When you are in the grips of a substance use disorder, it is all too easy to convince yourself that your situation is unique. You might believe that you would not be struggling with drugs and alcohol if only your life were just a little bit better. If you were not struggling to make ends meet, for example, maybe you wouldn’t feel so stressed out all of the time—and then maybe you wouldn’t feel the need to use drugs to manage the stress.
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It is easy to start daydreaming once you have this idea in your head. You might imagine how your life would be different—and better—if only you were rich and famous. Surely, with enough money and enough fame you would not need drugs or alcohol anymore. Right?
Well, the evidence might suggest otherwise.
Substance Use and Being Famous
In July of 2019, Anjelica Oswald and Olivia Singh penned an article for Insider titled “40 celebrities who have been open about their sobriety.” It is an eye-opening look at just how many of the rich and famous have the same struggles as anyone else with a substance use disorder. Let’s take a look at just a few of these famous folks and what they have to say about their sobriety.
Imagine a World Without Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr.—known to superhero fans everywhere as Marvel’s Iron Man—struggled with substance abuse in the late 1990s. In an interview with Vanity Fair, he compared addiction to being stuck in a cave, and he noted that getting out is just the beginning.
Job one is get out of that cave. A lot of people do get out but don’t change. So the thing is to get out and recognize the significance of that aggressive denial of your fate, come through the crucible forged into a stronger metal.
There’s Nothing Beautiful About Addiction
Supermodel Naomi Campbell did not see an acclaimed beauty when she looked at herself. She explained to Vogue:
The time between 1998 and 2005 was especially bad. During that time I avoided looking in the mirror, because I didn’t like the person who was looking back at me. To be honest, there were times I thought I wouldn’t survive. I used to have a lot of problems. Amongst others I drank too much so I joined Alcoholics Anonymous to get and stay sober.
Setbacks Can Be a Part of the Quest for Sobriety
Singer and actor Demi Lovato has been quite open and honest about her struggles, not only with substance use but with co-occurring mental health disorders as well. She once told a concert audience:
I was drinking vodka out of a Sprite bottle at nine in the morning, throwing up in the car. So, I took a look at my life and I said, ‘Something has to change, I’ve got to get sober.’ So, I did.
That’s not the end of Lovato’s story. Just as it is for anyone in recovery, relapse is always a possibility. Lovato has been characteristically honest about her own relapse experience, writing on Instagram:
I have always been transparent about my journey with addiction. What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet.
He’s Still Standing After All This Time
Beloved pop culture icon and musician Elton John has been sober now for more than three decades. Writing on Instagram about his sobriety in 2019, he acknowledged the importance of a supportive community for those in recovery.
I was a broken man. I finally summoned up the courage to say three words that would change my life: ‘I need help.’ Thank you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety. I am eternally grateful.
Rich and Famous or Getting By and Unknown—The Struggles are the Same
We have taken a look at the stories of some celebrities to make a point: substance use disorders can affect just about anyone—regardless of what perceived advantages any given person might have. The struggles are the same no matter who you are. And so are the solutions.
If you have developed a substance use disorder, you need to get help at a fully accredited residential treatment center.
Going through detox and rehab can start you on your recovery journey with confidence because you can reclaim your sobriety as well as address any co-occurring mental health disorders that may be in play. And if there are bumps along the recovery road—as there often are—returning to treatment can get you started again following a relapse.
Our Claim to Fame is Helping People Reclaim Their Sobriety
At Bel Aire Recovery Center, we can help you overcome a substance use disorder and provide you with the resources, strategies, and support you need to maintain your sobriety.
Remember that people from all walks of life struggle with addiction. You are not alone, and we are ready and able to help.