On a press junket promoting her newest film, Jamie Lee Curtis stopped by The Today Show and talked with Hoda Kotb about her experience with addiction.
One of the most vocal celebrities and faces of the recovery community, Curtis graced the cover of the annual recovery issue of Variety Magazine, hoping to reach people who might see a piece of themselves in her story and choose to get help.
Despite stereotypes of “junkies” or “addicts”, many struggling with addiction appear to be functioning or thriving in everyday life.
It’s the neighbor down the street in the nicest house on the block, the student putting herself through college, and the grandmother who cares for her grandbabies. It may be the man who is struggling to pay rent, the girl who works two jobs because she lost her full-time gig or the top CEO of an organization.
There is no one picture of addiction. And while the symptoms and consequences play out differently across socioeconomic and demographic factors, the inner truth is the same.
Addiction has a sly way of convincing you that you’ve got everything under control, that this is the way you handle the world, and that the problem can’t be “that bad” if you aren’t minutes from death.
But the façade doesn’t hold up. Even if the coping mechanism seems to do the trick, it’s only ever a maladaptive and short-term fix. There is always a cost. It might not be to your livelihood or appearance or something visible to others, but the mental and physical turmoil, struggles in relationships, and unavoidable issues mean no one can escape the ugly parts of addiction.
A common phrase in the recovery community, this stands the test of time.
While it can feel necessary to keep some things close to the chest, when it comes to addiction, secrets keep you sick, stuck, and secluded.
It is inherently disconnecting to have behaviors and actions that don’t align with your values, your identity, and your life. The cognitive dissonance of trying to maintain an addiction but live as if it wasn’t there is unsustainable. Eventually, we begin to step further and further into the addiction, finding reasons to stop the friction by normalizing and defending destructive tendencies.
Especially in recovery, honesty and openness is the only way to truly move forward and utilize support. It may feel vulnerable and shameful to bear it all. But the more that we speak, the more likely we can affirm ourselves and get assistance to stay the course. Or, access what we are looking for, rather than turning back to the addiction.
If you feel bad about keeping something hidden, it’s likely because deep down you know that is not aligned with who you want to be, and it’s not moving you towards your goals. Owning up and opening up is freeing, removing the shadow of secrecy and allowing space for healing.
Curtis mentions in her interview that she worried she would lose work when she told people about her addiction and received help in the 1990s. Yet she continues to have an acting career today.
While we may not all be as lucky as the Hollywood star, it is worth noting that the fears, doubts, and reasons we have for putting off recovery are often products of anxiety.
Our brains, to protect us and in an, albeit misguided, attempt to maintain the homeostasis of addiction, give us worst-case scenarios, “what ifs”, and reasons to stay put.
Recognize the real consequences that may emerge from addressing your addiction. Work, family, social, and internal life as you know it may be turned upside down. But the loss of a job is manageable, relationships can be rebuilt, and an identity outside of addiction will prove to be stronger than the one you’ve left behind. There are remedies to these concerns and problems, but there is no resolution without recovery.
We acknowledge the real pros and cons of seeking treatment and moving on from addiction. We sit with that fear and worry.
And we still take action, knowing that it is worth it.
The job, the neighbors, the reputation don’t mean anything anyway if addiction takes your life.
Even for Curtis, proudly in sobriety for years, choosing recovery is a day-by-day decision.
While your resolve may improve over time, strengthened by a commitment to family, health, and new ways of coping, this journey is not without temptations.
In the cycle, there will be stressful days or times of struggle that might bring those urges bubbling up to the surface in ways you thought had vanished.
Or, perhaps things are going well, and you start to relax into the routine, feeling you don’t need to worry any longer and becoming blasé about attending appointments or support groups.
While addiction no longer rules your life, recovery has to lead it. This means acknowledging that you are at risk and that it is your responsibility and ability to stay on the path. Confidence and assurance comes from setting yourself up for the best chance of success, by using the tools and resources, and deciding anew each day that your actions will be focused toward a life without addiction.
Reading an article about addiction pushed Jamie Lee Curtis to acknowledge and treat her addiction. This is your sign. We know you have questions, worries, and doubts. Steps Recovery Centers is at the ready to answer and help you along the way, with evidence-based treatment and a compassionate approach. Call today and take the first step: 385-250-1701.