Now many of us knew that there were issues surrounding a few of the pop culture icons we idolized, and that the sounds of Jimi Hendrix , Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis and even Stevie Nicks may have been influenced by a little more than “love.” When it came to the fame and fortune surrounding celebrities and sports stars, often times the word “rehab” didn’t exactly seem like it should have been part of the scene. Alcoholism and drug addiction for years received a very large stigma from mainstream society, as many thought that drug addicts and alcoholics were part of an unspeakable “caste system” of sorts. For years, propaganda based campaigns used to smear recovering alcoholics and addicts seemed to draw people further from a solution, instead of closer.
And then celebrities came out about drinking, mental disorders, and drugs—and how they got HELP.
Now, before you say, “well they made it cool to do drugs” or, “when you have all that money its no wonder they got addicted” let me set the record straight. Addiction does not discriminate. What I mean is that many are born with a predisposition–meaning some are more prone–to using drugs and alcohol and thus can become addicted, before your average weekend warrior. Over the years, the media has covered countless stories of stars, in all industries, having issues regarding drinking and drug abuse. But lets get real, many of these stories only cover the arrest or the incident, and never have a happy ending, and I intend to change that.
Below are 5 celebrities who have had trouble with drinking and drug abuse, and have found a way to turn that into a powerful message.
image source: theguardian.com
Russell Edward Brand is known for being the jack of all trades. From his work as a comedian, actor and author–this quirky Brit can pretty much do anything. The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star is notorious for portraying a substance-driven-party guy in most roles that he’s been featured in, but Brand is over 14 years clean and sober. Brand is open about his recovery and now, via his Youtube channel, is a youthful advocate for recovery and meditation. Brand even helped make a no-holds-barred documentary chronicling his use and how he achieved freedom through 12-step based recovery.
image source: apnatimepass.com
Eva Mendes, who starred in films such as We Own the Night, Fast Five and Training Day is seen as a beautiful Cuban-American acting sensation, and the mother of Ryan Goslings child. But many don’t know that Eva had a brief stint in rehab in 2008. Mendes has been quoted in an interview with Huffington Post stating “I’m proud of people who have the determination and the fearlessness to actually go and face their demons and get better. This is a life or death situation.” Mendes helped to normalize treatment and in going, allowed many to view her as a human being instead of a celebrity.
image source: www.rollingstone.com
Eric Clapton has been a household name in the music industry for years. With his beginnings as guitarist in Cream, to his extensive solo career, Clapton has been an icon for years. But the road he traveled to get where he is today was not always lined with picket fences and the American Dream. With the death of his son at age 4, Clapton decided to undergo a complete change, and stop drinking completely. Now, Clapton is over 25 years sober, and co-founder of a treatment center in Palm Beach County, Florida.
image source: www.hercampus.com
Pop superstar and former Disney Channel actress Demi Lovato celebrated having four years sober this year. Among her many talents, Lovato has taken a large part in advocating for mental health awareness through an organization called Be Vocal. After checking into an unnamed facility, Lovato spoke about being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder as well as substance abuse issues in an interview last year with Today Show. “Mental illnesses in general, they’re not talked about as much as they should [be],” she explained. “I would love for people to become more educated.” We couldn’t agree more.
image source: elephantmanlondon.com
Bradley Cooper, the handsome 40-year old Philadelphia native has been seen in roles like The Hangover and Silver Linings Playbook playing characters that definitely know a thing or two about heavy drinking and mental disorders. But Cooper, who has been sober for almost 12 years this year, gives all the credit to his sobriety. Cooper is now an advocate for sobriety and has done multiple interviews, including one with Vanity Fair in 2015, in which Cooper talked openly about his drug and alcohol abuse, and how sobriety saved his career.
The people named above may not have started the movement toward ending the stigma against drug and alcohol addiction, and while their lives have become highly visible, they have helped show that recovery and drug and alcohol addiction can strike anyone, at anytime in their lives.