The only thing people in recovery love more than celebrities are sober celebrities. Even though we don’t personally know them, Hollywood stars are a constant source of inspiration day in and day out. The following celebrities have had their battles with substance abuse and addiction, but their journey to recovery riddled with lessons, hurdles, and teachable moments which eventually improved their well-being and provided a foundation to flourish in recovery. If you are in recovery or still struggling with substance abuse, the following quotes provide wisdom and inspiration for your recovery journey.
10 Sober Celebrities Share Their Inspiring Stories (with Quotes)
#10 Drew Barrymore
“Life is very interesting…in the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths.”
A classic Hollywood kid, Drew Barrymore grew up on set. Early success (she starred in Steven Spielberg’s, ET, at just seven years old), an unavailable mother, and a very present father who struggled with alcoholism himself set the stage for Drew’s struggle with substance abuse. After the divorce of her parents when she was nine years old, her mother took her to nightclubs several times a week, where she began taking drugs, drinking alcohol, and mingling with much older men. She cut her wrists when she was 13 at which time her mother had her institutionalized and only rarely came to visit her. Later, Drew filed for emancipation from both her parents and was living on her own by age 14.
Her strained, toxic, and arguably non-existent relationship with her mother is something that Drew struggled with for years. Now a mother of three, she works hard to make sure her kids never feel the way she felt as a child. ‘I knew I would not repeat the mistakes of my parents. I knew I would never do that to a kid,” she told the Guardian.
#9 Jon Hamm
“I’ve gotten away with a lot in my life. The older you get, the more you realize you’re not getting away with it, it’s taking its toll somewhere. So you try not to put yourself in those situations. Part of the mysterious process called growing up. Some people do that better than others.”
When our favorite actors play roles (often as characters who live vastly different lives), it can be hard to separate what is real and what is just a part of the story. When Jon Hamm became known as Don Draper, an ad man whose life was ruled by his vices, no one suspected Hamm himself had any background or experience with substance abuse. That is until a New York Times profile was published in late 2017, where he divulged that he had spent some time in treatment for alcohol addiction back in 2015 (right around the time Mad Men was wrapping up its final season).
Hamm shared with Jim Windolf of the New York Times:
“Recalibrate. Re-evaluate. Just sort of re-establish where you are. You’re coming off of this Tilt-a-Whirl that’s going 9,000 miles an hour, and so many things have come unfixed. If you think about navigation, you’re trying to stare at a fixed point. When you navigate to something that’s whirling, it’s difficult. It’s all a learning experience. It’s all about growing older and getting better at living. And I hope I did.”
#8 Nicole Richie
When you think of Nicole Richie, you might be reminded of her reality TV series, The Simple Life, her very public DUI arrest, or her past cocaine and heroin use. For a long time, that is who she was. She grew up in the lap of luxury with the ability to have whatever she wanted whenever she wanted it which got boring for her pretty quickly. In response, she lashed out.
“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,” she told Diane Sawyer in 2007.
These days she more than just a washed-up reality TV star with a drug problem. She owns a successful clothing company, House of Harlow, and starred on NBC’s Great News produced by Tina Fey (and team). Richie is still brash and outspoken – she’s still herself – just without the drugs.
“I had lost relationships with my dad, my brother, and sister and I was just like, you know what, this is definitely the time just to get it together, and so that’s what I did.”
#7 Rob Lowe
“Being in recovery has given me everything of value that I have in my life,” Lowe told a crowd of about 1,000 people at The Brent Shapiro Foundation Summer Spectacular in Beverly Hills in 2015. He was accepting the Spirit of Sobriety award in honor of having 25 years clean. “Integrity, honesty, fearlessness, faith, a relationship with God, and most of all gratitude. It’s given me a beautiful family and an amazing career. I’m under no illusions where I would be without the gift of alcoholism and the chance to recover from it.”
Like many child actors in Hollywood, Lowe was introduced to drinking at a very young age. During the filming of the movie, The Outsiders, Lowe and the other actors were regularly provided with beers. A sex-tape scandal tarnished his name and reputation in 1988 fueling the progression of his addiction. He entered rehab and subsequently returned to acting in 1999.
#6 Kate Moss
“That was really a shameful, horrible moment. It had nothing to do with work. I’ve done enough therapy and enough work on myself. Addiction is not caused by stress on the job. It’s not about the work. It has more to do with your childhood and lots of other things. You’re always in recovery.”
You can’t think about the modeling world without Kate Moss. She was arguably one of the most famous supermodels of the ’90s and has “made” several fashion brands. However, what she’s also known for are scandals involving sex, drugs, and yes, rock and roll.
Like many others who have struggled with substance abuse, Moss was looking for love and approval but in all the wrong places. When she scored her first modeling gig (opening the show for Galliano), she was an overnight celebrity. Despite all the press and industry attention, Moss felt evermore alone. She went to the show’s after party and drank so much that she missed her flight the next day.
Years filled with drugs, alcohol and toxic relationships passed before she finally decided to try something new.
#5 Bradley Cooper
“I was so concerned [with] what you thought of me, how I was coming across, how I would survive the day,” he confessed. “I always felt like an outsider. I realized I wasn’t going to live up to my potential, and that scared the hell out of me.”
Bradley Cooper who starred in The Hangover (I, II, and III) which epitomized the fratboy party lifestyle, announced his sobriety in 2012 after he’d been sober for more than ten years.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Cooper recalls when he started to think that perhaps the sober life was for him. “I was at a party and deliberately bashed my head on the concrete floor — like, ‘Hey, look how tough I am!’ And I came up, and blood dripped down. And then I did it again. I spent the night at St. Vincent’s Hospital with a sock of ice, waiting for them to stitch me up.”
#4 Demi Lovato
“I’m very, very good at manipulating people and that was something that I did in my disease, I would manipulate everyone around me. There were times I would just continue to lie so that everything looked okay on the outside.”
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 psychological 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.”
#3 Robert Downey Jr.
Marvel fans may be in shock to learn Ironman himself wasn’t always a hero. In fact, Robert Downey Jr. was perhaps one of the most notorious bad boys of the early 90s. It took multiple failed relationships and spending time in the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison before sobriety stuck for good.
He told Vanity Fair in 2014:
“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. Or whatever. But I don’t even know if that was my experience. It’s funny: five years ago, I would’ve made it sound like I’m conscious of my own participation in seizing the similarities. But so many things have become less certain. I swear to God. I am not my story.”
#2 Angelina Jolie
“I went through heavy, darker times and I survived them. I didn’t die young, so I’m very lucky. There are other artists and people who didn’t survive certain things.”
The Girl, Interrupted actress, now 43, admitted to using “every drug possible.”
“I’ve done just about every drug possible. Coke, heroin, ecstasy, LSD, everything. The worst effect, for me, was pot. I felt silly and giggly, and I hate feeling like that,” she has said. “Those drugs can be dangerous if you don’t go into it positively. I gave them up long ago.”
#1 Daniel Radcliffe
“I change when I’m drunk. I’m one of those people who changes…There is something in any person who drinks in a way that’s clearly not good for them, something that is attracted to that chaos.”
The Harry Potter actor admitted that he was drunk on the set of filming the billion-dollar franchise (though he won’t say exactly which films). Though he never drank at work, he would drink so much the night prior he’d show up to work still drunk. Radcliffe attributes his relationship with alcohol to the pressures that fame brought him. He was desperately scared of becoming fully dependent on alcohol that he now abstains from alcohol altogether.
Watch 10 Celebrities Who Live a Successful Sober Life Now
Addiction affects people from all walks of life and with devastating consequences. If you are battling an addiction, you should remember that you aren’t alone. Recognizing that you are, indeed, fighting a battle is the first step toward recovery. However, the journey to sobriety doesn’t indeed begin, though, until you seek professional help for your substance abuse problem. With sound medical assistance and counseling, you can break the cycle of addiction and get your life back on track. Sobriety is something to work on every single day, and these celebs have battled their addictions successfully. You can succeed too by taking things one day at a time. If you find this collection of addiction recovery quotes inspirational, please share with someone who might need them. And remember: Don’t be ashamed of your story. It will inspire others.