DOWNEY JR.
The Iron Man star has come a long and tumultuous way before he began his life in recovery. The first contact with drugs was at an early age. At the age of 5 he was already playing in movies and at the age of 6 his father, Robert Downey Sr., handed marijuana to the then young Robert Jr. Using drugs with his father was a kind of emotional bond for Robert Jr. and showing a sense of love from his father’s side the only way he could. His father was an addict and still regrets it. At the age of 8, he was already addicted and experimented with weed, alcohol and drugs. Things went downhill after he played a role in 1987 in the movie ‘Less than Zero’, in which he played a drug addict. ‘’The character was an exaggeration of myself. Then things changed and, in some ways, I became an exaggeration of the character.”
He first started using heroin in 1995 and although he acknowledged that he was losing control, he couldn’t stop it.
Between 1996 and 2001, he was arrested several times for being under the influence and possession of drugs and an unloaded gun. In 1997, he spent 6 months in prison, waking up twice in a pool of his own blood because of fights with fellow inmates.
In 1999 he had to spend another year in prison. After meeting his current wife and receiving help from Mel Gibson and others, he finally came to a turning point in his life. In July 2003 he threw his drugs away in the ocean and entered the 12 steps program. Since then he got sober. He describes defeating his addiction to come out of a 20-year coma.
“Remember that just because you hit bottom doesn’t mean you have to stay there”
8. JAMIE LEE CURTIS
The 40-year-old Freaky Friday actress Jamie Lee Curtis was addicted to the painkiller Vicodin. After surgery on her puffy eyes, in which she was prescribed Vicodin, she became addicted to this medicine. For more than 10 years, Jamie Lee was addicted but she managed to hide it well from everyone. Only the people from whom she could buy painkillers knew about it. I was a wildly controlled drug addict and alcoholic… Jamie Lee wasn’t the only one in the family who had to deal with an addiction. Her father struggled with alcohol, cocaine and heroin addiction, her brother died at the age of 21 after taking an overdose of heroin. She even took cocaine once with her father.
One night a friend found out that she was secretly taking 5 Vicodin together with a glass of wine and after stealing her sister’s painkillers from her suitcase she knew she needed help. She read an article in Esquire in which Tom Chiarella told his story about his addiction to painkillers, Jamie Lee felt for the first time that she was not alone. The article inspired her to attend her first recovery meeting. That was about 20 years ago. She’s been sober ever since. Now she’s very open about her addiction and life in recovery. She attends recovery meetings all over the world and when she is shooting a movie she even turns her trailer into a recovery meeting point.
“I’m breaking the cycle that has basically destroyed the lives of generations in my family. Getting sober remains my single greatest accomplishment… bigger than my husband, bigger than both of my children and bigger than any work, success, failure. Anything.”
9. SUGAR RAY LEONARD
Sugar Ray Leonard, the famous boxer, celebrates his 14th year in sobriety this year. He has many great victories to his name but the fight with cocaine and alcohol is his biggest fight ever. In the 80’s he enjoyed everything that came with the fame. The attention, the people he met, the parties and the big money. So began his abuse of cocaine and alcohol.
In his autobiography, he talks openly about his abuse of drugs and alcohol and about the traumas he dealt with. He even tells about the fact that he was sexually abused by a coach while in the amateurs, something that has haunted him all his life and is part of the reason he turned to alcohol and drugs. After he had stopped using cocaine twice before to prepare for big fights, he managed to stop altogether after his big fight against Marvin Hagler. But he didn’t manage to stop consuming alcohol and ended up losing his marriage to his first wife. He found it difficult to call himself an alcoholic, after going to AA meetings and identifying with the other people in the room, he admitted he was an alcoholic.
One of the main reasons to stop using alcohol was because he wanted his parents to see him sober again before they died. That was in July 2006. Now he is very open about his fight with alcohol and cocaine and about his life in recovery. He hopes to inspire others to stop too and seek the help they need.
“My story is not a sad story. I had an illustrious boxing career, wonderful wives, marvelous family, but I’m just fixing myself. I can finally put my guard down now.”
10. DAVINA MCCALL
The 52-year-old television presenter has been in recovery for over 25 years. She fought anorexia as a teenager and then became a cocaine, heroin and alcohol addict for six years.
She had a messy childhood, grown-up by her grandparents. She didn’t have a healthy mother/daughter relationship, which eventually resulted in the use of drugs together. From the age of 18 to 24, she used all kinds of drugs. She was full of self-hate, and took drugs because she didn’t want to feel ”normal”. She ended up in hospital after a drug overdose. She had lost all her good friends and the drugs almost made her bankrupt.
Her only best friend, her father, and her stepmother helped her come to terms with her addiction and that it was a case of “cleaning up or dying” at her lowest point. Then she decided she needed to seek help and participated in NA meetings. After a year of attending NA meetings, she became clean and has never used drugs or drunk alcohol since.
Because she got clean, she got new opportunities and got the job she always dreamed of presenting. She became a household name when she presented Big Brother.
Now she hopes to raise awareness for mental health and addiction, as she says “There is no such thing as a lost cause.”
‘’The best thing about overcoming my addiction is just relationships. With yourself, your family, with strangers on the street and how people react with you. It’s a miracle. Your whole life is incomparable.”
Villa Paradiso Spain – Individual Rehab Center Marbella
Villa Paradiso Spain is an individual alcohol, drugs and mental health rebab in the area of Marbella, on the Costa del Sol. We pride ourselves in providing effective treatments to people that have an on-going struggle with alcohol, (prescription) drugs, eating disorders and other forms of addicitons and or mental health issues.
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