By Preston Powell
The loneliness, the boredom, the need to escape reality—COVID-19 has really put the world through a wringer.
Even though our social lives have slowed down, stay-at-home orders and the general rollercoaster of the pandemic have thrown us off our routines. It’s easy to see why some are struggling with sobriety and addiction during this time.
The age of COVID-19 has been challenging for those looking to stay sober, and celebrities are no exception. Here is a list of 10 celebs who have opened up about rehab, recovery and relapses during the pandemic.
Celebs Who Spoke About Addiction in 2020-2021
A major vocal chord surgery in November 2019 forced singer Miley Cyrus into sobriety, but it sparked a positive change in her life. “I did a lot of family history, which has a lot of addiction and mental health challenges,” she said in a Variety interview. “So just going through that and asking, ‘Why am I the way that I am?’ By understanding the past, we understand the present and the future much more clearly.” However, she did struggle during the pandemic: in November 2020, she said that she was two weeks sober after having a setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I fell off and I realized that I now am back on sobriety, two weeks sober, and I feel like I really accepted that time.”
Although he was temporarily sober for Sober October, Joe Rogan shone a light on sobriety amid the COVID pandemic. “COVID-19 and 2020 as a whole have presented a unique set of obstacles and a great deal of stress. Many people drink alcohol as a way to blow off steam,” he said. “On the flip side, because there are fewer opportunities to attend social get-togethers, parties and large gatherings such as in-person networking events, weddings, concerts and the like that often serve alcohol or offer it. For some people, there may be less of an outside influence to consume alcoholic beverages, too.”
On a podcast interview with “People’s Party With Talib Kweli” in January 2021, the rapper said, “If it wasn’t for my pops having the 10 or 12 racks that it was when I first went to treatment [at 25]and [his ability]to spend that on me, I’d be f—ing dead. I wouldn’t be here right now. That’s not to be f—ing dramatic, that’s just what it is. I was about to die.” In the same interview, Macklemore discussed how having a sense of community made a positive impact on his recovery. He said, “There is a therapeutic value of one addict to another sharing their experience, strength and hope [and]that has saved my f—ing life and continues to save my life.”
In order to open up about her overdose, singer Demi Lovato thought it would be best to tell her story and “set the record straight” in her upcoming documentary. In July 2018, Lovato overdosed on a reported mix of fentanyl and oxycodone. “I was left with brain damage, and I still deal with that today. I don’t drive a car due to blind spots with my vision and I had a really hard time reading,” Lovato said. The experience also left her with “three strokes, a heart attack and my doctors saying I had five to ten minutes.” According to Lovato, the documentary covers a lot of aspects of her recovery, including substance, mental health, emotional health, and her own spiritual journey. Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil is available to watch on YouTube.
In her memoir, Open Book (published in February 2020), Jessica Simpson opens up about her sobriety journey, candidly sharing that her desire for change was sparked on Halloween 2017. “It was 7:30 in the morning and I’d already had a drink,” she wrote. “I was terrified of letting [the kids]see me in that shape. I am ashamed to say that I don’t know who got them into their costumes that night.” In an interview with People, she divulged, “When I finally said I needed help, it was like I was that little girl that found her calling again in life. Honesty is hard, but it’s the most rewarding thing we have. And getting to the other side of fear is beautiful.”
On December 30, 2020, Chrissy Teigan announced on Instagram that she was four weeks sober and giving up alcohol “for good.” She wrote: “I was done with making an ass of myself in front of people (I’m still embarrassed), tired of day drinking and feeling like s—t by 6, not being able to sleep. I have been sober ever since.” The model and cookbook author also said, “I knew in my heart it wasn’t right… I used to think it was kind of nutty to have to go totally sober. But now I get it. I don’t want to be that person… I have to fix myself.”
Celebs Celebrating Milestones During COVID
In December 2020, the Silence of the Lambs star tweeted: “Forty-five years ago today, I had a wake-up call. I was headed for disaster, I was drinking myself to death…A little thought that said, ‘Do you want to live or die?’ And I said, ‘I want to live.’ And suddenly the relief came and my life has been amazing.” He continued, “I have my off days and sometimes little bits of doubt and all that… All in all, I say hang in there. Today is the tomorrow you were so worried about yesterday. Young people, don’t give up. Just keep in there.”
In July 2020, Elton John posted to Instagram: “Reflecting on the most magical day having celebrated my 30th Sobriety Birthday…I’m truly a blessed man. If I hadn’t finally taken the big step of asking for help 30 years ago, I’d be dead. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart to all the people who have inspired and supported me along the way.”
During an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show in March 2020, the Home Improvement star talked about how he has been sober for “about 22 years.” “It doesn’t happen overnight,” he said. “It’s a day-to-day thing. You gotta reprise every day.”
In February 2021, the Florence and the Machine singer posted to social media: “I am 7 years sober today. I send my love and support to anyone who is struggling,” she captioned an Instagram post of a heart painting. “If you are feeling shaky around ED issues, drugs or alcohol, I completely understand. The desire to disassociate is so strong. But please don’t give up. We are going to need you on the other side.♥️.”
By Preston Powell
Preston Powell is the CMO at WebServ, a digital marketing company that specializes in healthcare and rehab marketing. He loves sharing best practices for rehab marketing tips, in blog posts like “Why Is Addiction Marketing So Difficult?” and “Search Optimization 101: Generate Organic Rehab Admissions.” In his spare time, you can find him watching South Park and hanging out with his dog Doodle.
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