Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
10 Sober Celebrities Open Up About Their Recovery
Published Oct 5th, 2020 & updated on Jan 19th, 2022
Addiction is a gruelling and complicated issue. Regardless of what instigates the first use, addiction is influenced by factors like genetics, psychological history, trauma, life experiences, and coping skills to name a few. The list doesn’t end there…mental health disorders, high stress, and a lack of support systems are also known to impact the onset of addiction. It can be an isolating journey for some and that can make recovery a much harder battle. For others, like sober celebrities in recovery, the journey is publicized and exposed…which, you guessed it, is also hard AF.
We’re writing this article with only one purpose. For those of you currently in recovery, we want you to know you’re not alone. We want you to know that even though your sobriety journey seems impossible, you have what it takes to make it.
But you don’t have to take our word for it…let’s hear from the people who have been in your shoes and fought your fight. These 10 public figures and celebrities in recovery have a few words to pass along.
“Anytime you’re trying to tell the truth you need to go to places and use things that have happened to you, or you’ve read about or experienced. And that’s all part of the beauty of turning whatever things you’ve gone through into a story. I find that to be very cathartic. All the insecurities, all the dark stuff — you get to use that and that’s really the truth.”
“It’s a never-ending struggle. I was drinking a lot, way too much. And it’s never one specific thing — I mean, you’re in your 20s, single, going through life in Hollywood, you know? Everything is thrown at you. I wouldn’t take anything back; I needed to learn everything I did. But it was an interesting journey, to say the least.”
“I relate to your story so much. I have done this drug. So I know exactly what you’re talking about. And that is my life’s great big secret that has always been held over my head. I had a perfect, round, little Afro, I went to church every Sunday and I went to Wednesday prayer meeting when I could … and I did drugs.”
“It is 10 years since I used drugs or drank alcohol and my life has improved immeasurably. The price of this is constant vigilance because the disease of addiction is not rational. […] Don’t pick up a drink or drug, one day at a time. It sounds simple. It actually is simple but it isn’t easy: it requires incredible support and fastidious structuring. Not to mention that the whole infrastructure of abstinence-based recovery is shrouded in necessary secrecy.”
Robert Downey Jr
“You’re confronted with histories and predispositions and influences and feelings and unspoken traumas or needs that weren’t met, and all of a sudden you’re three miles into the woods. Can you help someone get out of those woods? Yes, you can. By not getting lost looking for them.”
Jamie Lee Curtis
“The beautiful part of being able to acknowledge your own illness, to call yourself an alcoholic or a drug addict, is a badge of honour, because the shameful secret is the reason why it’s such a pervasive illness. It’s the secret shame that keeps people locked up in their disease.”
“It was like the drug was my friend. I never did it with other people. It’s such a terrible way to fill that void, because it just adds to that void, because it’s not real.”
“To truly be powerless over something is fucking demoralizing, it’s so rough. And there are a couple of common fallacies about sobriety. One of them is that people hit a bottom and that’s that. Most addicts have many bottoms. The moment for me was realizing […] I’m doing everything I had dreamt of doing for 30 years, it all came true and I am the closest to not wanting to be alive as I’ve ever been. I was able to say something much more profound was broken.”
“I got used to being in hair and makeup and having a glass of wine. Then that glass of wine would carry over into me having one before the awards show. And then a bunch at the awards show. Then I felt bad for making kind of an ass of myself to people that I really respected. And that feeling, there’s just nothing like that. You feel horrible.”
“I suffer from a disease called addiction. I found drugs, I found alcohol…couldn’t manage my feelings so I had to take something. And I put everything on the line for my addiction. I didn’t care. Addiction takes you to the worst places. It’s demoralizing, it’s dark and it thrives on all of those things. I got sober at 25 not because I had the willpower but because I didn’t wana die. How I stay sober today, 15 years later, is that I continually turn inward and look at my disease because my disease shapeshifts.”
Just another reminder to be kind to yourself on this journey, which is unfathomably difficult. Self-compassion may seem out of reach right now but keep working towards it every day. The best way we know how to do that is through journaling, which you can learn all about on our DiveThru blog. Decades of research have proven the benefits of freewriting to identify and express your emotions and we want you to take advantage of that.
And we probably should have led with this, but DiveThru is free to download! You’ve got 1000+ journaling prompts at your fingertips to dive thru what you’re going thru. All you need is a pen and paper.