Feb 22, 2012 | By Tim Stoddart

Celebrities in Recovery

Addiction & Recovery News

Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It can affect absolutely anyone – including the rich and famous. Hollywood seems like an environment rife with temptation. Drugs and alcohol permeate celebrity culture, even though the vast majority of it is hidden from the public eye. Lots of celebrities have battled drug or alcohol addiction, but many of the have succeeded in overcoming it and maintaining their careers. Their stories can inspire the rest of us. Here are some famous celebrities who are currently in recovery.


Elton John

Elton John is one of the most successful singer-songwriters ever. He’s sold more than 250 million records and has had more than 50 Top 40 hits. In the 1970’s, he battled addictions to cocaine and alcohol. He survived an overdose in 1975 and numerous suicide attempts. He also struggled with the eating disorder bulimia. Finally, in 1990 he got sober.


Robin Williams

Robin Williams is a very funny comedian and successful actor who has starred in such movies as Good Will Hunting and Mrs. Doubtfire, and the TV show Mork & Mindy. In the 1970’s and 1980’s he was addicted to cocaine and an alcoholic. He says that the death of his friend John Belushi pushed him to stop using drugs. In 2006, he relapsed and checked in a treatment center for alcohol abuse and has since been sober.


Jamie Lee Curtis

Known as the “Scream Queen” for her early roles in horror movies such as Halloween and Prom Night, Jamie Lee Curtis is a successful actress who won a Golden Globe for her role in True Lies. She became addicted to pain killers after having minor surgery when she was 35 years old. She was also an alcoholic. She got sober in 1999 and calls it her “single greatest accomplishment.”


Robert Downey, Jr.

Perhaps one of the more infamous celebrity addicts, Robert Downey, Jr. is a very talented actor with a long history of drug abuse. He was arrested numerous times in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. After a few different rehab stays and attempts at sobriety, he finally got clean in 2001. He says he stays sober with the help of the 12 Steps, his wife, and yoga.


Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen, actor in such classic films as Wall Street and The Departed, battled alcoholism but got sober in the 1980’s. He is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he credits his religion, Catholicism, with helping him in recovery. His son, Charlie Sheen, is infamously battling addiction – a Hollywood example of how addiction can be hereditary.


Jane Lynch

Hilarious actress Jane Lynch has had roles in movies like Best in Show and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. She currently stars in the hit show Glee, which she has won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for. She got sober in 1991 after realizing her drinking was out of control. She talks about her struggles with alcoholism in her memoir Hyperion Voice.


Steven Tyler

Lead singer of the iconic band Aerosmith and current judge on American Idol, Steven Tyler was addicted to heroin and cocaine. He used with all the members of his group, and he contracted Hepatitis C from intravenous use. In 1986 he went to rehab and got clean after an intervention. He later relapsed but has been clean since completing rehab for pain killer abuse in 2009.

14 responses to “Celebrities in Recovery

  • And what’s especially nice about sharing these recovery stories is that it reminds us that people in recovery are no different than people in recovery from cancer or heart disease. They’ve done what it takes to treat and manage their disease so that they can move on to live happy, productive, fulfilling lives.

  • With all due respect to Peggy and Sue – Sober Nation never mentioned AA or any other program once in this article. The reference to the 12 steps did not break any traditions in any program. AA or other programs do not have a copyright on the term “sobriety” and there are other “12 step” philosophies out here – 12 steps to a better life, 12 steps to happiness – none of these are bound by traditions. I guess my point is – 12 step programs do not have a monopoly on sobriety or recovery. There are a great many pathways to recovery. Respectfully, Dawn.

    • Yessss! Well said.

      In order to break the stigma of “once an addict, always an addict” we have to talk about our recovery.

  • Marty Ford

    12 years ago



    There are only two places you can go in the world: Somewhere and Nowhere. Given the choice most would choose Somewhere only though they may not know where that Somewhere is. What they do know is staying in the depths of addiction is not where they want to remain.

    There are two kinds of people: Those in RECOVERY and those in PREVENTION.

    For example, there are two guys Bill and Joe. Bill has a heart attack. His doctor tells him to lose weight, stop smoking, consume healthy beverages, eat a healthy diet, exercise and develop and maintain healthy family and personal relationships with people who support his efforts, goals and aspirations to lead a clean, healthy and sober life. While at the gym he meets Joe and the two men start a conversation.

    Bill tells Joe about his heart attack and doctors suggestions. Joe tells Bill that he, Bill, decided many years ago to quit smoking, eat a healthy diet, avoid caffeine, sugar filled drinks and alcohol, maintain a comfortable and appropriate weight, exercise regularly and nurture friendships that encourage and support his lifestyle.

    Both men are living the same way. One in RECOVERY. One in PREVENTION. Either way, help is needed in the form of leadership, guidance, direction, support, mentoring and in today’s vernacular coaching.

    I am that person, a Recovery Coach with over twenty years providing leadership, guidance, direction, structure, organization, inspiration, motivation and fun with and for those who desired SUCCESS.

    In addition to my background, history and experiences in business, education, military service, parenting, coaching youth sports with our kids, care-taking and related endeavors I have work with individuals, small groups and large gatherings of people who want to enhance, enrich, enlighten and empower their lives and have some fun along the journey. Once someone internalizes that they are in RECOVERY for the rest of their lives half the battle is under control.

    My family is first. Next comes the great pride I have doing what I love to do. At age 62 I play full court pick-up basketball 3-4 times per week, year round both indoors and outdoors, with all the guys a decade or two or three or four older than me. The guys are kind to the old and feeble and let me play even when i do not bring the ball. In addition, I play pick-up soccer 3-4 times per month with a completely different group of guys. I have fewer soccer skills than basketball skills but again they let me play for similar reasons. I have my aches and pains from the ringing in my ears to the bottom of my sore feet but the pain of not playing is far worse than any pain I have learned to endure. I rarely tell my age but enjoy the reactions of the younger players once they find out I am older than their dads.

    When we find ourselves offering excuses rather than reasons we know we are in trouble. Excuse explain failure. Reasons define SUCCESS. We have all failed with many slipping into the “woe is me” attitude of it being someone elses fault. We look to pint fingers and blame the world around us for our shortcomings. What we need to realize is that one SUCCESS wipes out many failures. The more SUCCESS we have the more we want. It is the sweet nectar of SUCCESS that provides the fuel to continue the journey. Failure is only failure when we do not learn, grow and proceed towards SUCCESS.

    In addition to my work, I have authored three books all of which are unpublished though I am always on the hunt for a publishing company that wants their audience to read powerful and positive messages. I use the contents of my books in my work which is always, always an always filled with some silliness, humor and fun. Far too many folks go through life without a laugh especially those belly laughs that cause tears in our eyes and comforting pain in our bellies and hearts.

    Things To Do To Fight BOREDOM The Enemy Of Us All
    G-Verb: Get Up!!! Get Out!!! Get Going!!!

    I could write much more but I think you get the idea of my controlled passion for RECOVERY. Control is critical. When we are in control we SUCCEED, when not in control we delay or otherwise defer SUCCESS. Just ask the pitcher who cannot find the strike zone. Just ask the driver who does not control their vehicle. Worse yet ask the victims of that loss of control.

    The times has come for us to end the ruins of our ways. The time has come to embrace and welcome success in all aspects of our lives. The time has come to accomplish more than we ever thought possible. The time has come to hire me as your

    When those in your personal life and professional career require a discrete, private and confidential, dedicated and committed source of strength in their quest to obtain, retain and maintain their RECOVERY please call me at 973-590-8079 or respond to this e-mail.

    I appreciate and thank you for your consideration.

    Marty Ford
    POWER UP!!!

  • I almost baacme addicted to this medication my doctor had me take for autoimmune hives, I got really scared, but I had an appointment that same day, and they were going to take me off of the meds. I felt so relieved when I heard this, but there are bad side affects when you quit *snap* just like that. You need to wein off of the meds little by little. Now, I only take them when I really need them

  • No, this is a for-profit site. What did you expect from these leaches?

  • This is the story w/ anonymity folks….It’s quite simple. I can tell anyone I want that I’m in a 12 step program: I can’t tell anyone that YOU ARE>!!

  • Kim Wallace-Croasdell

    10 years ago

    I love all things 12 step, but what I love more is that I’ve learnt to stay in my own hoop!!

    23 clean -UK

  • Kim Wallace-Croasdell

    10 years ago

    I love all things 12 step, but what I love more is that I’ve learnt to stay in my own hoop!!

    23 clean -UK

  • They did mention AA however, its the individuals right to share their anonymity. And I’m sure they asked to use it. A lot of people don’t mind their anonymity being broken. It says in our reading we weren’t ashamed of the past. Now for the person so worried about breaking the 11th tradition. You just broke your own anonymity by saying that. Because really we in the program are the only people who know about traditions…lol
    I’m very grateful that actors who have struggled can freely talk about it. We all know alcoholism and addiction doesn’t care whether you are rich or poor. Have a good one everyone!!

  • Right on, Nadine! While the anonymity of others “in the rooms” is a tradition I/we pledge to honor, my own anonymity is mine to do with as I please. We are a society of people who feel safe sharing secrets, but we are not a secret society.

  • Jim Fisher

    4 years ago

    Alcoholism & addiction don’t discriminate.
    Embracing a 12 step program is the only path.
    No mater how you feel: Get up, suit up, show up & never give up.

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