When celebrities have drug and alcohol problems, they rarely are able to keep it under the radar simply because of their high profile existence. We watch them as they wreak havoc in their lives and wonder why someone with so much talent, money and admiration would ruin themselves in this way? Recently Billy Joel came forward in the New York Times and on a few different radio and television shows to talk about his personal struggles. In his case, he says that he used alcohol as medication after 9/11. He couldn’t get over the tragic event which led him into a deep depression. Then his 5 year marriage to Katie Lee came to an end in 2009 which also contributed to his downward spiral. He has tried to deal with it by entering the Betty Ford Center in 2005 but still admits to having a glass of wine every once in a while.
Another high profile personality who is currently receiving treatment for alcohol addiction is Shia LaBeaouf. In the past couple of weeks he was spotted starting an altercation with a man outside of a Manhattan strip club and then he very publically disrupted a performance of Cabaret on Broadway.
Even Robin Williams who has spent many years battling his addictions has recently checked himself into the Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center in Minnesota. After working continuously on one movie after the next, he is taking time to recommit himself to staying sober.
People in high profile positions often face one similar obstacle to recovery, humility. It takes humility to be able to take responsibility for one’s own behavior and to make positive change. Fame and success can make people feel like they are invincible and that they should be treated differently than the rest of us, like they are superior in some way. In addition, the lavish lifestyles, parties and freedom money brings all combine to create tempting situations.
The common theme in each of these actors stories is that falling off the wagon is a normal part of sobriety. People can go for weeks, years, and even decades (like Philip Seymour Hoffman) without touching alcohol or drugs and then regress in a day. All any human being can do is try his or her best to surround themselves with supportive friends and family, redirect the behavior into more positive activities like hobbies, exercise, work and philanthropy and avoid hanging around tempting situations. Other popular tips include never letting yourself become too hungry, angry, lonely or tired because any of these feelings can lead to a bumpy road. Actors and musicians who go for long periods without working have a particularly unique challenge to stay healthy and away from addictions during their time off.
The fact is that most people who try to overcome problem behaviors will slip up at least once. Sometimes it’s a tragic event, sometimes just a craving for the more exciting life you think you left behind. It’s important to understand that everyone makes mistakes, learn from it and work hard at getting back on track. Learning humility enables us to open up new ideas and maybe even swallow our pride. With this newfound self-awareness celebrities and normal folks alike can get the proper help by enrolling in alcohol awareness classes, going back to rehab, AA, or meeting with a private counselor.