Trying to overcome your addiction is a struggle and a journey for any recovering addict. There are good days and bad ones. Sometimes there are setbacks too, but it’s important to keep your end goal in mind even on the difficult days to help you stay motivated and invested in your recovery. To help you stay positive, we’ve found 5 rehab recovery stories to help you stay positive.
By the time he was 7 years old, alcohol and marijuana were such prevalent members of Paul’s household that he was also familiar with their effects. By the time Paul turned 17, he was dependent on drugs to get through the day, and was willing to take whatever he could get his hands on to survive. Paul eventually got into legal trouble when he was caught smuggling drugs and he lost everything by the time he turned 28. Over the next few years, Paul got clean only to be locked up for heroin possession.
In 2002, Paul finally realized that his life needed to change. He went to rehab for his addiction and managed to get clean again. While at rehab, he learned how to cope with the stress and demands of everyday life without drugs and alcohol. Once he was sober, Paul was excited to experience life free of the shackles of his addiction.
Donna attempted to seek treatment at multiple rehab centers, but none of them seemed to work for her. She got frustrated that she still hadn’t managed to kick her addiction. Eventually Donna realized that traditional rehab wasn’t the best fit for her and that a holistic rehab approach worked better. During her stay at a holistic rehab center, she exercised 3 times a week, practiced yoga, and learned karate. Donna also attended cognitive therapy that helped her get to the heart of her addiction, rather than just going over how she felt in that moment. Her holistic rehab experience was a success and Donna remains sober today. She credits the holistic rehab approach to helping her understand her addiction as well as deal with the triggers and challenges in a healthy way.
Gina became an addict at 13 years old. For the next two decades, she was a heroin addict. Getting high let Gina feel like she was back in the happier, easier days of childhood – an escape she became dependent on. Substance abuse took over her life for 20 years, despite her near-death experience in 2005. She fell 20 feet, broke her back and her wrist, and was barely 70 pounds. Gina thought her addiction was how she was destined to die.
Gina said she realized she needed to change her life very suddenly, on a seemingly random day. By that point, she’d already been to 11 different rehabs for treatment, but on that day she took herself to a crisis center and begged for help. Through the support of her social worker, her family, and other women at the crisis center who were struggling just like she was, Gina managed to finally overcome decades of drug addiction.
She was inspired to go into the social work field herself and says she doesn’t know what else she would do if she wasn’t helping others recover from situations like her own.
Celebrities Who Overcame Their Drug Addictions
Robert Downey, Jr.
Before he was Iron Man, RDJ spent the better part of 5 years in and out of rehab and jail, getting arrested for things like drug possession, carrying illegal firearms, trespassing, and driving under the influence. In 2001, after his last run-in with law enforcement, Downey was sent back to treatment and put on probation for 3 years. Thankfully, this time he was determined to make sure his sobriety stuck. He didn’t act for quite some time (especially since no one could get him insurance with his unhealthy track record) and he often requested to have half his salary held until after film production ended for fear that he would relapse and not show up for work.
Now Downey has been clean and sober for over a decade and hit in the jackpot back in 2008 when he starred in two hit films —”Iron Man” and “Tropic Thunder” — and received an Oscar nomination.
Back in August 2005, rapper Eminem (aka Marshall Mathers) canceled a bunch of his performance gigs and checked into rehab to treat his addiction to sleeping pills. Mathers said he felt like Bugs Bunny when he entered the facility since his fame drew so much attention to him and admits that he was suicidal at the time as well.
Despite seeking help, his first attempts at sobriety didn’t stick and Eminem relapsed, this time with Vicodin and Methadone added to the list.
In a surprising turn of events, Marshall ended up turning to singer Elton John Sadly, that treatment did not stick, and Eminem relapsed, adding Vicodin and Methadone to his drugs of choice. But in a weird turn of events, Em ended up looking to singer Elton John of all people to help him get clean. Eminem said he found inspiration in the story of Elton’s battle with substance abuse while living a similar lifestyle and sought advice on how to successfully recover from his own addictions. John’s example has reportedly helped Eminem stay sober for years now. Em’s music has even changed from references to taking drugs to how he kicked his addiction, starkly contrasting most of the rap industry’s messages about drugs and alcohol.
Demi Lovato is one of the more recent success stories to come out of Hollywood, especially since her Youtube documentary “Simply Complicated” provides a window into Demi’s life and her road to recovering from more than an addiction. Lovato suffered from depression, bipolar disorder, an eating disorder, and drug addiction simultaneously. Demi’s been actively promoting her story trying to encourage others struggling with substance abuse to get help and stick with their treatment.
Demi’s documentary lays out the hard truths of her life prior to recovery and her myriad of struggles including an unsuccessful attempt at rehab, an overdose scare, and finally, her breaking point. Afterward, she realized her life needed to change and started to seek help in earnest. But it still seemed like her cards were against her. She was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, a condition that made her 56% more likely to become an addict in the first place and had an eating disorder (bulimia nervosa) that made her drug usage that much more dangerous for her health. Plus, people with eating disorders are 5 times as likely to abuse substances than the general population. Mental health disorders like eating disorders and bipolar disorder commonly go hand-in-hand with drug abuse, but they also feed into one another to create a vicious cycle of thoughts and behaviors.
Treating all of these disorders (substance abuse disorder, bipolar disorder, and bulimia nervosa) simultaneously was difficult to juggle.
But one of the major lessons Demi wanted people to take from her story was that no one’s recovery path is the same. There are people who do really well in short-term programs and people who need long-term treatment plans. Some can overcome their addiction with other lifestyle changes like diet and exercise or hobbies. Everyone has their own healing process and it’s important to keep that in mind while trying to tackle your own addition.
Demi is now sober, healthy, and independent, though she still takes care of herself through therapy and fighting her eating disorder.
Perseverance is Key
Recovery is achievable for anyone who puts their mind to it, but two people will take the same path towards sobriety. Remember to be patient with yourself and to find the program that works best with your life. Then you’ll be one step closer to telling your own success story.