As the global pandemic leads to increased alcohol sales and drug overdoses, Anthony Hopkins, Chrissy Teigen and others spoke about their past struggles and abstinence.
The start of a new year always comes with wellness-focused New Years resolutions that match the voluntary tradition of dry January, a month marked by abstaining from alcohol.
But 2021 has allowed a unique mix of the above, as the current COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased alcohol sales and drug overdoses, recent studies show. The CDC reported in December that 81,000 people died of drug overdoses between May 2019 and May 2020, the highest number ever recorded in a 12-month period.
That said, Sobriety has recently received generous PR from a number of high profile stars, including Anthony Hopkins (who celebrated 45 years of sobriety); Elton John (who said Zoom 12 steps the meetings were a lifeline); Chrissy Teigen (who quit alcohol after to be inspired by Holly Whitakers book Stop like a woman); French Montana (which marked a sober year after a Fear in intensive care due to excessive alcohol consumption, too many pills); and Rumer Willis (who celebrated four years sobriety).
At any given moment, celebrities or public figures who seem to have it all reveal that they too have had to question their own behaviors and face the truths about their need to consume alcohol or another substance to soothe difficult emotions or experiences, out of boredom or loneliness to connect especially during quarantine isolation, he inspires their fans to do the same, says Jennifer Musselman, a former Nickelodeon executive turned psychotherapist and leadership consultant who founded theMusselman Institute for Leadership Insight & Marriage Therapy, tell The Hollywood Reporter. To the common person, he says, if Chrissy Teigen or Anthony Hopkins, who have everything, suffer from this, then maybe I’m not a weak loser after all.
Danny Trejo, who, at 52 years of sobriety, recently filmed a PSA for CRI-Help, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit treatment center, is helping to tighten that notion up. The place finds the former inmate turned boxer turned actor battling his demons literally and figuratively in and out of the ring. I’m honest. I have become clean. You can too, says Trejo on the spot, which debuted in December.
Musselman says that the start of a new year often leads people to review their decisions and life goals, especially after indulging in the holidays. But this year is different. She suggests anyone leaning toward recovery or even a dry January to have the grace to themselves, call on a trusted friend for compassionate responsibility, and seek out the vast network of resources online.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not the normal start of a new year, and it’s important to remember, she adds. Usual coping mechanisms are not easily accessible to people and can hinder their success. In-person support groups like AA, Smart Recovery, or even the support of friends and family are mostly online. Gyms are closed, all social activity is limited. Even medical and mental care is limited due to the influx of people who need support at this time. These are essential components for many people who need extra support to successfully start the road to recovery.
A version of this story first appeared in the Jan.13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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