Alcoholism is an affliction that affects people from all walks of life. Nobody is immune from the debilitating effects of alcohol, especially the rich and wealthy performers. With their unlimited resources, they have more money and opportunities to abuse alcohol. And because they’re famous, their struggles are all the more scrutinized under the media microscope.
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1. Robert Downey Jr.
His portrayal of billionaire-playboy-philanthropist Tony Stark has made Downey Jr. the second highest-grossing box-office actor of all time. But before his Iron Man fame, the young actor was under the heel of substance addiction.
At an early age, he was exposed by his father Robert Sr. to the world alcohol and drugs. This would eventually lead to Downey Jr.’s 5-year battle with substance addiction. After his arrest in April 2001, Downey Jr. finally decided to try rehab for the nth time. He finally succeeded – and though the journey was long – he has been sober since July 2003. He credits his success to his wife, therapy, twelve-step recovery programs, meditation, yoga, and surprisingly, Wing Chun Kung Fu.
2. Ben Affleck
Like Downey Jr., Affleck’s alcoholism problems can be traced back to his father. It was the bad case of ‘like father, like son’ for Affleck as his dad had some drinking issues as well. It became so worse that young Ben and the rest of his family had to attend Al-Anon family group therapies.
By age 15, Affleck found himself emulating his old man’s bad ways. He stated in an interview that his constant drinking led him to lose his inhibitions – but that he was remorseful for everything he has done while he was under the influence of alcohol.
He eventually sobered up a few years later but had relapses between 2017 and 2018. He cleaned up his act again in 2019 and has been abstinent ever since.
3. Bradley Cooper
Cooper is a talented actor known for his roles in “A Star is Born” and “American Sniper,” among many others. But before he became one of Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People,’ he struggled with alcohol problems and suicidal thoughts.
Then came a personal epiphany when he least expected it. While he was waiting to get stitched up in the hospital after bashing his head on the floor, he realized that he was ruining his life. This cognizance led him to quit alcohol in 2004, and that has left him sober ever since.
4. Daniel Radcliffe
Radcliffe faced internal struggles while he was living out the world of the iconic Harry Potter. While the usual actors rehearse before shooting, he preferred to drink alcohol before acting on the set. A self-proclaimed recluse at age 20, he admitted that his drinking habits were ruining his body as well as his social life.
Although he seemed to be on a downward spiral, he was able to straighten things out. He decided to become sober for his sake, and not for other people. He went on to say that by avoiding alcohol, he discovered “a world of happiness” that he didn’t think was possible.
5. Elton John
The “Rocket Man” Elton John is a world-famous performer with a handful of awards under his belt. While he is delighted with all these accolades, he is prouder of the fact that he has been sober for 30 years (and counting.)
His descent to addiction can be attributed to Elton’s easy access to alcohol and drugs. This harmful mix caused him to collapse several times – yet he always found a way to do the whole thing all over again.
His journey to recovery came at an unlikely time – during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. With all his antics, he was lucky enough to be HIV negative.
Ryan White, who contracted the disease via blood transfusions, was not that fortunate though.
Meeting the hemophiliac changed Elton’s life for the good – he built the Elton John AIDS Foundation in his memory. Most importantly, this prodded Elton to clean his act up. Happily flaunting his sobriety badge on Instagram, he commends Alcoholics Anonymous for helping him tread the path to recovery.
6. Drew Barrymore
Barrymore is perhaps one of the first child actors who got entangled with alcohol and substance addiction. While her exposure to the depraved Hollywood life was one factor, her familial tendencies have played a role as well. His grandfather John drank himself to death, while his father, John Drew, was an alcoholic actor who was prone to violent outbursts.
Her descent towards addiction started at the surprisingly young age of 7. Instead of sprinkles or chocolate chips, Barrymore topped her ice cream with Bailey’s. She became addicted to drugs at age 12 and had been placed under rehab for that. She then tried to kill herself at 13, and for that, she had another stint at rehab. After going in and out of treatment houses, Barrymore finally attained sobriety at age 14.
7. Demi Lovato
Everybody knew Lovato as the charming girl-next-door with her teenybopper portrayals for the Disney Channel. But deep behind this seemingly innocent exterior was a girl who was struggling with alcoholism, drug abuse, bulimia, and suicidal tendencies.
Her bad habits affected her career so much so that she was forced to drop out of a Jonas Brothers concert. She entered Timberline Knolls rehab and subsequently resided in a sober-living facility in Los Angeles to control her compulsions. Her long journey to sobriety finally materialized on March 15, 2012.
Unfortunately, she had a relapse in 2018, an event she chronicled in her hit song “Sober.” Lovato was quick to re-straighten up her act after this, telling her fans on Twitter that she was “happy and clean” and was grateful for her fans’ support.
Note that these people were at the peak of their careers when alcoholism dragged them down – some even to the point of no return. Despite the obstacles, they managed to overcome the hurdles of alcohol abuse. Hopefully, this could serve as an inspiration for people who are still struggling with their drinking problems. Remember, with the right motivation, you can recover from alcohol just like these famous people.