Though there is still something of a stigma attached to it, the problem of alcohol abuse and addiction is much more common than people might realize. It is so common that it’s easy to find notable personalities and sober celebrities in recovery from alcohol. While it’s difficult for researchers to report an accurate number on how many people battle alcohol addiction, most people either know of someone, or might even have a person in their family that struggles with an alcohol use disorder. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition that impairs a person’s ability to stop or control alcohol use, even when their drinking leads to damaging social, professional, and personal health consequences. An alcohol use disorder is a treatable condition and taking the first step to ask for professional help can be one of the most rewarding things a person can do for himself or herself. Alcohol treatment programs have shown to be effective for overcoming alcohol misuse as well as getting to the root causes of addiction.
Sober Celebrities and Famous Alcoholics
Though celebrities are often placed on a pedestal, the only difference between them and the average person is that their profession and actions often crossover into the public eye. It can be helpful, however, to learn about famous people who have struggled with alcohol addiction, then sought professional help and are now living a happy and sober life in recovery. Even those considered a functioning alcoholic have found life to be better when not drinking. Many sober celebrities have shared his or her story publicly so everyone who is struggling with alcohol will understand there’s no shame in seeking help, and recovery is possible.
Here are 9 Sober Celebrities in Recovery for Alcoholism
1. Robert Downey Jr.
Having lived his life in the spotlight for decades, Robert Downey Jr. famously and very publicly struggled with alcohol and drug abuse in the 1990s. The actor also did time at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Center and State Prison as a result of his addictions. In a 2014 Vanity Fair interview, Downey Jr., who had been to treatment multiple times and continued to relapse, talked about the importance of changing his behavior. “So the thing is to get out and recognize the significance of that aggressive denial…”
2. Drew Barrymore
Host of the daytime talk show “The Drew Barrymore Show,” Drew Barrymore has lived the majority of her life in the limelight, first as a child actor and, later, in her adult career. She initially kept her journey into recovery from alcohol a private matter, until she was about two years sober. “I just want to figure this out and go about this with no profession, no public anything, and now it’s been long enough where I’m in a lifestyle that I know is really working a little high road for my journey, and there’s so much peace finally being had where there were demons,” Barrymore said to CBS’s Gayle King during an interview.
3. Ben Affleck
A giant celebrity for many years now, Ben Affleck‘s introduction to the world started with the film “Goodwill Hunting.” The actor has since had something of a public struggle with alcohol abuse, having gone to treatment several times between 2001 and 2018. It’s been reported that many of the relationship struggles Affleck has dealt with were related to his battle with alcohol. “I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction; something I’ve dealt with in the past and will continue to confront. I want to live life to the fullest and be the best father I can be,” he wrote on his Facebook page in 2017.
4. Miley Cyrus
Many people grew up with Miley Cyrus as she portrayed Miley Stewart on the show “Hannah Montana,” where she played a teenage girl living a double life as a pop star. The actress, singer, and songwriter shared that she has a family history of addiction. She took her first step in sobriety when she had to have vocal surgery. “I’ve been sober for the past six months. At first it was just about this vocal surgery,” Cosmopolitan reports. “It’s really hard, especially being young, there’s that stigma that ‘you’re no fun.’ I don’t want to wake up feeling groggy. I want to wake up feeling ready.”
5. Ewan McGregor
An award winning actor with one of the most impressive resumes in the acting business, Ewan McGregor came to the attention of the world in a gritty film about heroin addiction called “Trainspotting.” In a 2005 interview with Playboy Magazine, the actor said he’d stopped drinking before it destroyed his life. “I knew I was lucky, and somehow, I knew that if I didn’t stop, everything would go tits up — my career, my family, my everything,” McGregor said.
6. Jamie Lee Curtis
As a longtime Hollywood staple, Jamie Lee Curtis made her film debut in the 1978 horror film franchise “Halloween.” Married to fellow actor Christopher Guest, the actress talked about addiction in a 2018 People Magazine interview. “Getting sober remains my single greatest accomplishment, bigger than my husband, bigger than both of my children, and bigger than any work, success, failure. Anything,” she said.
7. Colin Farrell
Often considered Hollywood’s bad boy, the acclaimed Irish actor Colin Farrell battled alcoholism for many years, though in 2017 he celebrated 10 years of sobriety on “The Ellen Show.” Interestingly enough, it was reported that Farrell then checked himself into rehab in 2018 as a preventative measure to relapse. “I’m grateful that I’m actually alive,” Farrell told Details Magazine, adding that giving up alcohol gave him “eight hours a day now that I didn’t have before, when I was drinking every day for 18 years.”
8. Bella Hadid
At just 25-years-old, supermodel Bella Hadid was thrust into the spotlight, making 27 appearances on the cover of Vogue Magazine. The model has been open about her struggles with mental health and how getting sober has made her feel more stable, more in control of her life. “I loved alcohol and it got to the point where even I started to, you know, cancel nights out that felt like I wouldn’t be able to control myself. I don’t feel the need to [drink alcohol now] because I know how it will affect me at 3 in the morning when I wake up with horrible anxiety,” she told InStyle Magazine.
9. Kit Harrington
The HBO series “Game of Thrones” captured the attention of the world, and Kit Harrington, who portrayed Jon Snow on the show, was caught up in the chaos of it all. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Harrington explained how he battled depression, developed an addiction to alcohol, and ultimately sought treatment. “Getting sober is the process of going, ‘No, I can change,'” he said in the interview. It really helped…the idea that I could make this huge fundamental change in who I was and how I went about my life.”
23 More Sober Celebrities and Famous Alcoholics
There’s an almost endless list of famous alcoholics, just as there are regular people in society who have problems with alcohol. Some lived with drinking issues their entire life by not going to rehab or overcoming addiction. Fortunately, the stigma of addiction and mental health issues is slowly being erased and more people are speaking out about the virtues of treatment. Sober celebrities who have gone public with their stories of recovery can serve as motivation for everyone who has a problem with alcohol.
Other Famous Alcoholics and Sober Celebrities
Here is a short list of other famous people who struggled with alcohol addiction and have spoken out about their recovery. Some have gone years without a drink, while others are still fairly new to the process and working hard at it every day.
- Bradley Cooper
- Samuel L. Jackson
- Matthew Perry
- Michael Phelps
- Dax Shepard
- Russell Brand
- Nicki Minaj
- Jessica Simpson
- Kat Von D
- Eric Clapton
- Rob Lowe
- Kristin Davis
- Keith Urban
- Tim McGraw
- John Goodman
- Elton John
- Mary J. Blige
- Alice Cooper
- Demi Moore
- John Stamos
- Eva Mendes
We applaud all of these sober celebrities for sharing their stories so others can see that recovery is possible and anyone can conquer alcohol addiction. Photo Credits:
- Robert Downey Jr., Ben Affleck, Jamie Lee Curtis, Colin Farrell, Kit Harrington by Gage Skidmore
- Ewan McGregor, Bella Hadid by Georges Biard
- Drew Barrymore by Glyn Lowe