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Sober Celebs–Stars in the Skies of Recovery


While we so often hear of famous writers, actors, and musicians using excessive amounts of drugs and alcohol, overdosing, and getting DUIs, there are also celebrities in recovery who have found a higher level of peace, fulfillment, and accountability. 

1)      Steven Tyler recently discussed his drug use and sobriety with Ellen DeGeneres.  He would literally snort coke on stage.  While he credits cocaine use for the bands’ ability to perform in all of the states so many times, he discusses the options of his continued using as either “death, jail, or insanity.”  He is two years sober![i]

2)      Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington has made the decision to become sober.  He openly admits to having a history of being “a raging alcoholic” and has openly admitted to a history of childhood sexual abuse from an older male.  In 2011, he is quoted saying, “I choose to be sober now. I have drunk over the last six years, but I just don’t want to be that person anymore[ii].” His wording of “I choose” catches my interest; He reminds us that today, we have a choice.  Linkin Park’s song “Waiting for the End” is reflective of an increased awareness of negative patterns and the moment right before the change in behavior.  I remember this song speaking to me just before I went into treatment.

3)      Robert Downey Jr. had a low bottom with his career, personal life, and legal matters all being drawn into a black hole of depression.  Ultimately with his wife and child gone while cooking cocaine into rock in the kitchen, he realized he’d hit his bottom and was ready to be sober[iii].  He says, “I think of myself as someone who has no desire, use for or conscious memory of that life. And yet I don’t shut the door on it, and I don’t pretend it didn’t happen”[iv].  He has gratitude for his sobriety and the fact that he made it through, and he reminds readers of the importance of taking accountability for the past.

4)      Elton John has been sober since 1990.  He realized through an act of charity that he was not the person he had wanted to become.   He got clean 6 months later and has remained sober, “which he says changed and completed his life[v].”

5)      Richie Supa, a guitarist and songwriter who worked with Aerosmith and Richie Sambora, is clean.  He wrote a song “In the Rooms” for the website intherooms.com that aims to help, inform, touch, connect, and heal.

6)      Bobby Lee, a comedian from MADtv, has been in and out of sobriety struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.  He started doing meth at 16[vi].  In his second year of MADtv, there was an intervention, telling him that he either needed to get sober or he was fired.  He says that he got sober because “I thought I was gonna die” not because of the threat[vii].

7)      In 2011, Mel Gibson celebrated five years sober.  After receiving a DUI and airing his anti-Semitic beliefs, an act he later referred to as “just the stupid ramblings of a drunkard,”[viii] Mel Gibson took a look in the mirror to face his own alcoholism.  In an interview with Diane Sawyer in 2006, he talks about relapse and I found it authentic, truthful, and scary:

“Years go by, you’re fine. And then all of a sudden in a heartbeat, in an instant, on an impulse, somebody shoves a glass of Mescal in front of your nose, and says, ‘It’s from Oaxaca.’ And it’s burning its way through your esophagus, and you go, ‘Oh, man, what did I do that for? I can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.’”

8)      Stephen King got sober and clean in 1987, after his family staged an intervention, emptying a trashcan with evidence of NyQuil, cocaine, Xanax, beer, and weed.  His writing not only proved as a therapeutic means to deal with the challenges of sobriety, but also improved with a new willingness to entertain the uncertainty of the creative process[ix].

9)      Russell Brand discussed his pre-sobriety life-style with Piers Morgan saying “A scrawny, retched, ne’er do well – a twig crow man, scorching across the north London streets, fingerless gloves, outstretched palm, bags of smack in pocket, pipe on the lips. But the reality of that life, you know, you can snatch glistening pearls of amusement from it. But when that’s your daily life, it’s miserable.”[x]  He is openly in a 12-step program and is over eight years sober.  One article reports him as very committed to the program: “to go off the program, he insists, is to invite slowly creeping death, first as a haze and then wearily draining into lifelessness, back into his world.”

10)    Eric Clapton remarks that he convinced himself he was still in control of his using, even when he was not. He considered suicide and had a hard time leaving the house during his heroin use.  He drew on music during his times of addiction and sobriety to keep him moving forward.  It took multiple recovery programs, but Clapton has been sober for over 20 years.  Clapton reflected that in sobriety, “learning to play music and to be intimate with women required new ways of thinking and the ability to conquer some underlying fears.”[xi]

Congratulations to these celebrities for not taking the easy and potentially fatal route, setting an example for us all, and for facing their problems.













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Filed under: Addiction, Alcohol and Drugs, Celebrity News, Recovery · Tags: 12 step meetings, 12 step program, 12-steps, Addiction, Alcohol Abuse, Alcohol Addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, alcoholism, Drug Abuse, drug addiction, Recovery

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