The horrible disease of addiction knows no bounds. It affects men and women from all walks of life. Not even celebrity status can make one immune from the disease, as the following women will prove. However, these five women demonstrate that recovery is possible and life is more fulfilling without drugs and alcohol. In honor of International Women’s Day, Natural State Recovery Centers shares the stories of five inspiring women in addiction 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 thirties, Curtis became addicted to painkiller drugs. In addition to opiate use, the film star drank heavily to “anesthetize” herself and ease feelings of loneliness daily. In 2019, Curtis spoke openly about her addiction in a Variety issue dedicated to recovery.
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 22nd 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.
2. Mary J. Blige
The “Queen of Hip-Hop and Soul” has also had her own toils with mental health and substance abuse. Mary J. Blige, who has sold over 20 million albums during her career, has been open about her struggles with clinical depression, drug use, and alcoholism since the early 90s .
Mary J. Blige, now 52, 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. In that moment, 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. Read more about her recovery store in this Self magazine article.
3. Kristin Davis
Best known as the pure and perfect Charlotte on Sex and the City, Kristin Davis had a long battle with alcoholism before becoming an actress. Her alcohol addiction became so bad, she admitted, that she didn’t think she would live past 30 years old.
Davis does not keep her past addiction a secret, however, because she quit drinking before her career took off—and Sex in the City popularized the Cosmopolitan—many people don’t realize she was sober.
“It’s caused a lot of confusion out in the world,” she said. “I got sent many a Cosmo! I never drink them. I believe [alcohol use disorder] 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?”
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 took off.
4. Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith, a multi-million-dollar actress, did not always live a life of glamor. 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. 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 now celebrates over 20 years clean and sober . On recovery, she 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…”
Read more about Jada Pinkett Smith’s recovery story here.
5. Drew Barrymore
As a child actress in Hollywood, Drew Barrymore had a very public struggle with addiction. Since then, she has been honest not only about her recovery, but also about her continued struggles and relapse. In an interview with People, Drew Barrymore admitted that she relapsed on alcohol when she divorced her ex-husband Will Kopelman in 2016. She said she felt like she walked "through the fire" to "come back to life" for their daughters, Frankie and Olive.
Barrymore admitted that she found the years after her divorce to be "cripplingly difficult" to handle. The actress revealed that she "broke" and drank to cope with her new reality. "It was just trying to numb the pain and feel good—and alcohol totally did that for me.” While the relapse was a difficult time for the actress, it revealed to her that the problem was bigger than herself. "You keep thinking you will master this thing, and it's getting the better of you." Barrymore learned from her relapse that recovery is ongoing effort and requires immense work to stay on track. However, since the relapse she has celebrated 3 years of sobriety.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, Natural State Recovery Centers can help. Through counseling, therapy, and holistic experiences, we treat not only the symptoms of addiction, but also the underlying causes. We’re with you at every step. Call today (501) 319-7074.