With all the craziness that has become everyday life, let’s take a step back and remember March is still international women’s month. There are some incredible women that are currently in recovery and sobriety, many with stories that we could all relate to. Before March ends, I decided to talk about a few celebrity women who are currently recovering. I will share some information about women I have yet to write about, so if you’re wondering why Demi Lovato won’t be in this article it’s because I’ve already written three other articles about her journey. Another honorable mention for brave women going through recovery is Florence Welsh, who I wrote an article about last summer.
Time and time again we learn that addiction is not a disease that discriminates, even the rich and famous can succumb to addiction themselves or have loved one’s suffering. Jamie Lee Curtis is no different. Curtis’ family had a severe history of addiction, as she lost her brother to a heroin overdose when he was only 20. Both of her parents were alcoholics, and she has mused that she wants to rise above what she calls a “family disease.” She had her own run in with addiction, as she became addicted to painkillers in her 30’s along with heavy drinking. She wrote an intimate essay for the Huffington Post sharing her experiences. She admits that “I too, waited anxiously for a prescription to be filled for the opiate I was secretly addicted to. I too, took too many at once. I too, sought to kill emotional and physical pain with pain killers.” Saying that she “too” was addicted creates a vulnerable intimacy to readers who may have similar experiences. It can be a comfort to know that celebrities who seem so far away from us, are actually closer than we think. Curtis is now celebrating about 20 years of sobriety and has been making efforts to improve the community. She currently works with anti-drug associations to help raise awareness.
Another influential woman in recovery is Mary J. Blige, who was open about her mental health issues and substance abuse starting in the 90’s. She has shared in interviews that her substance abuse and depression was rooted in traumatic childhood memories and confessed that she would use drugs to try and numb the pain. Her album My Life released in the early 90’s was what she considered her cry for help; it went triple platinum. The release of such a vulnerable album didn’t stop her from substance abuse however, as she admitted to being high on cocaine when she received her first Grammy in 1995. Blige’s turning point was Whitney Houston’s tragic death. The stars death was a sobering reminder of were addiction can lead. Since then she has remained sober and credits her success to faith and God.
In the television series Sex and the City, Kristin Davis played the pure and sometimes naively innocent Charlotte, who at times seemed to be the shows moral compass. However, in real life Davis struggled with alcoholism. Since her sobriety she has been an active voice in the community, referring to alcoholism as a disease. She has said in an interview, “I don’t think you can mess with it [alcohol]. There was a time people who didn’t know me well would say, ‘Couldn’t you just have one glass of champagne?’ And I would say, ‘No.’”
Perhaps most shockingly is that Oprah Winfrey too has struggled with drugs. For many Oprah is the paragon of moral virtue, a woman so powerful that she’s perfect. But Oprah too, just like anyone else, had her missteps on her journey. She opened up in an interview for the Washington Post all the way back in 1995 about her drug abuse. She was addicted to crack in her early 20’s and also trying to survive an abusive relationship. Her admittance and interview were both groundbreaking, especially for the 90’s.
There are many strong women who have beaten addiction and rose above the odds. Their stories not only teach us that anyone can struggle, but also that anyone can succeed and recover. For some people the darkness of addiction can make them feel that they’ll never amount to more in their lives. Some people believe that they are their addiction. This is untrue. What we can learn from the stories of these strong women who have been living in sobriety is that it’s possible to recovery, find happiness, and be a success. Maybe we won’t all end up talk show hosts or powerful moguls like Oprah, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy and healthy like her.