Amarah's Corner: 10 Inspirational celebrity addiction recovery stories

1. Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen is a recovering alcoholic. In the 1970s, his alcoholism was so severe he suffered a heart attack while filming, Apocalypse Now. He has been in recovery since 1981 and is an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Sheen attributes his sobriety to AA and belief in God.

2. Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction since 35 years of age and has been in recovery for more than 10 years. Following a routine operation when Curtis was 35, she became addicted to painkillers. Curtis also ‘self-medicated’ with alcohol to ease loneliness.

Curtis says her recovery is the, “single, greatest achievement” in her life.

3. Robert Downey, Jr

Robert Downey, Jr’s recovery is well-known following his rise to popularity in Marvel’s Iron Man film series. Downey’s 1st film-role came when he was only 5 years old. He says he grew up “surrounded by drugs.” His father allowed him to smoke marijuana at 6 years of age. Downey said: “When my dad and I did drugs together, it was like him trying to express his love for me in the only way he knew how.”

With heroin-addiction, his life spiraled out-of-control with numerous arrests and 6 months in jail for failing to do a court-ordered drug test. Downey managed sobriety in 2001 by relying on holistic-therapies and filling the void with yoga and Wing Chun kung fu. Downey credits his spouse as the source of his recovery and is an advocate of 12-Step recovery programs.

4. Kelly Osbourne

Kelly Osbourne suffered from Vicodin addiction since a tonsillectomy at 13 years of age. When she was 17 years of age, she was consuming around 50 Vicodin tablets each day and has been in-and-out of rehab since 2004.

5. Robin Williams

Robin Williams suffered from depression and abused cocaine and alcohol throughout the 1980s. Williams credited the overdose/death of his friend, John Belushi, as the “wake up” call he needed.

Williams began regular exercise and cycling which helped alleviate depression due to the death of his friend. Williams said, “cycling saved my life.”

6. Nicole Richie

Lionel Richie is Nicole’s step-dad. Her privileged upbringing in Beverly Hills led to experimentation with drugs in her teens.

Boredom encouraged her risqué, dangerous behavior.

She began to experiment with cocaine at 19 years of age and in her early 20s, started smoking heroin. Nicole struggled with alcoholism, heroin and opioid addiction.

Now in sobriety, she is a fashion designer and works on her recovery daily.

7. Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore’s famous family is well known for struggles with generational addiction. Barrymore was first introduced to drugs at 9 years of age when her mother took her to legendary New York nightclub, Studio 54. She was a ‘party girl’ at 8 years of age, in rehab at 13 years of age, and published her autobiography, Little Girl Lost, at 14 years of age.

8. Elton John

Elton John began experimentation with cocaine in 1974 and used drugs to feel socially accepted. He identified as a loner, and felt he was not ‘good-looking.’ Drugs helped him feel socially accepted and, “part of the gang.”

From the mid-1970s -1990, John abused drugs and alcohol, attempted suicide, and refers to this period as “the lost years.” In 1990, John committed to recovery and says he is fortunate to be alive. He experienced several cocaine overdoses and “turned-blue” from epileptic-seizures from heavy cocaine-use.

9. Steven Tyler

Steven Tyler is Aerosmith’s front-man. Tyler says he spent over $20-million on heroin and cocaine throughout the last 30 years. In 1986 his band encouraged him into rehab and again in 2009 after developing opioid-addiction. He says his role on American Idol helped his recovery.

Tyler says he works on recovery daily and “going to rehab” is not the end of an addict’s struggle. He credits AA for his sobriety and says if he stopped attending AA-meetings, he would relapse quickly.

10. Anthony Hopkins

Anthony Hopkins is one of the world’s most respected actors in roles such as Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. His career spans over 60 years with more than 80 films. However, in the 1960s and 1970s, he struggled with alcoholism.

Hopkins descended into alcoholism due to feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. He first turned to alcohol in the 1960s following his decision to build a career in the theatre. During this time, he appeared in plays throughout the United Kingdom but never felt at home on the stage and refers to this period as his “tedious years.”

In 1973, he walked out of Macbeth during film-production due to his alcoholism and abandoned his first wife and daughter.

Hopkins stopped drinking when he began experiencing blackouts due to his alcoholism. In 1975, his second wife left him and he went on a bender that lasted several days. He ended up in a hotel room in Phoenix, Arizona, experiencing several-more blackouts due to his alcoholism.

Following his agent’s recommendation, Hopkins attended an AA meeting and has attended AA meetings since then. He credits an overwhelming sense of fear which includes losing his family, his career, and his personal health, for staying in recovery.

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