Is Addiction Trending?
There are many notable and productive individuals in history who were addicts; just as in our pop culture we follow talented and successful celebrities who are/have been stricken with the disease of drug/alcohol dependence.
Famous addicts in history have proven that intelligence doesn’t exonerate people from taking drugs any more than fame does. When those who are under stress need to relax, some turn to drugs or alcohol as an escape from reality. Some believe it enhances their creativity or allows them to stay awake when needed. Addiction to drugs and alcohol have plagued some of the most brilliant, influential individuals in fields of literature, art, and science. Being a genius doesn’t mean you aren’t vulnerable to the power of addiction.
Famous Addicts In History
Charles Dickens would retire at the end of a long day writing to puff on a hookah filled with poppy latex (narcotic opium). The man who brought us A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, and Oliver Twist. He died of a stroke, which may have been the cause of his opium use.
Ernest Hemingway won a Nobel Prize. However, alcohol was a constant companion, particularly in his later years. He summed up what many writers struggle within their profession: “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.” Drinking likely exacerbated a medical condition he had that led to mental confusion and depression. Hemingway eventually took his own life.
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe is considered a major figure in the American Romantic movement, famous for his poems and stories, many of which dealt with the disturbing circumstances and depictions of death. “Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore’” is perhaps one of the most well-known refrains from a poem. Like Hemingway, he struggled with alcohol dependency, using it to dull the pain of a writer’s life. Poe was found deliriously wandering the streets of Baltimore; when a concerned gentleman saw he was clearly in need of assistance, took him to the hospital where he died.
Sigmund Freud was an advocate of cocaine, recommending its use for numerous illnesses and symptoms. Freud was aware of cocaine’s uses as an anesthetic, which he regularly prescribed for his own problems with migraines and depression. He also claimed it cured a friend’s morphine addiction. While under the influence of cocaine, Freud delineated psychoanalytic theory, upon which is formed the basis of modern psychological medicine. This famous addicts life was cut short, Freud passed away of mouth cancer in 1939.
Stephen King took to substance abuse in order to deal with the stress that often accompanies high expectaions. King’s choice was to mix a cocktail of cocaine, Xanax, Valium, NyQuil, beer, tobacco, and marijuana to get him through the day. He even admits he doesn’t remember writing some of his works. Thankfully, his concerned family members staged an intervention, dumping all the evidence of his addiction in front of him. In response, he went to rehab and today claims to be clean and sober.
Winston Churchill remains the face of World War II as the Prime Minister of Britain at the time. He was notorious for drinking whisky and smoking cigars, although to say that he had a problem with alcohol may be somewhat of a misnomer. He did, however, take amphetamines repeatedly to be able to stay up and plan the war. His resilience inspired many, but the combination of a high-stress life and substance abuse likely brought on the stroke which ended his life.
Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh was persistently suffering from health issues throughout his life. His paintings such as Starry Night and Sunflowers sell for millions now, but throughout his life, his financial choices and vices left him penniless. Van Gogh suffered with chronic alcoholism. This famous addicts mind was showing signs of serious problems. While under the influence of alcohol, he cut off his own ear, and later took his own life by shooting himself in the chest.
Famous People Who Are Recovering
Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It can affect absolutely anyone – including the rich and famous. Hollywood seems like an environment rife with temptation. Drugs and alcohol permeate celebrity culture, even though the vast majority of it is hidden from the public eye. Lots of celebrities have battled drug or alcohol addiction, but many have succeeded in overcoming it and maintaining their careers. Their stories can inspire the rest of us. Here are some famous celebrities who are currently in recovery.
In the 1970’s, he battled addictions to cocaine and alcohol. He survived an overdose in 1975 and numerous suicide attempts. He also struggled with the eating disorder bulimia. Finally, in 1990 he got sober.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s he was addicted to cocaine and an alcoholic. He says that the death of his friend John Belushi pushed him to stop using drugs. In 2006, he relapsed and checked in a treatment center for alcohol abuse and has since been sober.
Jamie Lee Curtis
She became addicted to pain killers after having minor surgery when she was 35 years old. She was also an alcoholic. She got sober in 1999 and calls it her “single greatest accomplishment.”
Robert Downey Jr.
Perhaps one of the more infamous celebrity addicts, Robert Downey, Jr. is a very talented actor with a long history of drug abuse. He was arrested numerous times in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. After a few different rehab stays and attempts at sobriety, he finally got clean in 2001. He says he stays sober with the help of the 12 Steps, his wife, and yoga.
Martin Sheen, actor in such classic films as Wall Street and The Departed, battled alcoholism but got sober in the 1980’s. He is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he credits his religion, Catholicism, with helping him in recovery. His son, Charlie Sheen, is infamously battling addiction – a Hollywood example of how addiction can be hereditary.
Currently stars in the hit show Glee, which she has won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for. She got sober in 1991 after realizing her drinking was out of control. She talks about her struggles with alcoholism in her memoir Hyperion Voice.
Lead singer of the iconic band Aerosmith, Steven Tyler was addicted to heroin and cocaine. He used with all the members of his group, and he contracted Hepatitis C from intravenous use. In 1986 he went to rehab and got clean after an intervention. He later relapsed but has been clean since completing rehab for pain killer abuse in 2009.
Celebrities Who Didn’t Make it out Alive
Much is spoken and written about promising artists who died at 27 years old. It is an eerie and disturbing roster.
And countless people we’ve never had the privilege to know.
Dependence is NOT trending, or sexy, or cool. It is a physiological/neurological disease.
As such, it requires specific personalized treatment strategies. Consider a sore throat. Perhaps you need honey tea, but you may need an antibiotic.
There is no sin or weakness in disease. Please disabuse yourselves of that concept. Questions?
Refer to the contact information provided for a free and confidential consultation.