If you walk into a room full of addicts and look past the scars from their years of addiction, you’ll most likely find a lot of talent. Musicians, artists, writers, mathematicians – as a whole the addict crowd tends to be full of people who are really, really good at what they do, more so than the average person. They all share one thing in common, and that is that addiction brought them to their knees and away from their path of success. Any recovering addict will likely have a similar story for you.
Legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson is also a recovering addict. While he has had a ton of success in Hollywood, he also has had a long history of battling drug and alcohol addiction. He recently spoke to the Huffington Post about his journey from addict to A-list actor, and it brings to light the fact that addiction can affect anyone, no matter how successful they seem on the outside.
Jackson’s Addiction Struggle
Jackson, who most recently starred in “Legend of Tarzan”, has been sober since 1991. Before then, he was working hard, and performing in Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, and at the same time battling a severe addiction. In his own words, “I was a f**king drug addict and I was out of my mind a lot of the time, but I had a good reputation.” His talent was obvious, but the only thing holding his back was his addiction.
Jackson his his rock bottom when he came home from a bachelor party and passed out in his house surrounded by drugs and paraphernalia. His then 8-year-old daughter and wife found him, and he entered rehab shortly thereafter. He knew that getting sober would open new doors for him, and his wife encouraged him to do so.
His newfound sobriety did in fact blow open many doors, all of which have led to the success he has today. Being sober allowed him to focus on his own skill set and interacting with the other actors he was working with, and not solely on the audience’s reaction. Not long after he got sober, he landed a leading role opposite Wesley Snipe in Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever”, and from there his career continued to blossom.
Jackson draws a direct correlation between his sobriety and his success. For most addicts, it’s the same thing, although while in addiction they might wrongfully believe that they must rely on their drug or alcohol use to perform and succeed. As any recovering addict will tell you, it’s a false veil that will eventually lift, and once sobriety is achieved, many more doors will open.
There is no question that getting sober and staying on the right path opens doors that people never could have imagined were possible. The key is to take the first steps necessary to achieve sobriety, and that almost always requires treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, get the help you need as soon as possible, and your life’s possibilities will become wide open.