4 Celebrities That Are Crushing the Stigma of Substance AddictionApril 4, 2016 Life in Recovery
If you’ve ever been through treatment for substance addiction, you know the power of community. Sharing your experience is kind of a right of passage in alcohol or drug addiction recovery and it’s amazing how using your voice to tell your story can be so inspiring to others recovering from drug abuse. These celebrities totally get it. They’ve been there and done that and now they are using their voice and their position to help others beat the disease of addiction and to help spread the word to eradicate the stigma of substance addiction.
Russell Brand Tells His Substance Addiction Story
The actor and comedian’s addictive behavior began when he was just a child, starting from binge eating chocolate, to “becoming obsessed with pornography” and thus graduating to drug and alcohol abuse. He’s been sober for over 12 years and has made it his mission to eradicate the stigma of addiction as well as change the way we all deal with it as a society.
One of the ways he aimed to accomplish that was by making a the documentary Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery. He said he felt compelled to make the film after the death of close friend and singer, Amy Winehouse. In the film, he challenged the questionable ways in which society approaches and deals with addicts and addiction.
He believes in the disease model of addiction and thinks that without first understanding addiction from this point of view, you can’t understand the addict.
“If anything positive can come of the death of Philip Seymour, it’s that. His death doesn’t make sense unless you accept that addiction is an illness. It doesn’t make sense any other way. Otherwise, you think ‘hang on a minute why he’d do that?’”
He also strongly believes that drugs should be decriminalized.
“I’m not a legal expert. I’m saying that, to a drug addict, the legal aspect is irrelevant. If you need to get drugs, you will. The criminal and legal status, I think, sends the wrong message. Being arrested isn’t a lesson, it’s just an administrative blip.”
Demi Lovato’s Struggles with Drugs and Alcohol Abuse
Demi has been open about her struggles with addiction and mental illness. She went into rehab in 2010 due to a drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorder, and mental issues including cutting. While in treatment, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
“Mental illnesses in general, they’re not talked about as much as they should [be],” she explained. “I would love for people to become more educated.”
Lovato is a mental health advocate for Be Vocal: Speak Up For Mental Health, an organization that. She also understands the lack of addiction education that is prevalent in the US today.
“I wish that more people can understand from a point where it’s not a choice to have an addiction,” she told Today. “And with bipolar disorder, it’s a chemical imbalance and it’s something that you have to figure out your own treatment with your own team. In order to do that, it takes time.”
Macklemore Sings to Destroy Stigma of Substance Addiction
Rapper Macklemore has been very openly candid about tough topics including drug addiction and his experience with drugs and alcohol.
“I have a problem with any drug. I’m going to take a s—-ton of Ambien and walk around,” he said.
“It’s been a struggle the past year,” he said in March 2013. “It’s very important to go into the rooms of AA, smell the shitty coffee and be reminded that without sobriety, I would have no career.”
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis debuted a new song entitled “Kevin” at the American Music Awards in late 2015 and it’s a song all about how doctors overprescribe narcotics like oxycodone.
He’s even been open about his sobriety as well as a recent relapse that he said stemmed from the struggle of life on the road.
Wes Bentley Wants You to Know: You Can Recover
Bentley started doing heroin as a way to escape expectations. You might remember him from his breakout role in the Oscar winning 1999 film, American Beauty starring opposite Kevin Spacey. The attention from such a huge role pushed him over the edge. As he slipped further into his addiction his career began to backslide skipping out on meetings with big directors, losing many opportunities as a result of his addiction.
“There’s a stigma that it’s the one you can’t beat, and it is an awful one,” said Bentley. “It is the devil. It’s a beast, and it creates a beast out of you. But that’s partly why I wanted to talk about it, because there’s people out there who are still addicted, and they might not think you can get past it either. But I want to show them that you can.”
He got sober, made his Hollywood comeback, and has been vocal about his recovery as well as the stigma of addiction.
“I mean, I have to work on it every day still, as you know, but I just want people out there to know…that it is beatable and you can live an amazing, happy life.”