8 Sober Stars To Inspire You

For some of us in recovery role models are a great carrot to help motivate us. I put this list together after searching the web for celebrities who’d given up drink and who I could relate to. I think Ewan MacGregor’s comment about his drinking going largely unnoticed is something I can resonate with completely. He wasn’t the only one to say this either, Rob Lowe said more or less the same. Celebrities have always had to deal with paparazzi photographers sneaking compromising images and for a star it must be very difficult to publicly manage a drink problem or binge drink. Nowadays technology has made all of us paparazzi potential snappers and the scope for your antics being recorded by a colleague or someone in a bar are seriously high. I’m only grateful I gave up before iPhones were around. The thought of going into work Monday with my drunk antics posted all over Facebook are just unthinkable…!

Booze and me didn’t work. Plain and simple. Here’s 8 celebs who you might also get some inspiration from. I’ve also put the links in for each article that I researched for the post, so you can continue reading their stories.

Ewan McGregor
Sober since 2001 and doesn’t regret a single day of being sober. He said recently that “(he) got away with it more or less unnoticed. I was a maniac on the booze but I only remember it fondly.”-Ewan McGregor

Colin Farrell
“All the madness and all the chaos and all the people around me got so tiring after a while that I had to find another way, and while I don’t live a monk-like existence, I have a new appreciation for solitude that would have terrified me years ago. And I’m glad the madness is over. It was interesting to experience, but I’m glad it’s passed.”-Colin Farrell [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/10651084/Colin-Farrell-Im-glad-the-madness-is-over.html]

Rob Lowe
Hellraiser in the 1980s and 1990s after early career success starting in the John Hughes Brat Pack movies including ‘St Elmo’s Fire’. “I have been sober for 23 years, the only thing that works is that you have to want to get sober for yourself.”-Rob Lowe [http://nypost.com/2014/04/05/a-former-bad-boys-guide-to-the-good-life/]

Ben Affleck
His father was an alcoholic and his behaviour toward the family was an illustration of what he could become if he continued to drink. “Simple as this, I quit drinking. It’s really not that big a deal. It has no real bearing on anything else in my life.”-Ben Affleck [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/9646122/Ben-Affleck-talks-about-his-new-film-Argo.html]

Russel Brand
Stating that his life had immeasurably improved since giving up both drink and drugs, and throwing energy into a fund through Comic Relief (UK) ‘Give it Up’, he’s doing his bit to help those around him. “14 years clean. Anyone can get clean, one day at a time.”-Russell Brand [http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2013/mar/09/russell-brand-life-without-drugs]

Robert Downey Jr.
Downey did the 12 steps programme and underwent therapy and now has a love for espresso coffee and credit his wife, Susan Levin for turning his life around. “I don’t pretend that part of my life didn’t happen but it feels good to be sober for ten years.”-Robert Downey Jr. [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2330012/How-Iron-Man-star-Robert-Downey-Jr-turned-life-prison-cocaine.html]

Matthew Perry
“The thing that I’m most proud of in my life is that if a stranger came up to me and said, ‘I can’t stop drinking. I can’t stop drinking. Can you help me?’ I can say, ‘Yes, I can help you.’”-Matthew Perry [http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20714049,00.html]

Suddenly performing sober was difficult to do, almost impossible. To fix this, rather than turn back to drink, he played in smaller, more intimate venues to get used to singing again in front of an audience. Now sober since 2008. “You gotta remember I hadn’t recorded a song sober in seven years. So it took me awhile to even feel like I could record a song sober.”-Eminem [http://www.gigwise.com/news/86282/eminem-struggled-to-perform-sober-after-quitting-drugs-and-alcohol]


In writing this post and now editing it before I publish, I realise that this is a list made up solely of male celebrities who gave up drink. No reason for that, but it does mean that I’ll follow up with an female celeb post of inspiring women who beat the booze.


Author: James

Sharing stories of recovery and strategies to help you keep sober. Visit my blog today - https://givingupdrink.home.blog

8 thoughts on “8 Sober Stars To Inspire You”

  1. Hi James, I like how you have shared how successful people have moved on from alcohol and kept being creative. It is a big part of the myth and mystique of alcoholism that creativity and drinking are somehow entwined. They are not – for me it is such a waste to be trying to write when i am drunk – it is just garbled nonsense.
    Thanks, Bren Murphy


    1. Just stumbled on your comment Bren. Had no idea that i’d not replied – apologies! Yep, you don’t have to be drunk to be creative, some of my better moments have been stone cold sober. And that’s still the case today. I think also you have so much more time as well, nothing is wasted recovering from a hangover! James


  2. James, Thanks for this article. Some of these people I knew were sober, others not. Always an interesting read. I stopped at age 40 and it wasn’t a day too soon. It might have been fun, but it was certainly more hell than anything.


    1. HI Lisa,
      Thanks for visiting and leaving your comment. Always great to hear from you. I’m a big fan of Ewan McGregor but had no idea that he gave up drinking. When I read his story i found I could totally relate to him and his reasons for giving up. Keep in touch, James


  3. I regard that period of my life (drinking) for over 20 year’s as a time of self delusion masquerading as an adventure . I am 55 now and sober for 3 year’s sorry of course did not stop sooner. I have reached the simple and not unique conclusion that it effect s everything eventually if one were to continue drinking that is ie work health finance relationship s not much else left when u think about it !


    1. Hi Patrick, Good to get your reply. I think this is what many of us feel, that the drink made us think we were on an adventure…but it didn’t turn out to be the adventure we’d hoped it would be! Congratulations on giving up drink and joining the club.


    2. I have just decided to give up the booze a couple of weeks ago as It wasn’t working out for me after starting drinking 15 years ago ,I am no 31 my problem is when people ask me to go for a drink I find it embarrassing to say I Dont drink anymore! Can anyone give me advice on how to deal with this and how not to feel like I’m a bore if I Dont frink


      1. George,
        Great to hear your comment. One thing you’ll find are all the voices in your head telling you that you’re the bore…you’re not. Trust me, i found that i became totally liberated from being able to go out, not get drunk and have a great time. It takes time to get used to this feeling, but have a go. Tell yourself you can do it and you’ll find that you can. :o)


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