“It’s like I’ve got a shotgun in my mouth with the finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gunmetal.” ~ Robert Downey Jr. Do you know someone who has overcome addiction? That is the ultimate success story – going from the rock bottom associated with substance abuse and addiction to successfully reaching – and maintaining – sobriety can be one of the most difficult yet rewarding processes of your life. Often, people feel discouraged along the way. Even if you know that it is possible to overcome your drug addiction, it can be difficult to believe yourself when the going gets rough on the road to recovery. So what do we have to keep you inspired to overcome addiction? These are the stories of seven people who have faced their lowest point and learned to overcome addiction, rising back to success. Some people battle their addictions for years, while others become addicted to drugs or alcohol very quickly. Either way, it can often seem impossible to stop this substance abuse in the face of addiction. Thankfully, as we know, it is not impossible no matter what the circumstances are. Nothing is quite as inspiring as hearing (or reading) a story of success, which is why we are sharing these success stories here. Just like anyone facing addiction and working toward recovery, these individuals had to work hard for sobriety. This is not an easy task, but as these stories show, the hard work will certainly pay off and help you overcome addiction once and for all. The fact that the people listed here are famous does not mean that it was easier for them to overcome their addiction. When it comes to their addiction, they face the same issues and temptations as you on a daily basis. These celebrity stories are inspiring to anyone looking to overcome addiction, and offer the truth about substance abuse and the road to recovery.
#1 – Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. may be one of the highest-paid actors in the world, but that has not made him immune from drug abuse and addiction. In fact, the actor was surrounded by drugs and alcohol from a very young age. His father was a drug addict himself, and Downey has stated that he became addicted to drugs as early as the age of eight. Eventually, the actor was arrested several times for possession of cocaine and heroin. He lost several acting jobs as a result of his drug abuse and addiction, and it looked likely that his career was over. After several years of probation, jail time, and attempted treatment, Downey finally entered a rehab facility for the last time. In 2001, he started to rebuild his acting career, eventually landing a leading role as Iron Man in the last decade of blockbuster superhero films. Clearly, Downey has learned that his addiction had been inherited from his father and decided to make a change for himself, once and for all. This is how he learned to overcome his addiction.
#2 – Eminem
Eminem, the stage name for rapper Marshall Mathers, truly hit rock bottom more than a decade ago through his addiction to prescription drugs and opioid painkillers. The rapper gained a substantial amount of weight due to drug addiction, weighing in at 230 pounds in 2007. His abuse of his two drugs of choice, Valium and Vicodin, formed a hole in his stomach that he claims could only be soothed by eating tons of junk food. Altogether, Eminem’s drug addiction cost him at least five years of his life and brought him to the edge of his organs shutting down. It was not easy to overcome addiction for the music artist. Even after going through rehab and early recovery in 2007, the rapper had to turn to excessive running to reach the same dopamine high that the prescription opioids had given him. Eventually, Eminem reached a healthier level of exercise to maintain his sobriety and released an album in 2010 dedicated to the process of rehab and recovery.
#3 – Daniel Radcliffe
Cast in the Harry Potter films fifteen years ago, Radcliffe has had quite a journey during the first decade and a half of his acting career. Saying he was “attracted to chaos”, the actor admits to being heavily intoxicated during the filming of several of the last Harry Potter movies. He knew early on that he had a drinking problem since he saw his behavior change through his drinking habit. While he never drank on set, the actor says that he was simply not present during many parts of the filming process: “I went into work still drunk, but I never drank at work… I can point to many scenes where I’m just gone. Dead behind the eyes.” Radcliffe quit drinking altogether a month after filming the last Harry Potter movie but went through a relapse the next year. Eventually, the actor found a way to overcome addiction. He has now been sober for over three years. Like Eminem, Radcliffe has found a way to cope through exercise – running and going to the gym.
#4 – Demi Lovato
This Disney star enjoyed success early on in life, starring in a film and releasing her debut album before she even turned eighteen. However, the pressure of fame soon got to her and she had to withdraw from the Jonas Brothers tour in 2010 to be admitted to a residential rehab facility. After three months of inpatient treatment, Lovato returned home and has maintained sobriety ever since. In fact, she lived in a sober-living facility in Los Angeles for a time, since she thought that would be the best way to avoid her addiction. The actress-singer is now a judge on The X Factor and a contributing editor to Seventeen magazine – by all accounts, she has overcome addiction and regained her life.
#5 – Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton is perhaps the most famous classic rock and blues artist in the world and maintains a successful music career with concerts all around the world. In fact, he just came out with two new albums this year. Clearly, the musician has enjoyed long-term success in his music career, but this was not always the case. Around the time he started releasing solo albums in the 1970s, Clapton was heavily addicted to both alcohol and heroin. He reports spending close to $16,000 a week on heroin at his lowest point and spent close to two decades addicted to drugs and alcohol without any relief. He received treatment and became sober in 1989, and hasn’t looked back since having overcome addiction altogether. In fact, the British music artist now plays benefit concerts for Alcoholics Anonymous and founded a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center.
#6 – Britney Spears
Britney Spears went through one of the most famous cases of celebrity drug addiction. Spears was in and out of rehab centers for years, with her recovery and relapses heavily scrutinized by paparazzi and press. Addicted primarily to amphetamines, the singer reached rock bottom in 2007 when she shaved her head as an attempt to beat drug tests, but then entered rehab again just four days later. In the last decade, Britney Spears has seen something of a comeback in her career after having overcome addiction, again holding concerts and releasing three albums in the last six years. Like any addict, her story is not yet over – she entered rehab again in 2015 due to a growing dependency on prescription drugs. That does not stop the pop star from being optimistic about her recovery and future: “Whoever is in the spotlight, people are really quick to judge. It’s just the way the world works, unfortunately. I kind of don’t pay attention to it. I have my relationship with God and myself, and that’s what matters to me. I really don’t care what most people think.”
#7 – Brian Welch
Better known by his stage name “Head”, Brian Welch is the lead singer for Korn, a heavy metal rock band. For many years, the musician had everything associated with the internationally renowned rock band – fame, money, and prestige as a rock star. But the singer reports spending years addicted to crystal meth and other substances. Welch felt stress, anxiety, and depression as a result of his fame, and dealt with these experiences by increasing his use of crystal meth. However, in 2005 Welch hit a turning point. The rock star shocked the world by announcing he quit Korn because of his newfound faith in Christianity and because he was seeking to overcome addiction. Since then, Welch has rejoined the band but continues to make his sobriety public by producing songs that deal with the seriousness of drug addiction and the hope offered in recovery. From rock stars to construction workers, drug and alcohol addiction is a very real struggle for millions of people all around the country. The important thing to remember is that it is always possible to overcome addiction – you can go from rock bottom to a successful life through recovery. If any of these stories have inspired you, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.