There are stereotypes about what addiction looks like, but the reality is that addiction can affect people from all different walks of life. And just as there is no one-size-fits-all mold for addiction, everyone’s journey to sobriety is different. Here are five celebrities who have always been vocal about their relationship with drugs and alcohol, what they have learned along the way, and what we can learn from them.
Bradley Cooper – demonstrates how sobriety allows us to succeed as our true selves.
The A Star is Born actor opened up about his relationship with alcohol and prescription painkillers back in 2012, revealing that he made the decision to get sober at the age of 29 after an incident that resulted in him cutting his head open on a concrete floor. Since then he has credited his sobriety not only for his success but for saving his life. Now, with over a decade of sobriety under his belt, he has received an Oscar nomination for his role as Jackson Maine, a musician battling alcoholism and drug addiction ⎼ a role that hits too close to home for him. “I really want anybody who knows deeply about this disease to say, ‘Yeah, this is the reflection of what it’s like.’ Not a glossy version, but the real reality of what it is to be an addict,” he said during an interview with NPR.
Steven Tyler – reminds us that recovery is not easy, but it is definitely worth it.
The Aerosmith lead singer has never shied away from sharing his struggles with drugs and alcohol. And in a recent interview with GQ magazine, he shared how his drinking and drug use rapidly shifted from fun to an addiction that started to derail his life and career. Faced with an ultimatum from his band – get help or get out – he decided to go to rehab. But the road to sobriety has not been easy. And while Tyler has relapsed in the past, he is not worried about staying sober this time around. “I don’t worry. I know it’s possible,” he says as he proudly celebrates nine years of sobriety.
Vince Staples – shows us that being young and sober is not only possible but ideal.
Being a 25-year-old successful rapper who has never done drugs or been drunk sets the Long Beach rapper apart from most in the music industry. But for Staples, drug use has always been the last thing on his mind. “Where I come from, people don’t use drugs in a recreational sense…people use drugs as a coping mechanism, and I’ve always held that reality. Reality hurts, but so does addiction — it’s just which pain you choose,” he shared during a recent interview. Staples, who was exposed to addiction from an early age due to his father’s struggle with the disease, has seen firsthand how destructive drugs and alcohol can be. Vince Staples has never wanted to try drugs and is now working to normalize a straight-edge lifestyle.
Demi Lovato – encourages us to never lose hope, even in the face of relapse.
The ex-Disney star turned Grammy-nominated singer has been battling addiction since she was a teen. Through interviews, her own song lyrics, and her mental health advocacy – Lovato has been an open book to her fans, shining a light on the important role that honesty plays in recovery. The ups and downs throughout her recovery have been well documented across headlines, making her a target for criticism but also a source of hope and strength for many who are also struggling. Lovato, who relapsed after six years of sobriety, recently celebrated six months of sobriety and continues to fight her way back to long-term recovery.
Danny Trejo – proves that long-term recovery is possible.
“The hardest man in Hollywood” has had a successful career playing the villain and antihero of many movies, but his journey to fame and success was far from easy. Trejo tried heroin at the age of 12 and his life began derailing shortly after. Battling addiction and spending over a decade in and out of jail, he never imagined he would be where he is now: a successful actor, champion boxer, restauranteur, and recovery advocate. Trejo attributes his new life and almost five decades of sobriety to the 12 Step program. “Everything good that’s ever happened to me came out of helping others,” he says. And as part of his commitment to recovery, Trejo advocates for those struggling with addiction. “God put me here to talk to kids and to talk to drunks and help addicts. He gave me this ‘job’ which makes it a lot easier to get through to people,” he shares.