Eminem And The Road To Sobriety

Eminem And The Road To Sobriety

Many invisible illnesses face severe scrutiny from the general public. Not least of these is addiction, an illness frequently maligned as little more than a selfish sign of weakness and poor impulse control. Over the years, we have worked tirelessly to try and dismantle this misconception in how we support our clients. But the shame of addiction and relapse is so profound, few people like to make their addiction public. Which is why it’s so important when celebrities, those at the forefront of the public’s consciousness, are outspoken about their addiction.

In April, rapper Eminem celebrated 12 years of sobriety by publicly sharing his 12-year chip. “Clean dozen in the books,” his post stated, followed by “I’m not afraid.” He did the same thing at 11 years of sobriety. Over 35,000 comments were peppered not only with support but also solidarity as he empowered others to share their sobriety as well. 

He’s not alone. Last year, Elton John shared his own story of sobriety with the public. Having always been very open and honest about his struggles with addiction (it’s a prominent feature of Rocketman, the 2019 Lee Hall and Dexter Fletcher musical fantasy about John’s life), he shared a similar post with a profound statement. “29 years ago today,” he wrote, “I was a broken man. I finally summoned up the courage to say 3 words that would change my life: ‘I need help’. Thank-you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety. I am eternally grateful.” 

His post yielded the same response and show of solidarity. 

What we can learn from this is that we are none of us alone in our struggles. Sobriety is a long road with many divergent paths. Often that includes relapse. But as we’ve discussed previously, relapse is not a sign of failure. It’s simply part of the road to recovery, one that is seldom successfully walked alone. 

“Ultimately, Eminem credits his children for his recovery,” wrote People about Eminem’s sobriety. Ben Affleck in his interview with Diane Sawyer similarly said it was his children who helped him find the motivation he needed to get clean. Their partners, friends, and family also played an integral role in them both getting the help they needed and finding the motivation to follow through with their promise of recovery. 

And they’re not alone. Many celebrities have recently found the voice to speak out about the struggles of addiction including To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’s Noah Centineo, Jessica Simpson, Bring It On’s Eliza Dushku, Daniel Radcliffe, and even Brad Pitt. 

What these very public people are doing with their transparency is using their platform to show honestly that addiction affects everyone, and it affects us all differently. But there is no shame in recovery, even if it’s met with “fits and starts”, as American Pie star Jason Biggs said of his road to recovery. It’s all part of the process. And through these public displays of solidarity, we can learn more about the struggles of addiction and shed the stigma together. 


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