Celebrities who struggle with mental health and substance use disorders experience many of the same problems as average citizens. However, unlike average Americans, moviestars’ and musicians’ addictions make the headlines. A lack of anonymity can lead to shame and disgrace that can hinder one’s ability to find addiction recovery.
Famous individuals who battle addictive disorders become controversial figures regularly. Stars may do things while under the influence that can mar their reputations irrevocably at times. Addiction jeopardizes many careers or can end them entirely if steps to recover are not taken.
Sadly, many beloved pop icons have succumbed to their disease or taken their lives. We are all familiar with movie stars, television actors, comedians, and musicians whose lives ended in tragedy.
While society mourns the loss of beloved celebrities and remembers the joy such people brought to the lives of millions, it’s also vital to acknowledge those who battled addiction and found recovery. Some even go on to share their stories with the world and inspire others to seek addiction recovery.
Numerous people employed in Hollywood are working programs and championing causes to help end the misconceptions about addiction. Whenever someone who is looked up to by millions of people shares their story, it erodes the stigma of mental and behavioral health disorders.
Some of you may have read articles about Brad Pitt’s road to recovery recently. He has openly shared about the impact alcohol had on his life, what it cost him, and how addiction recovery saved his life. In interviews, he’s mentioned how other celebrities helped him in recovery, such as Bradley Cooper. Pitt and Cooper’s honesty is not rare; many other cultural icons are doing their part to inspire hope in others.
Addiction: A Family Disease that Doesn’t Discriminate
Some of our readers may know that the multiple-Grammy award-winning artist James Taylor had a long battle with addiction. Perhaps you know that he sought the help of addiction treatment centers on several occasions and experienced many relapses before finding long-term recovery.
TIME published an article on Taylor recently that brings to light many of the factors that impacted his life. When James was a teenager, he was admitted to a mental health facility, according to the article. He says that music saved his life, but he would go on to become addicted to drugs and alcohol as a nascent musician.
Addiction is a family disease. Like many people who are touched by alcohol and substance use disorders, Taylor’s family struggled with addiction too. His parents and all four siblings each battled with drugs and alcohol.
Taylor shared that he was addicted to opiates for about 18 years on an episode of Oprah’s Master Class in 2015. He finally found recovery and began working the 12 Steps in 1983 and has been sober ever since. That same year he released his 16th album, Before This World, which included songs that dealt with addiction recovery and salvation.
With more than 30 years of sobriety, James Taylor is proof that long-term recovery is possible even for the most severely addicted. Moreover, he does not shy away from carrying the message to those still in the grips of the disease.
The sooner you get over it, the sooner you get on with your life,” Taylor said. “The 12-step programs are the best way we’ve discovered, so far, for recovering from addiction.”
Finding sobriety has led other artists and actors to create works that shine a light on addiction and recovery. People are encouraged to seek help when celebrities courageously share and create music and films about the disease.
From Addiction Recovery to Relapse: The Way Back
As mentioned earlier, addiction can make a person into a controversial figure and take what’s most important from them, and such is the case of Oscar-winner Ben Affleck. The Argo director has been in the news lately a lot due to his divorce, apologizing for groping a talk show host in 2013, and his struggles with alcoholism.
Last year, he relapsed a few months after announcing he had achieved one year of sustained recovery, The New York Times reports. He acknowledges that alcohol use cost him his marriage to Jennifer Garner, the mother of their three children. While his recent relapse was a significant setback and source of shame, he has not given up on breaking the cycle of addiction.
It took me a long time to fundamentally, deeply, without a hint of doubt, admit to myself that I am an alcoholic,” Ben Affleck said. “The next drink will not be different.”
Addiction is a family disease for Ben Affleck; his father is an alcoholic just like James Taylor’s. He shares that his father sobered up when Ben was 19. His younger brother Casey Affleck has spoken openly about his battle with alcoholism and sobriety. The Afflecks’ aunt struggled with heroin addiction, and their grandmother and uncle both committed suicide.
Ben Affleck is back in recovery and is working. He stars in The Way Back, which opens in theaters on March 6, about a man in the grips of alcoholism. The main character’s life echo’s Affleck’s life in several ways.
In the film, Affleck plays Jack Cunningham, an alcoholic construction worker who becomes a high school basketball coach. Cunningham, like Affleck, lost his marriage to drinking, the article reports. He will eventually end up in addiction treatment.
California Addiction Treatment for Men
At PACE Recovery Center, we equip adult men with the tools to lead a healthy and positive life in addiction recovery. Our center utilizes evidence-based therapies to help men break the disease cycle.
Our Masters and Doctorate-level clinicians also specialize in the treatment of stand-alone and co-occurring mental illness. We invite you to contact us today to learn more about the benefits of gender-specific treatment and the PACE Recovery difference.