Overcoming any addiction is an uphill battle that can be discouraging in some moments. As a person in recovery, it can be helpful to draw inspiration from those who have walked a similar journey. Here are some inspiring stories of successful alcoholics in recovery.
1. Martin Sheen
Ramon Gerard Antonio Estevez, known as Martin Sheen, is a decorated veteran in the Hollywood scene. He was first discovered for his roles in The Subject Was Roses (1968) and Badlands (1973). He was also recognized for his main role in Apocalypse Now (1979).
Behind the fame and success lies his former drinking problem. Today, he is one of the most successful alcoholics. He eventually became an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and advocates programs to help other people stay sober. Mr. Sheen places emphasis on his Roman Catholic faith for being the catalyst for change. He attributes his faith in helping him overcome his addictions. After staying sober, he had numerous Emmy nominations and was able to garner a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. He uses his story to inspire others that past addictions can serve as a testimony to help make a change in the world.
2. Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck is known for his roles in popular films such as Gone Girl. The backstory with this 44-year-old actor is his recently completed treatment for alcohol addiction. Apparently, he has been suffering from alcoholism for some time. He considered himself a “functioning alcoholic” until it got out of hand and he decided to quit for himself and his family.
Mr. Affleck’s primary motivation for staying sober was his children. He shared the story on different social media platforms such as Facebook, to inspire others to seek help and not be ashamed. Ben Affleck recently attended the Academy Awards after the completion of his alcohol recovery program, making him one of the most successful alcoholics in the public eye. Although he and Jennifer Garner divorced, his ex-wife continues to support him throughout his recovery journey.
3. Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper was vocal about his battles with alcoholism since 2012, and he often shared his experiences with recovery for more than a decade. Being one of the most successful alcoholics, he mentions that quitting alcohol was the first step in making his life better. This also translated to his career. As he stayed sober, he landed major roles in movies such as The Hangover, and the voice of Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. He also wrote, produced, starred, and directed the recently Oscar-popular film A Star is Born.
4. Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. is known for his role as Iron Man. However, this highly-paid actor had a troubled past. Just before landing major roles, he was considered unfit to work due to his issues with alcohol and drugs. This excessive use eventually led him to be sent to prison for a time.
Downey Jr. was open about his former upbringing by his father, who also suffered from addictions. The habit was “normalized” in their household, leading him to consume alcohol on a daily basis and also using recreational drugs. Despite these problems, he is considered one of the most successful alcoholics after making a name from himself. His most prominent roles include his performances in Chaplin (1996), Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, and Zodiac. He continues on with his major role in Iron Man as well and has been experiencing career success ever since.
5. Daniel Radcliffe
Who would have thought the main star of the Harry Potter saga would also turn out to have a previous alcohol problem. Like many other successful alcoholics, Daniel Radcliffe formerly struggled with his drinking addiction. According to an interview in 2012, Radcliffe opened up about how alcohol had taken control of his life. He admitted that it had been damaging his body as well as his relationships with others.
Now, Mr. Radcliffe maintains his sobriety, though he admits that it may be difficult to do so during social events. He stated that quitting showed him a “world of happiness” that he may not have discovered if he didn’t walk away.
6. Stephen King
With many New York Times Best Seller novels under his belt, Stephen King is one of the most celebrated fiction authors of all time. Before and during his rise to fame, Stephen King’s family helped him on his path to recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
During a 2013 interview with The Guardian, he talked about his former alcohol addiction. He was grateful for his family who stepped up to give him a sense of urgency with his problem. He felt like he did not have to hide who he was because that’s a part of who he is, even now that he has remained sober.
7. Betty Ford
Sometimes, it may be rare to hear stories of women coming forward with their former alcohol addictions. However, Betty Ford is one brave soul and one of the successful alcoholics who was open about her journey. As the wife of former President Gerald Ford, Mrs. Ford helps raise awareness about addictions by using her story back in the 70s.
She also established the Betty Ford Center to help those who suffer from alcohol or substance abuse. Mrs. Ford’s honesty and openness brought a legacy to help others come forward as well. Her determination and compassion towards others created a ripple effect in the decades that came forward.
8. Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson, a decorated actor, and producer admittedly suffered from alcoholism throughout adulthood. He made headlines in 2009 when he was arrested for driving under the influence. He has gone through many alcohol rehabilitation stints and is currently trying his best to stay sober.
In a 2016 interview, Mel Gibson gave an eye-opening statement. He said that when it comes to addictions, it’s either you go insane, you die, or you eventually quit. This powerful statement comes with the harsh truth that the only positive escape is staying away from alcohol.
9. David Hasselhoff
David Hasselhoff was best known for his role in “Baywatch”. However, Mr. Hasselhoff was also recognized for his alcohol problem. There was a home video back in 2007 where he was caught extremely drunk on tape. The video became viral and became the basis for him to have a temporary ban with his visitation rights with his daughters.
According to Mr. Hasselhoff, this was his ultimate wake up call. He realized in a 2015 interview that alcohol can be deadly and that people can be gone in a split-second with that one final drink. Now, he accompanies his sober lifestyle with a healthy diet and exercise.
10. Kristen Johnston
Kristen Johnston was best known for her role in 3rd Rock From the Sun. However, it wasn’t all fame and success. Along with her career growth came problems with alcoholism and substance abuse. A moment of a wake-up call for Johnston was when her addiction caused her stomach to rip open, causing a life-and-death emergency that she emerged from.
Now, she uses her story to help others. She encourages people who are in their recovery journey to just simply take the first step. Even if it seems uncomfortable or illogical if it’s what it takes, Johnston says that’s already considered a success.
Be Inspired, Stay Sober
These stories are the ultimate examples that even successful alcoholics have their own share of struggles. Going through this list will help you realize that recovery is a process and a journey, and it is completely possible when you take the right steps.