ByAllanah Faherty, writer at
Senior staff writer | Twitter: @allanahfaherty | Email: [email protected]
Allanah Faherty

For most of us, the saying "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" is something which rings true. Throughout life there are many trials and tribulations, though luckily there are usually more good times than bad to make all the pain worth it. Celebrities are no except to these experiences, though often they have the added pressure of going through all of this in the public eye. Celebrity struggles with drug and alcohol addictions are frequently splashed on the front page of magazines, and equally as publicized are any attempts made by celebs to receive treatment for their struggles.

Despite the often cruel treatment by the media, many celebrities who have troubles with drugs and alcohol do manage to turn their lives around, and go on to make many positive contributions to the world. Check out these 7 who managed to do just that:

1. Jack Black

Funny man Jack Black, who will soon appear in the upcoming film Goosebumps, has had a long career in showbiz, starting with a television commercial when he was just 13. However an unhappy adolescence led to some dark times for the young man, including struggles with cocaine. Talking to Parade, Black said:

"I remember just lots of turmoil from that time period...I was having a lot of troubles with cocaine...I was hanging out with some pretty rough characters. I was scared to go to school [because] one of them wanted to kill me. I wanted to get out of there."

Luckily, after transferring schools, Black managed to "press the restart button" and get his life back on track after a couple of years. These days, Black is happily married to wife Tanya, and the pair have two sons, Sammy and Thomas. Aside from his acting work he also does charity work for Comic Relief USA, traveling to Kampala, Uganda this year as part of the program.

2. Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore was a famous face by age 7, coincidentally that was the same age she was already eating ice cream topped with liqueur. By age 9 she was smoking, drinking at 11, smoking marijuana frequently at age 12 and snorting cocaine at just 13 years old. At 14, Drew entered rehab, but following this attempted suicide. It wasn't until her second stint in rehab that she committed to sobriety. At age 15 she wrote a memoir about her short, but wild life and since then has worked hard to maintain her sobriety and rebuild her reputation. Speaking about how her addictions started so young, she said:

"When I was 10 ½, I was sitting in a room with a group of young adults who were smoking pot. I wanted to try some, and they said, 'Sure. Isn't it cute, a little girl getting stoned?' Eventually that got boring, and my addict mind told me, 'Well, if smoking pot is cute, it'll also be cute to get the heavier stuff like cocaine.' It was gradual. What I did kept getting worse and worse, and I didn't care what anybody else thought."

These days Barrymore is married to Will Kopelman and the couple have two daughters, Olive and Frankie. Outside of her acting, she also owns the production company Flower Films, and is a philanthropist, becoming an ambassador to the United Nations World Food Program in 2007.

3. Zac Efron

Much like Drew Barrymore, after finding success at such a young age, Zac Efron developed an alleged cocaine addiction after using the substance as a sort of "social lubricant." Speaking about his addiction in a recent episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls, Efron said:

"You spend a lot of time in your house going crazy, you know pretty soon you need a social lubricant ... It was getting to the point where I was caring less about the work and waiting more for the weekend, where I couldn't wait to go out and sort of let loose and have fun. But then when Monday and Tuesday were too difficult to get through, then I was like, 'Oh, this is bad.'"

Efron sought help for his addiction and alcoholism with a rehab stay in 2013, and now maintains a more sensible lifestyle with plenty of exercise, early bedtimes and regular Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to help him keep his sobriety.

4. Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis was born into a show business family, and turned to drugs and alcohol to ward off bouts of loneliness. Her addiction began after having plastic surgery (prompted by a comment made by a camera man about her appearance), and becoming addicted to the medication she was given for post-operative pain. She believes Hollywood's high beauty standards partially led to her addiction, telling More magazine in 2008:

"I attempted various types of plastic surgery, minutely but enough to stave off this encroaching middle-aged body. And every time I did, something went wrong. I felt misshapen, just not natural any more. I think it was a big stimulator of my drug abuse."

These days Curtis is 16 years sober. She has frequently spoken out about the dangers of addiction, and the need for people to educate themselves about the issue, and get involved in the community to help those affected by it. She is also involved in the Women in Recovery charity, a 12-step program of rehabilitation for women in need.

5. Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey jr. was surrounded by drugs as a child, with his father allowing him use marijuana at just age 6. At a young age he fell into drug addiction, and between the years of 1996 and 2001 he was arrested multiple times for drug-related charges, even serving a year in jail. It took until 2003 for Downey Jr. to get sober, telling Rolling Stone in 2010:

"All those years of snorting coke, and then I accidentally get involved in heroin after smoking crack for the first time. It finally tied my shoelaces together... Smoking dope and smoking coke, you are rendered defenseless. The only way out of that hopeless state is intervention."

These days Robert Downey Jr. has obviously managed to rebuild his career in a spectacular way, becoming one of the highest paid celebrities in Hollywood. He credits his wife, Susan, with helping him kick his addictions, as well as his family, meditation, 12-step recovery programs, yoga and Wing Chun kung fu. In addition to his roles in films, and as a husband and father, Downey Jr. also raises a lot of money for charities. In April, Downey Jr. helped to raise £1,388,863 for UK-based children's hospice Julia's House when it ran a raffle to win a prize to accompany RDJ to the Avengers: Age of Ultron premiere.

6. Samuel L. Jackson

After joining the acclaimed Negro Ensemble Company in the late 1970s, Jackson began dabbling in drugs. After his family found him passed out in the kitchen while cooking up cocaine, he realized he had a problem and checked into rehab. In an interview with the Telegraph, Jackson explained why he did drugs:

"I took it a step further, I drank and I used drugs. I liked the feeling of not being cognizant of what was going on around me."

These days, Jackson is over 20 years sober. Following rehab, Jackson became more spiritual, which he credits with helping maintain his sobriety. Aside from starring in the record smashing Marvel film franchise, Jackson also dedicates time to raise awareness and funds for various causes including Alzheimers and testicular cancer.

7. Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie turned to drugs in her 20s, famously telling The Mirror in 1996, "I have done just about every drug possible: cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and,
 my favorite, heroin." Speaking to 60 Minutes in 2011, she talked about that period of her life, saying:

"I went through heavy, darker times and I survived them. I didn't die young, so I'm very lucky. There are other artists and people who didn't survive certain things...I think people can imagine that I did the most dangerous and I did the worst, and for many reasons I shouldn't be here."

These days Jolie is sober, and working hard to make the world a better place in her roles as UN Special Envoy for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Aside from working with the UN, she acts, directs, and is a dedicated mother to her six children (with reports of one more on the way), and happily married to Brad Pitt.

Source: Parade, Daily Mail, New Hope Recovery, List 25, Huffington Post


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