The battle that celebrities have with addiction is well-known.
The path to recovery is varied, but several notable celebrities have used their faith as a foundation for their success. Here are 10 celebrities who have used their religion to survive their addiction.
Martin Sheen, known for being the president on West Wing and being one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation battled alcoholism for years. “I got sober through Catholicism, through my faith.” The actor has stated that his heavy drinking began while shooting Apocalypse Now, where the intense work schedule and was emotionally draining. Mr. Sheen has also credited his participation in AA as having a huge factor in his recovery. While the actor credits his faith, he also acknowledges that faith is intensely personal and that individuals must find their own path for acknowledging faith. The actor has been sober for 20 years.
Boy George, the frontman for the 1980s superband Culture Club started with a heroin addiction and then moved on to other substances. His addiction became so severe that his brother went on national television to discuss it, hoping the exposure would lead to treatment. His long-term drug use caused him legal trouble, including four months of jail time for holding a Norwegian photographer hostage and torturing him. The singer has credited Buddhism with helping him find peace and happiness in sobriety. When speaking about addiction he said “it is about not being in your life, not being in your body and not being in the world. You get so far into it that you kind of confuse it and obviously if you’re lucky enough to get it back to a place where you go,” The singer has been sober for eight years.
Singer and actress Demi Lovato has struggled with both mental health issues and addiction. She discovered she was bipolar, had an eating disorder, and a serious addiction to alcohol and drugs. She has stated she could not “go 30 minutes to an hour without cocaine.” This led to her punching a backup dancer, performing shows while intoxicated, and drinking early in morning. She is another celebrity who credits AA and her belief in God for her recovery, saying “I’m so proud of myself but I couldn’t have done it without my higher power (God).” While a professed Christian, she has not discussed her faith in public because she feels there is a stigma attached to it. She has been sober for five years.
The Emmy award winning actress has described a past filled with cocaine use. She started using at 25 to combat depression following her divorce. Even though she “thought [she] was going to overdose almost every time,” she could not stop using the drug. The actress found salvation in the readings of Scientologist founder L. Ron Hubbard. While initially skeptical of the controversial religion, she believed the teachings and her participation in their drug rehab program Narconon were key to her success. She has been sober for 33 years.
For a comedian and actor who has been critical of organized religion and had a show titled Messiah Complex, Russell Brand has also credited religion with helping him overcome his sex and drug addiction. Mr. Brand has been quite open about his battles with addiction and has spoken about them to various media outlets and governments. He created the organization “Give It Up” to help other addicts recover.
Part of his explanation for his addiction is a spiritual emptiness that has been filled by his participation in Hare Krishna, a sect of Hinduism. He has listed his participation in the religion as one of the factors that has kept him sober. He has met with the Hare Krishna Guru Radhanath Swami and called him “a beautiful fellow. He’s got the answer. I’m a spiritual gent and increasingly that’s the level I want to vibrate on.” While not claiming he is part of the religion, he has said he is a “well wisher” that has used the chanting as a substitute for narcotic use. He has been sober for 16 years.
The co-founder and lead guitarist of the nu-metal band Korn left the band in 2005 because of his ongoing struggles with drugs. Even though the group was one of the most popular nu-metal groups, selling over $25 million dollars in album sales, the rocker felt “empty.” Unlike some of the other celebrities on this list, Brian Welch became a devout Christian, saying “I have chosen the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior and will be dedicating his musical pursuits to that end.” After a solo career, he rejoined Korn in 2015 after the entire band had gained sobriety. He has been sober for 11 years.
The acclaimed actor struggled with video game, drug, and alcohol addiction in his mid-twenties. He recently told the press he overdosed during this time period. He described that time in his life as the “Sixth Sense phase” – “when you’re dead but you don’t know it.” While Alec Baldwin was raised Catholic, he did not consider himself religious at the time he was using. However, he credits becoming sober with attending a support group that created a personification of God for him. “God got me sober. That day, God was a black, 65-year-old retired postal worker named Lenny.” While he has had some relapses, the actor has been mostly sober for 32 years.
Some individuals begin using drugs recreationally and then slip into addictions. Others, like Kelsey Grammer, use it as a coping mechanism. The actor has had many personal tragedies. Both his sister and father were murdered and two half-brothers killed in a scuba diving accident. His use of drugs and alcohol led to a drunk driving conviction and serving jail time. “As a Christian, we always fail because we can’t become Christ. But I can try to at least emulate the best qualities, even if I may fall short.” He maintains that his religion was key to his ability to stay sober. He has been sober for 16 years.
Anthony Hopkins is one of the most highly regarded and prolific actors in movies. Unlike others on the list, he has stated about his alcoholism “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” His alcoholism caused him to cancel performances and was a significant factor in his divorce. Both AA and finding God are his self-stated foundations for becoming and remaining sober. Anthony Hopkins has maintained that his professional success is due to his “freedom from alcohol.” He has been sober for 41 years.
Tim McGraw is an unbelievably successful country music singer and considered to be a talented actor. He told the media that to deal with the anxiety of performing in front of thousands he began drinking heavily and using narcotics. “I couldn’t do it without [drinking].” Because of growing up in Lousiana, where drinking was part of his culture, he had a difficult time accepting his addiction. While his family and his health were the initial reasons why he became sober, he has praised God for helping him continue his sobriety. He has been sober for eight years.
- Everyday Health
- The Fix
- Rolling Stone
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- Daily Mail
- Daily Mail
- God Reports
- Christian Post
- Hara Krishna
- Daily Mail
- Daily Mail
- Star Pulse
- Cross Walk
- Fox News
- Anthony Hopkins Movies
- Treatment Solutions
- Psychology Today
- LA Times
- USA Today
- Huffington Post