20 years ago, addiction carried a stigma with it. Everyone tended to envision addicts as people who lived under bridges or in back alley ways of a big city. This stigma made it a lot harder for those who were in active addiction to admit that there even was an issue, especially because most people didn’t relate to the previous image of homelessness or crime. Without admitting that there was or could be an issue, the chances of that addict getting clean were almost non-existent.
Addiction has never discriminated, it doesn’t care what your background is, how much money is in your bank account, how old you are, where you come from, or how much your parents love you. It can affect anyone. With our society almost romanticizing addiction, drug use, and drinking, it can be hard to differentiate the reality from the false, until it is often too late.
With the start of the nationwide announcement of celebrity deaths back in the fifties and sixties with people like Judy Garland and Elvis Presley, more and more celebrities are coming out with their difficulties with addiction and recovery. It has started to become more understood and less taboo and these celebrities are using their platforms to spread a message of hope. The stigma slowly started to lift a little bit. Celebrities in recovery can give motivation to those who are in active addiction, it lets them know that they are not alone in their struggles and that there is hope to get clean and sober.
A lot of these celebrities in recovery who have spoken publicly about their addiction, have helped shed a positive light onto this epidemic. These Hollywood stars of all ages are showing that people can come back from the depths of addiction, and can still make a name for themselves. In today’s society where we view celebrities as almost god-like beings, the open discussing of drug addiction has helped thousands of people find the courage they need to admit that they have an issue. By admitting there is an issue, these addicts are taking the first step on the road to recovery. Some celebrities in recovery have been more public about their struggle with addiction, and some you may have not even known about.
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr had a very public struggle with his addiction. He was one of the most popular actors in the late 1980’s into the 1990’s, after being arrested multiple times for various offenses. Downey was in and out of rehab multiple times, in 2001 he went into his last treatment center. With over 14 years clean and sober he is now the highest paid actor in Hollywood and has become a role model for thousands of individuals.
Many people know him for his role in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” but Russell Brand has become one of the most vocal celebrities in recovery. Russell Brand is amongst some of the most well-known celebrities to overcome addiction and he shares his message and story with millions of people throughout the world. He has helped bring recovery to the limelight with his two extremely popular specials on Netflix, “End the Drugs War” and “Russell Brand from Addiction to Recovery.” He has a very upfront and in your face approach. He doesn’t try and sugar coat addiction, he tells it how it is.
Oprah Winfrey is one of the most powerful people in the world. She has created a massive following throughout the world of entertainment. Oprah had struggled with addiction at a young age, her drug of choice being crack cocaine. In an interview with The Today Show in 2005 she said “Years ago I had a woman on my show who was talking about drugs and how she was addicted to her boyfriend, and I had used drugs in my 20’s with this boyfriend and I was more addicted to the boyfriend than I was to the drugs,” she revealed. “So the admission to using drugs on television was the biggest thing.” Oprah has been clean for many years and continues to help those who are still struggling.
Jamie Lee Curtis
After a cosmetic surgery when she was 35, Jamie Lee Curtis became addicted to the painkillers that were prescribed by her doctor. She said that she started abusing to get high and to self-medicate for her depression. She would often mix the pills with alcohol but managed to keep her addiction a secret from her family for years. In 2009 she went public with her addiction, she told the Huffington Post “I was a lucky one. I was able to see that the pain had started long ago and far away and that the finding the narcotic was merely a matter of time.” She has been clean for years and speaks openly about her struggles.
One of the most successful rappers of all time, Eminem has not been shy about his addiction. One of the more controversial celebrities in recovery, with album titles like Recovery and Relapse, he has told his story in various ways. Like most addicts, he started as a casual user, but what he occasionally did for fun eventually took over his life. His drugs of choice were Xanax and Vicodin, his battle lasted several years. He is currently clean and sober and continues to voice his opinion about the nation’s war on drugs and the government’s outrageous costly drug programs.
40 years ago Danny Trejo had a very different life. Born in 1944 he spent much of his youth in different juvenile centers. He was arrested multiple times for crimes that he committed to fuel his cocaine addiction. Most of the 1960’s he was in and out of prison in California, a big turning point for Trejo was during a prison riot in 1968, Trejo was in solitary confinement and made the decision that upon his release he would keep his nose clean. Trejo has been sober for over 45 years now.
Some other celebrity names include:
Drew Barrymore, Mary-Kate Olsen, Lindsay Lohan, Michael J. Fox, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Eric Clapton, Steven Tyler, Marilyn Monroe, Kirsten Dunst, David Hasselhoff, and probably many many more.
Freedom From Addiction
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