Celebrities and Sobriety: In Their Own Words

Last Updated on February 8, 2021

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Recently the distinguished actor Anthony Hopkins became the latest celebrity to go public about choosing not to drink. Along with many other celebrities who are sober, the star of The Silence of the Lambs has removed alcohol from his life. He explains, “I was drinking myself to death. I got a message, a little thought, that said, ‘Do you want to live or die?’ I said I wanted to live. And suddenly the relief came and my life has been amazing.”

He’s now been sober for over 45 years. We can learn from his comments—and from other people in the public eye.

Celebrities Choose Sobriety for Different Reasons

In mid-2020, Chrissy Teigen, along with husband John Legend, revealed that she had a miscarriage. Initially, Teigen dealt with the tragedy by drinking. But in December she realized that she had chosen an unhealthy response. “I was done with making an (expletive) of myself in front of people (I’m still embarrassed), tired of day drinking and feeling like (expletive) by 6, not being able to sleep.” She credits her turnaround to a book by Holly Whitaker, Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol.

Some stars, like Gillian Jacobs and Jennifer Hudson, have said they have never been tempted by alcohol. But others seem to zigzag in their struggle—on again, off again, drinking today, sober tomorrow. We’ve all seen the names—Miley Cyrus, John Mayer, Ben Affleck, and dozens of others. One of those is Rob Lowe, who mentions exercise and diet changes were a crucial part of his sobriety routine. Brad Pitt, interviewed in GQ Magazine in 2017, said he had been sober for over a year, explaining, Don’t want to live that way anymore.” Along with others, he realized that alcohol had come to dominate his life.

And Daniel Radcliffe has not had a drink since 2010, except for a brief period when he succumbed to whiskey, his drink of choice. But rather than despair his relapse, the star of the Harry Potter series got back on the wagon and is sober today. “There were a few years there when I was just so enamored with the idea of living some sort of famous person’s lifestyle that really isn’t suited to me.”

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Sobriety Isn’t Just for Hollywood

Outside of Hollywood, stars in other fields have also adopted sobriety. Demi Lovato, who recently sang at the inauguration, has been sober since 2012. Though Chris Martin of Coldplay went through an early party phase with the band, he hasn’t touched alcohol in years.

As a teenager, tennis pro Andy Murray recognized that drinking was at odds with his career. He recalls, “I always wanted to see how far I could go in the sport. I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that.” In baseball, former Yankees pitching star CC Sabathia recently recalled his pattern of drinking on the days between games: “I didn’t know if I could pitch without the alcohol, which was crazy. But at 36 years old, I’m grateful that I did get the help because it allowed me to pitch for four more years after that.”

And even funny people may find themselves in the not-so-funny situation of drinking too much. But like many comedians, Sarah Silverman was able to find the humor in her situation: “I don’t drink because it gives me a stomach ache. I try all the time, it looks good and I feel like I would have fun being drunk, but I have a Jewish stomach.”

Some Celebrities Have Become Ambassadors for Sobriety

It’s true that famous people have a bigger platform than the rest of us, with news media covering their every move. It’s also true that many celebrities have greater financial resources to deal with addiction, and thus more choices than the rest of us. (A month in a Malibu rehabilitation facility can cost $50,000 or more.)

Some celebrities have used their platform to educate others about new options for dealing with addiction. Actress and author Claudia Christian (of Babylon 5 television fame) has been outspoken in her support of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for alcohol use disorder. (Full disclosure: She is also on the Ria Health advisory board.)

In 2013, Christian created the C Three Foundation to raise awareness of naltrexone and The Sinclair Method, a revolutionary—and effective—way to control alcohol. She appears regularly online to discuss addiction and recovery, and has produced a compelling documentary, One Little Pill.

concert celebrities
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Now Celebrities—and Everyone Else—Have More Treatment Options

In the old days, there were essentially two choices for people wanting to control their alcohol use: Alcoholics Anonymous or rehab (i.e., checking in to a rehabilitation center). We recognize that both of these options have been successful for some people—emphasis on the word “some.”

But now there are medications that can help retrain your brain, when accompanied by counseling and other support. At Ria Health, we use FDA-approved medications like naltrexone and acamprosate, in tandem with telehealth-based counseling from our dedicated, compassionate care team.

Remember, you don’t have to be a celebrity to get effective alcohol treatment. At Ria, we make it available to anyone, any time, every day of the year.

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