The Secrets of Recovering Celebrity Addicts - 5 Celebs Who Beat Addiction

By Sharon Tanenbaum for

A recovery for Charlie Sheen - whose ongoing unraveling in front of one major media outlet after another - may seem hopeless at the moment. But many equally down-and-out stars, including Sheen's own father Martin, have made peace with addiction and gone on to live healthy, clean, fulfilling lives. "Celebrities are role models, and they can use this status with fellow celebs to demonstrate their own healthy journey into a legitimate, long-term treatment program," says David Kipper, MD, a substance abuse specialist in Beverly Hills and author of The Addiction Solution. Maybe Charlie can learn a lesson from the inspiring recoveries of such celebs as Elton John, Kelly Osbourne, Robin Williams, and more.

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1. Martin Sheen

Sheen, who is a recovering alcoholic and active member of Alcoholics Anonymous, primarily credits his religion with his success. "I got sober through Catholicism, through my faith," Sheen told AARP: The Magazine in 2008. He says he got involved with AA as a way to help Charlie with his addiction problems.

RELATED: Has Charlie Sheen Hit Rock Bottom?

2. Jaime Lee Curtis

Last year Jaime Lee Curtis, 51, revealed she had become addicted to painkillers after a routine surgical procedure at age 35. The actress, who played mom to troubled star Lindsay Lohan in the movie Freaky Friday, also admitted to drinking heavily at times, to ease loneliness. In 2010, after more than 10 years of sobriety, Curtis said on the Today Show, "My recovery is the single greatest accomplishment of my life. Without that, the rest of my life would have fallen apart... Recovery is an acceptance that your life is in a shambles and you have to change it. I was lucky, I didn't have to lose anything."

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3. Robert Downing Jr.

After numerous arrests for drug possession and stints in rehab and jail, Robert Downey, Jr. finally kicked his addictions in 2001. The actor credits plenty of yoga, kung fu, and his wife, Susan Levin, for keeping him in check. Remembering his challenging past also helps Downey stay well. "I don't pretend it didn't happen," he told Playboy in a 2010 interview. "More than anything I have this sense that I'm a veteran of a war that is difficult to discuss with people who haven't been there."

RELATED: The Mental Illness-Addiction Connection

4. Kelly Osbourne

Kelly Osbourne became addicted to Vicodin pills, taking up to 50 tablets a day, by the age of 17. She says her mother's cancer diagnosis made the problem worse. After her fourth stint in rehab in 2009, the former Dancing with the Stars contestant and E!'s Fashion Police panelist said she finally felt optimistic about her chances at recovery. "After 30 days, I left rehab. For the first time, I felt hopeful. I knew I'd been given another chance at my life, at my career, at happiness. I wanted to grab it," the 26-year-old wrote in her book, Fierce.

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5. Robin Williams

After struggling with alcoholism and cocaine abuse in the 1980s, Robin Williams says the overdose of fellow comedian John Belushi and becoming a father served as his wake-up call to get help. "It was great to have full sentences once I cleaned up. It was also great to be aware of the experience of a child and watching him grow, which is another amazing experience," Williams said in 2001 on Inside the Actor's Studio. However, in 2006, after more than 20 years of sobriety, Williams checked himself into rehab for alcohol abuse. "It's hard admitting it, then once you've done that, it's real easy," Williams told ABC's Diane Sawyer that year. "You think people don't notice. Then you find out later, 'We knew. … You went outside naked.' No, I didn't. But even the dog was like, 'What's wrong, boy?' Humiliation gives you humility."

Photo: Martin Sheen,