“Whether I or anyone else accepted the concept of alcoholism as a disease didn’t matter; what mattered was that when treated as a disease, those who suffered from it were most likely to recover.” – Craig Ferguson
In today’s world, where the media greedily eats up and publicizes the struggles of celebrities, it is easy to assume that everyone in Hollywood drinks to excess and lives a party lifestyle. Everyone from Lindsay Lohan, to Eminem, to Charlie Sheen, have had very public battles with drugs and/or alcohol, and unfortunately, these issues tend to be trivialized and made fun of rather than shown as a disease. However, there are some celebrities who are outspoken about prior struggles with addiction and alcoholism, and are open about their recovery. Craig Ferguson, a British-American actor and television host, published his memoirs in 2010, in the book “American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot.” In his story, he describes his struggle with alcoholism, and the bottom he hit that nearly led him to end his life by jumping off London’s Tower Bridge. His story is both relatable and inspiring- he humbly discusses the low points and emptiness that come along with the disease of addiction, but goes on to achieve happiness and success in sobriety.
He had previously shared his story while he was hosting the Late Late Show, when Britney Spears had her notorious meltdown in 2007, and she became the target of jokes in mainstream media and comedy. Ferguson expressed his refusal to join in on the public shaming of Spears, saying to his audience in a poignant monologue, “This Sunday I was 15 years sober. I didn’t do it for anyone else but myself. I did it because it was an act of conscience. I’m amazed that not poking fun of somebody has become a news story.” As a recovered alcoholic himself, he empathized with her struggle with drugs and alcohol, and relayed a bit of his own story of hitting bottom. He knew firsthand how one’s life could spin out of control, and through sharing his own experience, proved to be an ally and champion of the sick and suffering. His words that night, including the quote above, remind us that addiction is a disease, not a weakness, and should be treated as such.