Famous people in recovery force the disease of addiction out of the shadows and into the limelight. Their lives – a mixture of cautionary tale and hope –defeat the stigma of addiction and educate the public about recovery.
While too many high-profile celebrities die due to drug overdoses, there are others who get treatment and live successfully sober lives. Their willingness to admit addiction and work toward recovery gives others who are struggling many examples of ways to live better.
One of the most powerful and influential examples of addiction and recovery is former First Lady Betty Ford, wife of President Gerald Ford. Betty Ford battled alcohol and prescription painkiller addiction for many years before seeking treatment in 1978, a year after her husband lost the presidential election. Known for speaking candidly about many issues as first lady, including her breast cancer diagnosis, abortion, pre-marital sex, and equal rights, Ford later became a champion of addiction treatment. She founded, along with Leonard Firestone, the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California – a treatment facility that promotes awareness about addiction and is a model for many facilities.
Betty Ford’s willingness to make addiction a part of the national discussion and promote evidence-based treatments for the disease changed many people’s lives. Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks and Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler are among many celebrities who credit Ford’s work with helping them recover from addictions. Ford also lived in recovery for many years; she died at age 93 in 2011.
Robert Downey, Jr.
Known as a talented actor for decades and more recently famous for his portrayals as Iron Man, Robert Downey, Jr.’s addiction history is well known. He spent time at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison after a series of drug-related arrests, and says the experience highlighted his place in the world. He chose to focus on personal change instead of doing things the same way again. He sees himself as part of a community and is more humble. Downey also recognizes the hereditary aspect of addiction and the importance of being honest about family struggles and personal feelings.
While Downey battled serious addictions to cocaine, heroin, and other drugs before deciding to embrace recovery, his story is inspirational. It’s never too late to decide to get sober. There are treatments that give people the tools they need to make huge comebacks.
Heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne fought addiction for much of his life, relapsing many times. He was in and out of drug rehab while his band Black Sabbath found success on the world music scene. Later, older and living a quieter life, Osbourne landed many new fans by participating in a groundbreaking MTV reality show, “The Osbournes,” which ran from 2002 through 2005. Osbourne’s sobriety is tied to ongoing support. He must attend regular addiction support meetings to manage the internal dialogue in his head that tempts him. Recently, a public affair and admission of sex addiction put him back in more active treatment. After a separation, he reconciled with wife Sharon Osbourne, who supports his participation in treatment and support groups.
At the age of 13, only a few years after starring in the hit movie “E.T.,” Drew Barrymore was struggling with addiction. Both her parents were alcoholics and she spent time at clubs with much older people taking drugs and drinking alcohol. By her early teens, she won a legal separation from her parents. Through her 20’s however, Barrymore put forth the effort to get clean, and in her 40’s is now one of the most powerful women in the movie industry. Barrymore points to her past struggles as the motivation to be a good mother to her two daughters and a reason to maintain a positive mental attitude and work/life balance.
Lessons from Others Success
People who live in recovery (in or out of the public eye) know it’s important to find effective treatment and live a supportive lifestyle. Of course, you don’t have to be a celebrity to take advantage of the powerful treatment programs offered at Michael’s House. This residential addiction treatment facility, located in Palm Springs, CA. offers individualized care for anyone who motivated to break the cycle of addiction once and for all. Contact Michael’s House today at 760.548.4032 for more information.
 CNN Wire Staff. (2011). Ex-first lady, advocate for substance abuse treatment Betty Ford dies. CNN. Retrieved May 8, 2017 from http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/07/08/betty.ford.dies/.
 Cohen, Rich. (2014). The Ride of His Life. Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 8, 2017 from http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2014/09/robert-downey-jr-addiction-children.
Konow, David. (2016). Ozzy Osbourne Talks Sobriety. The Fix. Retrieved May 8, 2017
Tonks, Owen. (2017). Sharon Osbourne makes heartbreaking revelation about marriage to Ozzy Osbourne. Closer. Retrieved May 8, 2017 from https://www.ranker.com/list/sharon-ozzy-osbourne-relationship-facts/jodi-smith.
 Gallagher, Sophie. (2015). Drew Barrymore: My childhood battle with addiction made me a better mum. GoodtoKnow.com. Retrieved May 9, 2017 from http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/family/544534/drew-barrymore-childhood-drugs-rehab.
 Roberts, Anna Monette. (2017). Drew Barrymore: "I Want to Be the Rock That Floats." Popsugar. Retrieved May 9, 2017 from https://www.popsugar.com/celebrity/Drew-Barrymore-Interview-Santa-Clarita-Diet-Season-2-43496839.