Making the choice to get sober is a hard and intimate decision. There are many factors that come with choosing to adopt a sober lifestyle, from mental and physical health to personal relationships. But hearing the stories of others, especially those in the public eye, can inspire those who are just beginning their own journey to sobriety.
5 Celebrities in Recovery and How They Got Sober
When someone decides to get sober, the fact that there have been many sober people, even sober celebrities, who have chosen the same path can be very comforting. Learning more about the personal sobriety journeys of others, and how they made their sobriety work for them, can be helpful when just starting out.
With this in mind, here are the personal stories of five celebrities and how they chose to live a sober lifestyle.
Nicole Richie, adopted daughter of 70s/80s pop singer Lionel Richie, had a rough start in life. With her biological parents unable to provide a stable home, Lionel and his wife adopted her as a child. From that point, Nicole had every advantage that being the child of an affluent celebrity affords.
However, by the time she entered high school, Nicole’s adoptive parents were having marital trouble. This is when “things started going south” and Nicole’s drug use began, including frequent use of cocaine and prescription pills. During her college years, Nicole started to abuse heroin. Then at the age of 22, Nicole enrolled in a month-long co-ed detox program for heroin addiction, followed by a few weeks at another rehab facility to address her cocaine use.
After achieving fame via the reality TV show The Simple Life, Nicole admitted that she turned to drugs to cope with her difficult family life. Although her time at the rehab and detox centers helped, an unexpected pregnancy gave her the biggest push to give up drugs and partying.
Today, Nicole is thirteen years sober, still married to the father of her children, and raising her two children: Harlow, age 13, and Sparrow, age 11. Once they’re old enough to understand the complex disease of addiction, Nicole intends to be fully transparent with them about her struggles with substance abuse.
Demi Lovato has battled substance abuse issues since 2009 and has been quite candid about her struggles in recent years. As a Disney child star-turned-pop star, Demi turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with having been bullied and labeled an outcast in school. Additionally, the young starlet tried cocaine in hope of better understanding “what [her father] found in drugs and alcohol.”
In 2010, Demi enrolled at a treatment center for the first time, seeking help for her drug addiction in addition to a tendency to inflict self-harm. Soon after, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mental affliction that likely contributed to Demi’s continued used of drugs and alcohol after getting out of rehab. A wakeup call came in 2018 when the pop singer suffered an overdose.
According to Demi, “tough love” from her parents gave her the strength to get sober. She was further motivated by the fact that she was prohibited from seeing her little sister until she got clean.
After two years of sobriety, Demi opened up about her addiction and mental health journey. She frequently uses social media to share her daily struggles to stay sober, but her honesty and her personal story continue to lift the veil regarding the stigmatization of addiction and recovery.
British stand-up comedian Russell Brand admits that his addiction first started when he was a child. Feeling alienated, lonely, and confused, Russell turned to alcohol to cope with a very poor self-image. Before long, his alcohol abuse gave way to heroin use. When he realized his drug use was impeding his career, Russell joined a 12-step program.
Even though he has worked many 12-step programs for heroin addiction and alcoholism, Russell Brand actually attributes his 20-year sobriety to spirituality and meditation. Today, Brand is a major advocate for addiction recovery and is incredibly open about his own journey to sobriety. He has shared about his extensive struggles with many different addictions, from pornography and social media addictions to heroin and alcohol addictions. He has written books documenting his path to sobriety, created a podcast about staying sober, and even released a Netflix series on the subject, titled Re: Birth.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Born to a young mother who suffered from her own drug addiction, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith grew up in a less-than-stable household. In fact, Jada has described her childhood neighborhood as a “war zone” that was “drug-infested.”
From a young age, Jada had access to hard drugs like cocaine and was abusing alcohol by the time she was a teenager. In her twenties, Jada became a drug dealer and considers her friendship with up-and-coming rapper Tupac Shakur as having extended the longevity of her addiction.
Eventually, Jada realized she needed to get sober. She was able to completely quit drugs and alcohol once she understood the root of her triggers and what led her to use substance abuse as a means to escape.
Jada wrote on Facebook:
I've learned that recovery isn't just for those suffering from substance abuse, but that recovery is about recovering from our traumas, abuse, neglect, abandonment, lack of self-worth, disappointments, failed relationships, the loss of loved ones, and so on.
As of 2021, Jada has been sober for 24 years.
In 2017, actor Brad Pitt publicly announced that he was sober after struggling with alcoholism throughout his marriage with ex-wife Angelina Jolie. According to Pitt, his alcoholism caused his emotions to spiral out of control while also causing pain for his family.
After Jolie filed for divorce in 2016, Pitt became motivated to stop drinking and ultimately joined Alcoholic Anonymous (AA). He worked the program for 18 months and describes his all-male AA program as a “safe space where there was little judgement and, therefore, little judgment of yourself.”
Additionally, Pitt credits friend and fellow sober actor Bradley Cooper for inspiring him to become completely sober. He has been sober for four years.
Walk the Red Carpet of Recovery at Our Los Angeles Detox Program
As these stories show, celebrities struggle with many of the same things as the rest of us. Even though each person’s path through addiction and into recovery is unique, the thing to remember is that you are never alone during your recovery process.
If you are thinking about getting clean, then our detox center in Los Angeles is here for you. The professionals at DetoxLA can help you take the first steps on the journey toward sobriety in a safe, encouraging, and inclusive environment. Contact us today for more information.