Most people remember the names of multiple celebrities who have died from an overdose. Their stories, often unexpected and always tragic, are plastered all over the nightly news and magazine covers. For weeks, commentators and journalists question how someone so talented could meet such a tragic end. However, for every tragedy, there are many Hollywood stories as inspiring as any uplifting movie. Numerous talented artists have risen above their addiction to make a difference in their art and the lives of others. These are only five celebrities whose strength continues to inspire.
Robert Downey, Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. first began using as a child when his father gave him drugs. As Downey Jr. found success in his acting career, his addiction took off. Following multiple arrests, court dates, and a stint in prison, Downey Jr. went to rehab in 2001 and has remained sober since that time. He credits meditation, 12-step programs, yoga, and wing chun, as well as the support of his wife and children, as some of the ways he’s been able to stay clean.
Lowe’s first experiences with alcohol abuse began as a teenager on movie sets, and following numerous personal and public highs and lows, he entered rehab in 1990. In 2015 he celebrated twenty-five years of sobriety, and has continuously written and spoken about his past at an event honoring him, the actor spoke about his journey: “Being in recovery has given me everything of value that I have in my life: integrity, honesty, fearlessness, faith, a relationship with God, and most of all gratitude. It’s given me a beautiful family and an amazing career. I’m under no illusions where I would be without the gift of alcoholism and the chance to recover from it.”
Lovato entered rehab at the age of 18 after struggling with years of drug and alcohol addiction, bulimia, self-harm, and bipolar disorder. She remained in treatment for a year and has remained sober since then. Lovato has continually spread an empowering message through her music and charity work, where she’s discussed her past and raised awareness for mental health and addiction treatment. In 2013, she received an award from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day for her efforts on behalf of young adults. In order to continuously impact the lives of teens, in 2014 she created the Lovato Treatment Scholarship Program to support young people who need addiction and/or mental health treatment.
At one point in his life, Clapton was spending about $16,000 a week on heroin. Even when he was able to stop using heroin, he continued drinking alcohol and using cocaine and prescription drugs. He went to rehab in 1986, and along with treatment, Clapton credits music as his salvation. Now, sober for over twenty-five years, Clapton has served on the boards of multiple treatment centers since 1993 and founded the Crossroads Centre in Antigua in 1998.
Brand was addicted to heroin, cocaine, and alcohol until 2002 when his agent intervened and sent him to the UK’s Focus 12 rehab center. Since then, he has become a patron of the facility and served as a sponsor for numerous people going through their program. He has also repeatedly spoken out and written about his experiences with addiction and recovery, publishing numerous articles on addiction topics and producing two BBC documentaries about addiction and recovery.
1. “More than skin deep” The Guardian
2. “The Ride of His Life” Vanity Fair
3. “Rob Lowe Reflects on How the ‘Gift of Alcoholism’ Has Changed His Life” People
4. “‘I Wanted A New Life,’ Says Actor, Author Rob Lowe” National Public Radio
5. “Rob Lowe Celebrates 25 Years of Sobriety, Promises Hope for ‘Those Struggling with Addiction'” People
6. “Lovato Scholarship” Cast Recovery
7. “Demi Lovato Raising Money for Mental Illness ‘In Honor of My Dad’” People
8. “Demi Lovato Talks Past Drug Use: ‘I Couldn’t Got 30 Minutes to an Hour Without Cocaine” E! Online
9. “Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘N’Roll: Clapton After ‘Cocaine'” National Public Radio
10. “Russell Brand: my life without drugs” The Guardian