There is no doubt that celebrities are admired by many: Hollywood’s superstars are loved, envied, praised, held in high esteem. They are looked up to in many ways and serve as role models for people of all ages, whether it’s because of the roles they’ve played, the music they produce, or their personality beyond their famous persona. But sometimes a darker past that lies behind all of the glitz and glamour, and is often overlooked because of the perfect image celebrities often put out. Fame is an enormous stressor, and as a result some turn to drugs and alcohol to lessen the pressures that their lifestyle demands. Below you will find 3 accounts of inspiring recovery stories on celebrities we all know and love.
Robert Downey Jr.
From an unhirable addict to one of the most highly paid celebrities in Hollywood, Robert Downey Jr. has had one of the biggest comebacks in celebrity addiction history as we know it. His abusive tendencies began at the young age of six when his father allowed him to experiment with marijuana for the first time. Using together created a bond between Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Downey Sr., which led him to try other drugs and eventually become an alcoholic: “When my dad and I would do drugs together, it was like him trying to express his love for me in the only way he knew how.”
Fast-forward to the 1980s. RDJ was rising to fame and so was the height of his addiction. He was arrested for speeding and possession of heroin and cocaine, among other incidents that cycled him in and out of jail, prison, and rehab. In 2001, RDJ violated his parole and was arrested after he was found wandering barefoot in California on suspicion of being under the influence. As a result, he was fired from his TV and film jobs and sent to another rehabilitation center. 2003 marked the year he finally became clean for good. With the support of his wife, he was able to recover through treatment methods including 12-step programs, yoga, meditation, and therapy. RDJ’s career began to take off again, and he rose to stardom in 2008 after starring in Iron Man and Tropic Thunder. He has since become one of the most noteworthy celebrities in film, and his 16 years of sobriety after such a hard fall make his comeback story one of the most impressive in Hollywood.
Comedian and spiritual enthusiast Russell Brand is also celebrating 16 years of sobriety. Over the past 42 years of his life, Brand has suffered from alcoholism, drug addiction, and even bulimia, an emotional disorder that stems from the cognitive imbalances that substance abuse can cause. Brand has since become an advocate among celebrities for addiction recovery, and openly admits that the root of his struggles were due to an internal emptiness that he tried to fill with drugs. He started using at the age of 19 and was a heroin addict for four years around that time.
In 2003, Brand hit an all-time low with his addiction, costing him jobs at MTV, appearances on radio shows, friends, and close loved ones. His sobriety was urged by his agent after finding Brand using heroin in a bathroom during a holiday party. Brand sought out a 12-step program and now acts as an advocate for mental health and drug recovery, often reflecting on his own journey and those that have helped him: “I had the privilege of going to a 12-step treatment center, getting three months there. The hugs man, the hugs, the optimism. And then coming out and finding other people, support groups where people would sort me out…”. During his public talks, he often touches on the importance of keeping up with post-treatment programs and support groups. “Sharing your story with another addict, as I did in my recovery, proved vital.”
Hollywood heartthrob Bradley Cooper has also fallen victim to addiction. His abusive tendencies were due to underlying depression and suicidal ideologies, and he used alcohol and painkillers to escape the dark thoughts that often clouded his mind.
Cooper has been open about some of the lower points in his addiction, one being an instance where he was so drunk that was admitted to the hospital after smashing his head on concrete. Luckily, he did not sink as deep into addiction as some of his celebrity colleagues. When celebrities addicts are high functioning addicts, they often use their fame and their success as excuses to justify their addiction. Because they are still landing roles, they feel as though their addiction “isn’t that bad” or something that they need to worry about.
Cooper possessed a higher sense of self-awareness, and when alcohol and depressive episodes started taking a toll on the success of his career, he was personally motivated to seek treatment: “I realized I wasn’t going to live up to my potential, and that scared the hell out of me.” Cooper came out of his addiction in 2012, and admits it took him twenty-nine years to truly get his life back on track. Since recovering he has starred in many major films, scoring lead roles in The Hangover, American Hustle, and A Star is Born, whose theme forced him to tap into his addictive past and channel those emotions in his character.
These motivational examples of celebrities’ recovery stories serve two purposes:
- Addiction knows no bounds, affecting anyone and everyone in different ways
- No matter how deep you sink, there is always a way back to the surface
Scottsdale Recovery Center encourages those struggling with addiction to reach out sooner rather than later, regardless of how severe you think your addiction is or isn’t. With our help, you too can rise to the top just like the celebrities you read about above. But it all starts with you, contact us today.
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 602-346-9142.