No one is immune from addiction. Even those who are the toast of the town in Hollywood and in the music industry are susceptible to addiction. Many actors and musicians have different ways of coping with their fame and have fallen victim to some form of substance abuse.
Some celebrities are able to still maintain very successful careers while suffering privately and in some cases more publicly. However, their stories can also be inspiring and uplifting when they have been able to successfully achieve sobriety.
Robert Downey Jr.’s Addiction Success Story
Robert Downey Jr. is one such celebrity. He is now one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. However, he has made quite the comeback from a long and arduous bout with addiction. Not only did he suffer with addiction to alcohol and drugs but also his behavior as a result of those addictions resulted in being sent to prison.
Downey’s troubles started at a very young age and were compounded by a family history of drug abuse. Using was a way to bond with his father who also suffered from a substance use disorder.
Despite issues with addiction, Downey began to build a successful career in the 80s with a role on “Saturday Night Live” and in movies such as Weird Science, The Pick-Up Artist and Less Than Zero. Additionally, he was nominated for an Academy Award in 1992 for his role in Chaplin.
However, trouble soon followed. 1993 began a vicious cycle of arrests associated with drug possession. Then in 2001, he was let go from his role on Ally McBeal after he was found barefoot walking around Culver City and was then arrested appearing to be under the influence.
Fortunately, he was ordered to enroll in a rehab program which helped him achieve sobriety. Downey believes his success in treatment can largely be attributed to a combination of therapy, 12 step programs, yoga, meditation and an ultimatum from his wife.
Now 15 years sober, his career continues to be on the upswing. Starring in movies such as Tropic Thunder and Iron Man, he is heavily sought out in Hollywood.
How Elton John Overcame Addiction
Now 30 years sober, Elton John suffered for many years from addiction. The biopic Rocket Man gave the public a glimpse of his journey.
In the 1970s, he was a household name with extravagant outfits and a larger than life stage presence. Behind the scenes, John often felt shy, turning to cocaine to help manage his feelings and deal with his public persona. He experienced most of the 70s and 80s under the influence. John was known to binge drugs and alcohol, suffer near death experiences, and then resume using almost right away.
Once he reached rock bottom, he knew he needed to ask for help. He enrolled in a rehab program which led to his sobriety. He describes coming out of treatment as if he was “reborn” and “starting life over with a new rule book for living.”
Additionally, his best advice for someone dealing with addiction is to make “recovery your absolute priority over everything else.” Once he completed his program, he intentionally did not work for a year so he could solely focus on himself and his new way of living.
Drew Barrymore Living a Sober Life
As a childhood actress, Drew Barrymore was exposed to a dark lifestyle at a young age. She was only 7 when she took on her starring role in ET. Then at 9, she was introduced to drugs and alcohol by her mother who brought her to a very famous dance club, Studio 54.
With a mom who avoided her parental responsibilities, a violent alcoholic father and her young rise to stardom, Barrymore made some detrimental lifestyle choices and began to battle addiction. By the age of 12, she had checked into a rehab facility and then again at 13.
After a year and a half stay at an institution, Barrymore successfully achieved sobriety.
She also emancipated herself from her parents at the age of 14.
Although her journey following rehab was challenging, now she is a mother in her 40s and has built a very successful career. She wrote a book called Wildflower which chronicles the story of her life through various experiences from the past and present along with the life lessons that have led to her success today. Now she says she is “living her best life.”
These stories can be used as effective examples of how overcoming addiction turned careers and lives around for the better and will hopefully motivate others to get sober.
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