No question about it, showbiz is party central. The industry is saturated with drugs and alcohol and celebrities can partake in as much as they want whenever they want. Many celebrities get a little too involved in the party scene and get in to some trouble. Some celebrities go so far down the rabbit hole with drugs and alcohol that they get trapped.
Unfortunately, it's ridiculously common for celebrities to get addicted to drugs and alcohol to the point where it begins to ruin their lives. Celebrities who have been in the spotlight since they were young often get overwhelmed by the spotlight and start numbing themselves with drugs and alcohol at a young age. Other celebrities simply get caught up in the endless parties and can't get out.
Once drugs and alcohol take over their lives, they begin to spiral out of control, and since the paparazzi are always there, these downward spirals are often well documented in the media. Celebrities don't have the luxury of struggling with substance abuse anonymously.
Some celebrities never get over their substance abuse problems. Some celebrities were able to get treatment and stay sober for a period of time only to relapse years later. Robin Williams, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Corey Monteith, and most recently Carrie Fisher, all died when they relapsed after years of sobriety. Too many celebrities have died as a result of their struggles with substance abuse.
But there are a few lucky ones who have managed to get treatment and stay sober. Here are some celebrities who struggled with substance abuse who were able to recover and who are still sober.
In the 1990's Robert Downey Jr. was Hollywood's favorite bad boy. For a while his party boy antics were entertaining, but as his substance abuse increased his behavior became erratic and dangerous. He was caught on camera acting like a fool regularly. He was also caught drunk driving. In 1996, his neighbors came home and found Robert Downey Jr. passed out in their son's bed. Downey Jr. ended up in prison and then shortly after, a treatment facility.
Downey Jr. has been sober for over twenty-five years now and is very open about how much work he's had to do to maintain his sobriety. He's said that many people stop using substances, but don't do the work to change who they are on the inside. He says that the key to his sobriety is changing the way he lives his life.
Demi Lovato is one of many former Disney stars who has publicly struggled with mental health and substance abuse issues. She's been in the spotlight since she was very young and she had a really hard time dealing with all the pressures of fame. Her teenage years were spent in a haze of alcohol and cocaine. She's said that it got so bad that she was using cocaine pretty much the entire day, just to get through the day. Lovato has also been public about the fact that she was also battling an eating disorder and self harming on a regular basis during this time.
In 2010 her struggles became headlines when she got in to a physical altercation with a backup dancer. After that, the paparazzi followed her everywhere, documenting her partying.
Eventually, the people closest to Lovato, including former boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama, confronted her about her self destructive behaviors and told her she needed to get treatment. She was sober for a while, but struggled with relapses. Eventually, she moved in to a sober living facility and stayed there until her recovery was more solid. She's been sober for over five years now and talks about it regularly in hopes that her fans who are struggling will see her recovery and decide to get help.
Marshal Mathers, better known by his stage name Eminem, was never quiet about his substance abuse. In fact, his earlier albums glorified his substance abuse, which was a central theme in many of his lyrics. Many of his songs also focused on his mother's substance abuse and the fact that he'd been raised in an environment that fostered his drug and alcohol problems.
He was also very public about his attempts to get sober and his subsequent failures. He even released an album called "Relapse." Eminem overdosed multiple times and a few times he almost died as a result of his substance abuse. For a long time it seemed like the troubled rapper would never get sober for good.
But in 2010 Eminem released the album "Recovery" and the world saw a very different Marshal Mathers. The album was all about facing his addictions and struggling to recover. Eminem has said that he knew he needed to get sober when he realized that he might die and leave his daughters behind. He wanted to be a real father, and he needed to be sober to do that. Eminem has been sober for over seven years.
Macklemore rose to fame with a quirky song about thrift store shopping, but the majority of his music is actually about his abuse of alcohol and prescription medication. In songs like "Otherside," and "Neon Cathedral," Mackelmore rapped about being a slave to his substance abuse. For a few years, including at the beginning of his fame, he was sober and he was held up as an example for those who wanted to recover.
But his sobriety didn't survive the pressures of being sober. When he got sick while on tour he was prescribed medication and began to abuse it again. His song "Starting Over," is a heartbreaking anthem about the pains of relapsing and having to get sober all over again.
Since his relapse a few years ago, Macklemore has been sober and speaks often about how important it is to put his recovery before his fame.
Kelly Osbourne grew up in a world of drugs and alcohol. Her father is the famous rock star Ozzy Osbourne, who is also famous for his substance abuse. Both her parents abused drugs and alcohol while she was growing up and her house was essentially a party house. However, Kelly is very clear that she doesn't blame her parents for her substance abuse.
Kelly started using drugs and alcohol at a very young age, partially because it was such a part of her environment and partially manage her emotions. She used particularly heavily when her mother was undergoing treatments for cancer and when her father had a near death experience. She's talked about how she couldn't experience tough emotions without popping a pill.
Kelly tried to get sober for over six years without success. She went to six rehabs, but always relapsed afterward. Her mother even had her committed to a mental institution in an attempt to force her to get sober.
Eventually she did get sober, and she has maintained that sobriety for many years. She talks often about the importance of learning to manage tough emotions without drugs, alcohol, or self destructive behavior. Today, when she's trying to cope with something tough she turns to productive coping mechanisms.
Steve-O was arguably the craziest of the Jackass crew. All of the Jackass boys were willing to push the limits for a laugh, but Steve-O was always willing to go a step further than the rest of them. He was always the one to volunteer for the most extreme and disgusting stunts. Part of the reason for this is that he was drunk or high literally all the time.
After years of drinking and using drugs and putting himself in harm's way, it eventually became too much for Steve-O. He knew he would have to get sober to save his own life. He became suicidal and was arrested for cocaine possession in 2008 and ended up in rehab. While in rehab, he wrote up a "break-up letter" to drugs and alcohol and the breakup stuck. Steve-O has been sober since that rehab stay.
Steve-O says one of the reasons he's been able to maintain his sobriety is the support he gets from his friends. The set of "Jackass 3" was a "sober set" in order to protect Steve-O's sobriety. His Jackass friends have been very supportive of his new way of life and have done whatever they can to help him out.
Today, Steve-O says that his life would seem boring to his fans who know him as a crazy guy. His life is much more low-key now that he's sober.
About five years ago Amanda Bynes had a very public meltdown. The paparazzi documented her acting extremely erratically. Her Twitter account was filled with most nonsensical ramblings. Then she was caught smoking pot while driving, she was involved in a couple of hit and runs, and found herself facing multiple DUI charges. As the media is wont to do, they swarmed her and documented every minute of her heartbreaking struggle with drugs and mental illness.
In the midst of this breakdown, Bynes announced that she was quitting acting forever, and promptly disappeared from the public eye. For years she was nowhere to be found.
Suddenly, in June 2017, Bynes reappeared and she was markedly different. She looked healthy and happy. The actress announced that she'd been sober for three years and that she'd been spending her time out of the spotlight getting a degree from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.
She started appearing on talk shows announcing that she was ready to come back to acting. Bynes also spoke a lot about the healthy habits she's developed that are helping her maintain her sobriety, like exercising, focusing on school, and being helpful to others. Volunteerism has been a large part of her sobriety. Hopefully we'll soon see a healthy, sober Bynes on the silver screen.
Rob Lowe was the most famous party boys of the 80's. In a time when alcohol and cocaine were a regular part of pop culture, Lowe was regularly drowning in both. He was a constant fixture in the Hollywood club and private party scene. His sex tape was leaked way before it was cool to leak sex tapes. Lowe also ran with a crew Hollywood nicknamed the "Brat Pack" who all partied as hard as he did. Lowe was typically seen wasted beyond all recall with the likes of Charlie Sheen.
Lowe only escaped Sheen's fate by getting sober in the early 90's. Lowe says that he's done a lot of work on himself in order to stay sober. He's said that he never really grew up until he got sober. Getting sober made Lowe face the fallout of all the bad decisions he'd made while messed up and he had to repair a lot of damage. But sobriety gave him the tools to deal with that fallout and it's given him a completely new life.
He also stresses the importance of a strong support system, honesty, and a relationship with a higher power to staying sober. He's been sober for over twenty-five years now and serves as a great example of long term sobriety in Hollywood.
Edie Falco does an amazing job of portraying an addict in the show "Nurse Jackie." Her character is a nurse who got addicted to prescription pills, a story that's all too familiar to many real life nurses. Being around that many pills all the time and being under so much stress is a perfect storm for addiction. One of the reasons that Falco is such a believable addict on TV is because she's personally familiar with alcoholism.
Falco's struggles with alcoholism weren't as public as some other actors. She doesn't talk about her downward spiral very often, and when she does she's still vague. Falco has said that at the end of her sobriety she was "drunk all the time" and that she was putting herself in dangerous situations.
Falco would much rather talk about her sobriety, which she's maintained for almost twenty-five years now. She has been public about her participation in 12 step programs and has said that they've played an essential role in maintaining her sobriety. She also credits her family and friends for providing such a strong support system.
Craig Ferguson has never been scared to crack a joke or two about his battles with drugs and alcohol. In fact, some of his funniest comedy sets are heavily focused on his ridiculous antics while intoxicated and the difference between his life then and now as a sober person.
However, Ferguson's sobriety became the topic of headlines when he gave a powerful monologue on the "Late Late Show" in 2007. All of the other late night hosts were gleefully commenting on the very public breakdown Britney Spears was having. They weren't shy about making her the butt of their jokes and the topic of their opening monologues.
Ferguson also made Spears' struggles the focus on his opening monologue, but in a very different way. He admonished the media for preying on her and exploiting her struggles. He then shifted the focus to talk very frankly about his own experience with rock bottom and how afraid he'd been that he'd never get sober. He ended by explaining that addiction is a disease and that people suffering are sick and need help.
Ferguson has been sober for over twenty-five years and has used his platform as a public figure to educate people about recovery.
Jamie Lee Curtis' addiction started the same way that it does with so many these days: with a prescription after a medical procedure. She started taking the pills as prescribed, but soon found herself taking more and more. Curtis has described herself as a "junkie" during that time in her life. She spent ten years addicted to pills and hiding her habit from everyone in her life and the media.
Eventually the addiction took over her life and she knew that she needed to seek treatment. She has been sober for over eighteen years now and is quick to say that her sobriety is one of the most important things in her life today. She's said that staying sober for the rest of her life would be "the greatest achievement of her life."
She gets a lot of help in order to stay sober, including years of therapy. Now she lives a happy and mostly quiet life with her partner, kids, and grandchildren.
Believe it or not, Harry Potter was often drunk on set. Like many other child stars, Radcliffe has lived most of his life in the spotlight. He was only eleven when he was rocketed to fame in the first movie in the "Harry Potter" series. Radcliffe has since admitted using alcohol to deal with the pressure and any feelings he just couldn't handle.
In talking about his alcoholism, Radcliffe is clear that he wasn't just a run of the mill party kid. He always drank excessively and would frequently black out. He began to black out in public places and put himself in really risky situations. Radcliffe says that when he drinks he turns in to a different person, a person he doesn't like.
He tried to get sober right after the filming of the last "Harry Potter" movie, but eventually relapsed. He took another crack at sobriety after that relapse and so far, he's been successful. Radcliffe has been sober for more than three years now and he's made taking care of himself a big focus.
Substance abuse is a heartbreaking problem that millions face. So many want to get sober, but don't know how. These celebrities are shining examples of the fact that anyone can get sober, no matter how bad their substance abuse was and no matter what environment surrounds them.
If you're having trouble with substance abuse, there is help out there. Treatment facilities, therapy, and 12 step programs can get the journey to recovery started. You can get sober and stay sober.
Sources: Vanity Fair, YouTube, EOline, Billboard, Vice, People, NPR, Fox News, Telegraph, The Daily Beast, MTV, Rolling Stone, LA Times, New York Post