Celebs Who Were Open About Addiction & Recovery Knowing They Could Help Others, Too
On Tuesday, Ben Affleck opened up about his struggle with alcohol addiction. The 44-year-old actor wrote about his treatment in a Facebook post, informing fans of his past struggles and the completion of the program. Affleck certainly didn't have to share this private information with his public audience, but he did so, in part, to help others struggling with addiction who may be in need of help. Affleck stressed the importance of his own support system, and encouraged others to feel like they can seek out help. While his reveal is meaningful and sure to resonate with many, Affleck is not the first celeb to open up about addiction in order to help others.
Affleck's confession is moving, as it details his desire wants to work on himself for his parenting partner, Jennifer Garner, and their children. However, the post was written to reach people beyond his immediate family.
"I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction; something I've dealt with in the past and will continue to confront," Affleck wrote on Facebook. "I want to live life to the fullest and be the best father I can be. I want my kids to know there is no shame in getting help when you need it, and to be a source of strength for anyone out there who needs help but is afraid to take the first step."
Affleck addressed those who may also be struggling, encouraging them to reach out for help. Celebrities have an enormous platform and it's inspiring to hear them use their own stories to help others. Here are some stars who have opened up about their experiences as a way to help others:
"They’ll tell me, ‘You helped me get through this. Because of you, I stopped self-harming,’ or ‘I got sober.’ Hearing those things gave my life new meaning.” Demi Lovato, who went to a rehab facility in 2011, told American Way of meeting fans who could relate to her story. Lovato has started many conversations about addiction, hoping to lift the taboo and help others toward recovery.
Jamie Lee Curtis
"My recovery from drug addiction is the single greatest accomplishment of my life… but it takes work — hard, painful work — but the help is there, in every town and career, drug/drink freed members of society, from every single walk and talk of life to help and guide," Jamie Lee Curtis wrote in a Huffington Post essay. The actor has struggled with an addiction to painkillers in the past, and has spoken out in favor of comprehensive, ongoing medical treatment for those recovering from addiction. By opening up about her own recovery she hopes to advocate rehabilitation for others.
"You want to get sober for your parents, you want to get sober for your job, you want to get sober for the cops, you want to get sober to protect your image," Rob Lowe told CNN. "A lot of good reasons, by the way, but unfortunately, the only thing that works is that you have to want to get sober for you." Lowe has been sober for 26 years, and often speaks out to encourage others who may be struggling.
"My hope is that someone, somewhere in this room, out of this room, will hear something that will help them get out of the shadows and the darkness of addiction and bring them into the light," actor Amber Valletta said in a speech at Mind Body Green. Valletta has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction in the past, and has become a passionate advocate for recovery.
"I am an alcoholic and a drug addict," Shawn Pyfrom wrote in a letter on his website in 2014, explaining that he was five months sober. "If these words can encourage someone to hold on to their life… to keep from ever using, or to find the strength to stop; then it’s more important that these words are shared. I’ve considered what’s at stake, for myself, by sharing this — but I find myself without regard for that. I won’t allow my selfish needs to get in the way of potentially reaching another human being’s life."
"I had a big problem with alcohol and pills and I couldn’t stop ... Eventually things got so bad that I couldn’t hide it, and then everybody knew," Matthew Perry told People magazine, "I finally got it. Something clicked. You have to want the help." Perry has also committed himself to helping others overcome addiction by opening one of his properties up as Perry House, a men's sober living facility.
The struggle with addiction is lifelong, and opening up about it takes courage. All of these celebs shared their experiences in the hope they would reach others, help them reach out for help, and find a way to recover.