Loneliness and Addiction
Loneliness and addiction has been an issue for a long time, but now it is even more of a concern because of COVID-19 and lockdown orders in place.
The United States – still in the grip of the nation’s worst addiction epidemic in history – lost over 700,000 people between 1999 and 2017 to drug overdoses. On average, 130 Americans die every day from an overdose related to Opioids. Approximately 1.7 million Americans have a diagnosable addiction to prescription Opioids (such as OxyContin® or hydrocodone). Another 652,000 people suffer from addiction to Heroin. Celebrities are no different and their journey to recovery can be just as challenging. Below are 10 celebrities who have found recovery from Opioid addiction and continue to promote sobriety.
The universally-beloved Iron Man actor was first introduced to drugs by his father at the age of 6. In the years that followed, Downey recounts experimenting with a range of substances, including mixing alcohol with heroin and amphetamines. After multiple failed attempts at sobriety in and out of rehab and jail, Downey checked himself into rehab in 2001. It took six years of sobriety and working to regain the trust of studio heads before he was cast in both Iron Man and Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder in 2007.
Job one is get out of that cave. A lot of people do get out but don’t change. So the thing is to get out and recognize the significance of that aggressive denial of your fate, come through the crucible forged into a stronger metal.
With just 30 days at a rehab center, you can get clean and sober, start therapy, join a support group, and learn ways to manage your cravings.
August Alsina, too, grew up with parents addicted to drugs. While he witnessed the damage crack cocaine had on his family, he failed to see the destructive power of prescription painkillers until it was too late. Following hospitalization for exhaustion (where he was in a coma for 3 days, dying twice), his doctor prescribed Percocet® for pain. After a tearful phone call from longtime friend, Jada Pinkett-Smith, he made the decision to seek recovery.
Because it’s coming from a doctor, you feel like, what am I doing wrong?
While promoting A Star Is Born with Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper opened up about his own history with prescription drug abuse and alcoholism – similar to his character in the movie, Jackson Maine. The Hangover star has been sober since the age of 29 but admits the trauma of addiction and his journey to recovery helped make him the healthy, focused celebrity he is today.
I wouldn’t have been able to have access to myself or other people, or even been able to take in other people, if I hadn’t changed my life. I never would have been able to have the relationships that I do. I never would have been able to take care of my father the way I did when he was sick. So many things.
The pressure of being on the immensely popular Friends and chronic pain landed Matthew Perry in rehab twice for a Vicodin® addiction. The Fools Rush In actor has also been treated for addictions to alcohol, amphetamines, and methadone (an opioid addiction treatment medication sometimes abused by people seeking to “come down” from heroin). After his recovery, Perry went on to open a sober house and lobby Congress to allow more drug courts.
Drug courts are the single most effective program for curing serious drug addicts for life-long recovery.
Before Eminem released Recovery, an album detailing the depths of his addiction to prescription drugs, the emcee had severe opioid and benzodiazepine addictions. What began with misusing Vicodin to feel “mellow”, spiraled into a dependence on a cocktail of prescriptions, including Xanax® and Valium®. He credits his love for his young daughter, Hailie Scott Mathers (now 23), for his dedication to recovery and continued sobriety.
It’s been a learning process, I’m growing. I couldn’t believe that anybody could be naturally happy without being on something. So, I would say to anybody, “It does get better.”
Six years after his mega-successful role as King Leonidas of Sparta in 300, Gerard Butler suffered an injury while filming the surfer movie Chasing Mavericks. After receiving a prescription for painkillers, he eventually became dependent on them. In 2012, he checked himself into the Betty Ford Center, where he describes being ‘ripped apart’ by rehab and realizing how his choices affected his addiction.
I’m glad I did it… They really do rip you apart [in rehab]. You get rid of a bunch of s**t, realize a bunch more s**t, and you make a plan.
Before Macklemore rose to fame with “Thrift Shop”, he was drinking alcohol alone in his parents’ home as a 13-year-old. In his twenties, he describes becoming addicted to OxyContin – even nicknaming it “synthetic heroin”. When his addiction began to seriously jeopardize his relationships as well as the career as a musician he hoped to have, he turned to rehab. Since then, he’s become a vocal advocate for the recovery community. Working with Ryan Lewis and President Barack Obama, he released the documentary Prescription for Change: Ending America’s Opioid Crisis in 2016.
It’s a progressive disease, it gets worse with time. And I always felt that I could control it by myself, that I could take this drug out or just do this, but it didn’t work and it got worse… Going to a treatment facility, I was given the tools and the counseling to figure out how to stay sober.
Howard Hughes is well-known for his brilliance in aviation engineering and his work in Hollywood (he even produced the original Scarface). In 1946, a plane crash left him with severe, chronic pain. Consequently, after years of dependence on narcotic painkillers, the towering 6’4” figure had shrunk to 6’1’ by the time of his death. Receiving drugs like phenacetin, codeine, and Valium, he would sometimes inject them intravenously, resulting in the kidney damage that took his life.
Party girl daughter of Lionel Richie, socialite, and Simple Life star, Nicole Richie, was once arrested for heroin possession and jailed for driving under the influence. While she may no longer be BFFs with Paris Hilton, the 36-year-old mom and fashion designer believes it’s important to be honest with her children about her addiction and the recovery that saved her life.
What I can do is use that experience as a tool for when my kids get older. They know that people have died from drugs because they go to school and it happens.
The now 71-year-old rock legend, Steven Tyler, has claimed he spent over $2 million “easy” on illicit substances. As the front man for Aerosmith, Tyler says he’s had serious addiction to heroin, alcohol, cocaine, and (most recently) prescription Opioids in 2009. Despite knowing how much he was hurting his family, his band, and himself, Tyler says addiction didn’t allow him to care about any of it. Nonetheless, he’s been able to recover each time he’s relapsed.
I’m telling you all my truth. I am a drug addict and alcoholic, and fighting it every day.
Because up to 60% of people with an addiction relapse, addiction specialists emphasize ongoing support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous as well as detox and rehab when required. Below are a 8 celebrities who did not find recovery from their Opioid addiction in time to save their lives.
It’s never too late to find sobriety. If you or someone you know needs help finding detox and rehab options, contact a dedicated recovery professional now for more information.