'There Was a Lot of Pain': 23 Stars on Their Experiences with Addiction
Brad Pitt on "Exposing the Ugly Side of Yourself" in Alcoholics Anonymous.
“I had taken things as far as I could take it, so I removed my drinking privileges ... You had all these men sitting around being open and honest in a way I have never heard. It was this safe space where there was little judgment, and therefore little judgment of yourself ... It was actually really freeing just to expose the ugly sides of yourself. There’s great value in that.”
—to The New York Times
Jason Wahler on Making Amends
“Part of the process of recovery and living your life sober is making amends and I made amends to Lauren [Conrad]... It’s freeing. When you can take ownership of your actions and let people know you truly want to make things right and you apologize and you take the actions to fix what you did, it feels good.”
—on E! News' Just the Sip
Elton John on Asking For Help
"29 years ago today, I was a broken man. I finally summoned up the courage to say 3 words that would change my life: 'I need help.' Thank you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety. I am eternally grateful."
Dylan McDermott on Sobriety Being His "Greatest Accomplishment"
"Staying sober has been my greatest accomplishment. I say that because I was able to show up for myself in every way possible. In the most turbulent and best of times I had the rock of the 12 steps to guide me. I was able to be a father, son, brother and friend."
Demi Lovato on Looking Forward to The Day She Can Say She "Came Out On the Other Side"
"I have always been transparent about my journey with addiction. What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet. I want to thank God for keeping me alive and well. To my fans, I am forever grateful for all of your love and support throughout this past week and beyond. Your positive thoughts and prayers have helped me navigate through this difficult time. I want to thank my family, my team, and the staff at Cedars-Sinai who have been by my side this entire time. Without them, I wouldn’t be here writing this letter to all of you. I now need time to heal and focus on my sobriety and road to recovery. The love you have all shown me will never be forgotten and I look forward to the day where I can say I came out on the other side. I will keep fighting.”
Nicole Richie on Her Former Drug Use
“I got so much so fast that nothing really excited me anymore. I kind of took matters into my own hands and was creating drama in a very dangerous way. I think I was just bored, and I had seen everything — especially when you’re young, you just want more … At 18, I had just been doing a lot of cocaine. [After becoming addicted to heroin in her early 20s], I, again, made the decision for myself, this is something I have to do. I have to get off drugs. This isn’t the life … this was heroin.”
Lil Xan on His Past Struggles With Drug Abuse Informing His Music
"In the beginning of 2017, I had my own demons with the drug Xanax. It got out of hand, so I wanted to make a movement, Xanarchy, about just nothing but anti-Xan use and that's really what I'm trying to promote in ‘Betrayed.’ … You gotta get off that stuff, man, it's not good for you.”
DENNIS QUAID ON ENDING HIS 'LOVE AFFAIR' WITH COCAINE
"I was basically doing cocaine pretty much on a daily basis during the ’80s... I had what I call a white light experience where I saw myself either dead or losing everything that meant anything to me. That was the end of the love affair with me and cocaine."
— on Megyn Kelly TODAY
SIMON PEGG ON HIDING HIS ADDICTION
"One thing [addiction] does is make you clever at not giving anything away. People think junkies and alcoholics are slovenly, unmotivated people. They’re not — they’re incredibly organized. They can nip out for a quick shot of whiskey and you wouldn’t know they have gone. It’s as if you are micromanaged by it. But eventually the signs are too obvious. You have taken the dog for one too many walks." — to The Guardian
FRANCES BEAN COBAIN ON GETTING SOBER
"Self-destruction and toxic consumption and deliverance from pain is a lot easier to adhere to. Undeniably, for myself and those around me becoming present is the best decision I have ever made."
— on Instagram
JOHN MAYER ON TAKING A BREAK
"One year ago today, I decided to give drinking a break. A very personal thing for everyone. For me, a constant return on investment. I post this because I want people to know that 'that's enough for now' is on the menu, so to speak." — on Twitter
ED SHEERAN ON HIS WAKE UP CALL
“I think you need to, when you get into the industry, adjust to it — and I didn't adjust because I was constantly working on tour. And all the pitfalls that people read about, I just found myself slipping into all of them. Mostly, like, substance abuse. I never touched anything. I started slipping into it, and that's why I took a year off and buggered off. I didn't really notice it was happening. It just started gradually happening, and then some people took me to one side and were like, 'Calm yourself down'… It's all fun to begin with, it all starts off as a party and then you're doing it on your own and it's not, so that was a wake-up call and taking a year off." — on The Jonathan Ross Show
ALEC BALDWIN ON GETTING SOBER AT A YOUNG AGE
"I got sober when I was just about to turn 27. And those two years that I lived in that white, hot period, as a daily drug abuser, as a daily drinker … to my misery, boy, that was a tough time. There was really, really a lot of pain in there. A lot of pain. I think I was one of the people who was lucky that [sobriety] stuck, and therefore if I didn't get it then, I think I would've got it eventually. Not many people get sober when they're young." — to Good Morning America.
KATEY SAGAL ON HOW HER MOTHER'S STRUGGLE INFLUENCED HER OWN
“When I was 12, we lived on the same block as Judy Garland. Her daughter Lorna Luft and I became neighborhood buddies. Lorna’s mom had a lot of pills on her bedside table and slept past noon just like my mom. We hung tight. And, of course, I thought everyone’s mom took a lot of pills." — in her memoir Grace Notes: My Recollections
DERYCK WHIBLEY ON REALIZING HE HAD A PROBLEM
"Before I went into the hospital, when I was still drinking every day, the clearest thought that I could have was that, 'This is probably not good, and I’m going to have to deal with this eventually — just not right now.' So I knew that it wasn’t great, I just thought I was going to fix it, like, tomorrow. When I woke up sober in the hospital, I knew instantly how bad it was and what had gotten me there and that I wasn’t going to drink anymore. I was so done with it. If anything, it almost felt like a bit of freedom: 'Finally, something has stopped this whole cycle.' " – to PEOPLE
THE WEEKND ON USING DRUGS AS 'A CRUTCH'
"When I had nothing to do but make music, it was very heavy. Drugs were a crutch for me. There were songs on my first record that were seven minutes long, rambling – whatever thoughts I was having when I was under the influence at the time. I can’t see myself doing that now." – to The Guardian
DEMI LOVATO ON SURVIVING
"I am one of the 1 in 7 people who has faced addiction, and I am grateful to be in recovery today. It’s time for us all to reflect, and start @facingaddiction. Let’s stop ignoring the biggest problem in our country we often don’t want to look at. We all are connected to this issue one way or another and we all need to be part of the solution. Together we can replace shame with support, hope, and healing." – on Instagram
JAMIE LEE CURTIS ON BEING IN RECOVERY FOR 17 YEARS
"So, awaiting final toxicology, it has now been reported in the New York Times that Prince was toxic. I can relate. I was toxic too. I too, waited anxiously for a prescription to be filled for the opiate I was secretly addicted to. I too, took too many at once. I too, sought to kill emotional and physical pain with painkillers. Kill it. Make it stop." – in the Huffington Post
KRISTEN BELL ON LOVING SOMEONE WHO STRUGGLED WITH ADDICTION
“My husband is in recovery and is almost 13 years sober. Seeing the world through his eyes has really opened mine to knowing that it is a disease and nobody is choosing to drink more than others. They are doing it because of a variety of reasons and they deserve the attention of a mental health professional, and not the county jail or however else we’re choosing to pretend we’re fixing the problem." – to E! News
MACKLEMORE ON GETTING HOOKED ON OXYCONTIN
"Within a week I was isolated in my room doing this drug just to stay alive in a way." – to President Obama in Prescription for Change: Ending America’s Opioid Crisis
STACEY DASH ON BECOMING ADDICTED TO COCAINE AT AGE 16
"I couldn’t find happiness. It got to a point where I didn’t even want to live anymore. The voice in my head was saying, 'There's nothing here for you.' " – to PEOPLE
LADY GAGA ON THE STRESSES OF FAME
"I’ve been addicted to various things since I was young. Most heavily over the past seven years. A friend gave me this term, ‘I lily pad from substance to substance,’ because I get to a point where I can’t go any further with one substance so I move to another. But, the truth is that it is very hard to be famous. It’s wonderful to be famous because I have amazing fans. But it is very, very hard to go out into the world when you are not feeling happy and act like you are because I am a human being too and I break, and I think there is an assumption ... that I cannot break because I am an alien woman and I am unstoppable.” – to Z100
RUSSELL BRAND ON SOCIETY'S TREATMENT OF ADDICTS
"Philip Seymour Hoffman's death is a reminder, though, that addiction is indiscriminate. That it is sad, irrational and hard to understand. What it also clearly demonstrates is that we are a culture that does not know how to treat its addicts. Would Hoffman have died if this disease were not so enmeshed in stigma? If we weren't invited to believe that people who suffer from addiction deserve to suffer? Would he have OD’d if drugs were regulated, controlled and professionally administered?" - in The Guardian