It is easy to assume that alcohol addiction is something that would never affect the rich and famous. After all, from the outside looking in, these individuals would appear to have everything. However, addiction can affect absolutely anyone, regardless of how much money he or she has. In fact, those in the public eye often find themselves struggling to cope with the pressures of fame, with many turning to chemical substances to help them cope.
Living in the spotlight can be tough for most people. There are some who love the fame and attention, but others find it difficult to cope with their every move being under scrutiny from the media. A high-profile existence can often lead to illnesses such as alcohol addiction, and many famous individuals throughout history have battled to overcome alcoholism. So, which celebrities battled alcohol addiction during their career? We take a look at some of the most notable.
Comedian Russell Brand has made no secret of his struggles with both alcohol and drug addiction. However, he has managed to stay sober for the past ten years and is now a fervent supporter of various charities in a bid to help others beat their own addictions.
Alec Baldwin comes from a family of actors, and he admits to struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction in his younger days. Nevertheless, he has been sober for over thirty years and has credited this with the support he receives from Alcoholics Anonymous.
Amy Winehouse had the world at her feet in terms of her superb voice and song writing. However, her issues with both alcohol and drug abuse often saw her in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Her public battles with both substances lead to concern from family and friends as she appeared very thin and her mental state was also affected. The star admitted to struggling with depression, self-harming and eating disorders, all of which can be caused by substance abuse and addiction. Sadly, Amy died on 23rd July 2011; she was found unresponsive in her flat by her bodyguard. She was pronounced dead at the scene and her toxicology report revealed that she had an alcohol content in her blood of five times that of the legal drink drive limit.
During the height of his career, Mel Gibson was one of Hollywood’s highest paid actors. Nevertheless, his descent into a spiral of alcohol addiction saw him involved in a series of alcohol-fuelled offensive rants that were made public. He is now trying to recover from his illness and get his life back on track once more.
Famous for his portrayal of the boy wizard Harry Potter, Daniel struggled with life in the spotlight. Having been catapulted to stardom at the age of eleven, he says that he turned to alcohol when he was faced with insecurities about his acting ability. He has managed to turn his back on alcohol and has now been sober since 2010.
Why Is Fame Linked with Alcohol Addiction?
Those who live their lives being scrutinised by the public may find it very stressful, and it is common for them to want to unwind and close the door on the outside world. Many do this with alcohol, as this often provides temporary relief, particularly in the early days.
Moderate drinking can be beneficial in terms of offering relaxation and relieving stress, but the more a person drinks, the more likely it is that he or she will go on to develop a physical dependence on alcohol. This is the same situation for everyone, regardless of whether they are famous or not. However, there are several reasons that there seems to be a definite link between fame and alcohol addiction.
For example, some careers that lead to fame have a strong culture of drinking. After-show parties where alcohol is present are common in the entertainment industry, and there is often pressure to drink. The abundance of disposable income can also mean that celebrities do not have to worry about funding their drinking in the same way that some on a regular income would.
It is also true that many individuals who find fame have the same characteristics as those who are classed as having an addictive personality. Many will already be prone to addictive behaviour before they even find fame.
Another reason fame can be linked to alcohol addiction is the fact that celebrities often live a life where their every whim is catered to by others. The star treatment they receive often means that these individuals believe they are untouchable or can get away with much more than the average Joe. Some even believe that normal rules do not apply to them.
For those who became famous at a young age, there is the added issue of having missed out on key developmental stages as they grew up. Missing out on various elements of emotional development can mean the affected person is unable to cope with a life of stardom and so often turns to alcohol for relief.
High Functioning Alcoholics
The word ‘alcoholic’ may conjure up a specific image, and for the most part, this image will be completely different to the reality of what an alcoholic actually is. If you pictured someone who drinks all day long from the moment they wake up or someone who lives on the streets and is estranged from their family members, you might be partially right – but only for a tiny minority of alcoholics.
The truth is that most people who suffer from alcoholism are what is known as high-functioning alcoholics. Most celebrity alcoholics will fall under this category. They will appear to have it all to the outside world, and the public would be completely unaware that this person was struggling with a crippling illness.
But it is not just celebrities who can be classed as high-functioning alcoholics. Many individuals who are suffering with alcoholism do not show obvious signs unless their illness is at a late stage. Most of these people have nice homes, loving families, and good jobs. They can hide their illness from outsiders and can present an outward appearance of success to some degree. Often, friends, colleagues and neighbours would be shocked to discover that they were actually struggling with addiction. It is only close family members and friends who really know what goes on behind closed doors.
How to Access Help for Alcoholism?
Regardless of whether you live your life in or out of the spotlight, it is necessary to get help for addiction. Celebrities can often access the most expensive private clinics to get treatment for alcoholism; this often means that the average alcoholic believes there is no similar help available to them. This is certainly not the case. There are many resources available to those who need help to overcome an alcohol addiction both in the private and public sectors. Charities, local support groups, and the NHS all provide programmes of treatment for those with alcohol problems. However, the waiting times can be quite long.
In terms of private clinics, the good news is that you do not have to be a celebrity to access excellent treatment programmes. Organisations such as Recovery Lighthouse offer first-class recovery programmes to those who need them. Contact us today for more information on our programmes and how to access them.