“Celebrities are role models, and they can use this status with fellow celebs to demonstrate their own healthy journey into a legitimate, long-term treatment program.” – David Kipper, MD, author of The Addiction Solution
When you are struggling with drug addiction, it is easy to feel as though you are going through it all alone. It is easy to feel that no one cares for you, or that you are far beyond help. Especially for young women battling a substance use disorder, past traumas or harrowing relationships can make you feel as though you do not deserve the proper help.
It is important to know that you are not alone. We know this, because we’ve been there – and so have many famous female celebrities who have walked down the darker roads of drug abuse. Many have also found the light and sober support systems to help them through the recovery process. The following five women in recovery are just some examples of the many women who have taken momentous steps away from drugs – who, by choosing life over losing life to addiction, were able to find the most meaning and success.
Below Turnbridge shares the stories of five famous and inspiring women in recovery:
1. Jamie Lee Curtis
Award-winning actress Jamie Lee Curtis calls herself “one of the lucky ones.” After undergoing a routine surgical procedure in her 30s, Curtis became addicted to painkiller drugs. In her recent Huffington post essay, she recalls waiting anxiously at the pharmacy for her next prescription to be filled. In addition to opiate use, the film star drank heavily to “anesthetize” herself and ease feelings of loneliness daily. It was a ten-year addiction, she told the Daily Beast last year.
Addiction ran in the Curtis family. Jamie Lee Curtis lost a brother to heroin abuse when he was 20 years old. Both her parents were alcoholics. "This is a family disease... It will be the greatest achievement of my life if I can stay sober until I die." Jamie Lee Curtis is now in her 18th year of sobriety. She is passionate about sharing her recovery story with the world, hoping to reach at least one other, addicted person who may be feeling helpless and alone. Curtis also works with anti-drug organizations to raise awareness about the opiate epidemic, prevention, and addiction treatment efforts.
2. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato made her first debut on Barney & Friends, but rose to stardom after the Disney Channel’s Camp Rock was released in 2008. Now, Lovato is fully immersed in her music career, having just released her sixth album as a highly-acclaimed popstar. But Demi Lovato’s rise to fame didn’t come without its challenges. The actress-musician battled depression, an eating disorder, and drug addiction before she turned 18 years old.
Lovato’s drug use started when she was just 17, during her “Disney days.” She started using cocaine, partying, and drinking in efforts to self-medicate the emotional pains and stresses that bogged her down. In an interview, Demi Lovato confessed there was a time she couldn’t make it 30 minutes without cocaine. She would smuggle it onto airplanes, into bathrooms, and throughout the night while staying in a sober living home. That’s when she had a revelation that things needed to change, that her cocaine use was no longer fun, but rather, dangerous and lonely.
Demi Lovato, now 25 and sober for five-and-a-half years, has conquered her drug addiction and is now a spokesperson for mental health and addiction treatment. In 2013, she was cited for her dedication as a mentor to teens and young adults at a SAMHSA National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. In her new documentary, released earlier this month, Demi Lovato says her drug and eating disorder treatment is ongoing – consisting of therapy, addiction programs, and a newfound passion for boxing.
3. Mary J. Blige
The “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” has also had her own toils with mental health and substance abuse. Mary J. Blige, singer-songwriter and one of the best-performing R&B artists to date, has been open about her struggles with clinical depression, drug use, and alcoholism since the early 90s – when her breakthrough album My Life was released. The record, her “call for help,” went triple platinum.
Mary J. Blige, now 42, explains that her substance abuse problems stemmed from a traumatic childhood, in which she was sexually abused. "So many dark moments,” the singer explains, “which all added up and that's what sprung on the drug addiction, trying to numb it all with the drugs." Blige confesses she was high on cocaine and heavily drinking when she received her first Grammy award in 1995. Her turning point, however, was largely in wake of Whitney Houston's death: she realized that her drug use could keep her from performing, and could hurt her as it did Whitney. Mary J. Blige credits her faith in God for her ability to maintain sobriety.
4. Kristin Davis
Best known as the near-perfect and pure Charlotte on Sex and the City, Kristin Davis had a long battle with alcoholism before rising in her career. It was in 2008 that Davis first revealed to Health magazine that she is a “recovering alcoholic.” She first began drinking as a teenager, in efforts to self-medicate her parents’ divorce and her social insecurities. She drank to fit in, but it soon became a habit. Her alcohol addiction became so bad, she admitted, that she didn’t think she would live past 30 years old.
Now 52 years old, Kristin Davis is very open about her journey. She explains that alcoholism ran in her family, and by recognizing the signs of alcohol addiction early on, she was able to get help in time. When she got sober, her acting career picked up. Though she doesn’t hide it, her sobriety still confuses people around her. She explains, “I believe [alcoholism] is a disease. I don’t think you can mess with it. There was a time when people who didn’t know me well would say, ‘Couldn’t you just have one glass of champagne?’ And I would say, ‘No.’ I’m doing well. I still have occasional bad days. Why risk it?”
5. Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith, a multi-million-dollar actress, did not always live a life of glamour. Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, Pinkett Smith lived in a drug-infested neighborhood with a single, drug-addicted mother amidst a Crack-Cocaine epidemic. At age 11, she was thinking about what she would eat for dinner, how she would get to school, and whether her mother was going to survive the day. It was in her teenage years at the Baltimore School of the Arts where Jada got her big break as an actress.
Jada Pinkett Smith has confessed she was a drug dealer in the 80s, but alcoholism was her biggest battle. She never learned to say “no” to a drink, despite the disease of addiction running in her family. As a young adult, she began to consume alcohol nightly, often alone, in efforts to numb the traumas of her childhood. She came to a point where she would drink two bottles of wine on her couch in a single night, and that is when she realized she needed help.
An exemplary woman in recovery, Jada Pinkett Smith celebrated her 20-year milestone of sobriety this year. On recovery, she’s stated: “I’ve learned that recovery isn’t just for those suffering from substance abuse, but that recovery is about recovering from our traumas, abuse, neglect, abandonment, lack of self-worth, disappointments, failed relationships, the loss of loved ones and so on…”
At Turnbridge’s recovery center for women, we aim to help residents work through their underlying emotions, traumas, and pasts. We help women re-discover self-worth, confidence, and trust in themselves as well as in others, and understand that the past does not define them. Through counseling, therapy, and holistic experiences, we help each young woman in our treatment program build connections and open the doors to the healing process. We can also help you.
You are not alone.
If you are a woman struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, know that Turnbridge can help. We have a trauma-informed, women’s-only addiction treatment program, specially designed to meet the needs of young women like you. Learn more by contacting us at 877-581-1793 or visiting https://www.turnbridge.com/womens.