Uncontrollable drinking or compulsive drinking by an individual despite the negative consequences they have incurred. An individual that is psychically dependent on the use of alcohol.

Many faces of alcoholism and addiction exist. Below is a list of celebrities who struggled with alcoholism and are in recovery, plus a quote from each about his or her recovery, admitting to their addiction, and how life has been for them in sobriety.

Robin Williams: "It's hard admitting it, then once you've done that, it's real easy."

celebrity alcoholic radcliffeDaniel Radcliffe: "I became so reliant on [alcohol] to enjoy stuff." "As much as I would love to be a person that goes to parties and has a couple of drinks and has a nice time, that doesn't work for me."


celebrity alcoholic


Michael J Fox: ‘"Once I did that it was then about a year of like a knife fight in a closet, where I just didn't have my tools to deal with it … but then after that I went to therapy and it all started to get really clear to me. In treatment Fox said he learned to "take one day at a time." ‘

celebrity alcoholicJamie Lee Curtis: “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.”

celebrity alcoholicDemi Lovato: Demi Lovato explains with regards to her drinking, "I've slipped up a few times, but each time I have learned from it, and it's become further apart."

Russell Brand: “If anything positive can come of the death of Philip Seymour, it’s that. His death doesn’t make sense unless you accept that addiction is an illness. It doesn’t make sense any other way. Otherwise, you think ‘hang on a minute why he’d do that?’”  “Addiction is a mental illness around which there is a great deal of confusion, which is hugely exacerbated by the laws that criminalize drug addicts.”

celebrity alcoholicJohnny Depp: “I was poisoning myself with alcohol and medicating myself. I was trying to numb things. I was trying not to feel things, and that's ridiculous. It's one of the dumbest things you can do, because all you're doing is postponing the inevitable. Someday you'll have to look all those things in the eye rather than try to numb the pain.”

Mickey Mantle: " ‘All you've got to do is look at me to see it's wasted,’ he says of his life, with tears welling up in his eyes as he alludes to his 40-year bout with alcohol abuse that led to his liver problem.”

celebrity alcoholicRobert Downy Jr.:  In reference to his addiction, he stated, “I don't pretend it didn't happen. “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.” He also stated that practicing yoga was a big part of his recovery.

Kristen Davis:  “I believe [alcoholism] is a disease. I don’t think you can mess with it. There was a time when people who didn’t know me well would say, 'Couldn’t you just have one glass of champagne?' And I would say, 'No.' I’m doing well. I still have occasional bad days. Why risk it?"

Alec Baldwin: “God got me sober. That day, God was a black, 65-year-old retired postal worker named Lenny,” Baldwin writes. “Lenny said, ‘You never have to feel this way again if you don’t want to.’ ”

Alcohol addiction affects millions of people.  But there is help in overcoming this disease.  These celebrities show living in recovery is more than possible.

New Hope Recovery Center is available to answer your questions and help you or your loved one.  888-808-4673 (HOPE)


Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Most mouthwashes contain alcohol, a LOT of alcohol. For example, the original Listerine formula is almost 27% alcohol (54 Proof) and most mint-flavored mouthwashes are around 22% alcohol.  But drinking mouthwash can be dangerous.

Who would drink mouthwash?

Although it may not occur to most people to try drinking mouthwash, for some people, it is tempting.  Teenagers can get it without ID or find it in their homes.  It may be cheaper to buy than alcohol, or at least appear that way. It is often easier to steal mouthwash compared to alcoholic beverages. In most homes it is left out and not really monitored by anyone. And in many homes with recovering alcoholics, alcohol may be removed, but people often forget about mouthwash.

The Toxic Ingredients in Mouthwash

Mouthwash is designed to be expectorated (spit out) and not swallowed. Ingesting amounts large enough to cause drunkenness can be extremely toxic and may lead to serious consequences.

Although mouthwash contains alcohol, it is generally denatured alcohol.  Denatured alcohol means that it has additives to make it toxic or unpleasant for consumption.  (Perhaps no surprise that denatured alcohol is taxed differently/lower than drinkable alcohol.) In some cases these additives are even poisonous.  For example, some mouthwashes contain methyl alcohol (or wood alcohol), which is poisonous and can cause blindness, organ failure and death.

Mouthwashes also typically contain other ingredients that are toxic and harmful if ingested. Some mouthwash contains hydrogen peroxide, which can cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Many mouthwashes contain compounds such as menthol, eucalyptol and thymol. These ingredients can be toxic when consumed in amounts large enough to become drunk from mouthwash.

Of course drinking mouthwash can be dangerous in the same way that drinking large amounts of alcoholic beverages is dangerous. Large amounts of mouthwash can produce intoxication, which could lead to arrest for drunk driving, making poor decisions, putting oneself at risk for injury or death, and engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors.


If you are drinking mouthwash, you likely have an alcohol problem.  If you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol, you can contact New Hope Recovery Center for help: 888-707-4673(HOPE) or info@new-hope-recovery.com

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center


Addiction is a family disease that affects everyone connected to the addict. So what should family and friends do (and not do) when someone they love is addicted? 

Addiction is a disease of the body, mind and spirit from which people can and do recover. Like any other disease, no one intends to get sick or wishes it upon someone. Addiction recovery is a process of healing from the different layers of pain, disappointment, shame and guilt that come with addiction.

What not to do:

  • Do not think you can control the addict or the addiction.  Understand that the addict and the addiction are beyond your control.  You can only control yourself.
  • Do not enable the addict or alcoholic. There is a difference between helping and enabling someone.  Helping someone is doing something for someone which they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling someone is doing for someone something they can do and should do for themselves.  Helping looks at the long term benefits and consequences, whereas enabling only looks at the immediate situation or drama.
  • Do not make threats you won’t be able to follow through on. Addicts/alcoholics will continue to push any boundaries to the limits and weaken your resolve. Set limits you can keep and then keep them.
  • Do not shame or scorn the addict/alcoholic. Addiction is a shame based disease and does not need any more shaming to fuel itself. The addict/alcoholic often suffers from chronic shame which includes different levels of low self-worth, low self-esteem, self-hatred, and a distorted self-image.
  • Do not make excuses or cover up for the addict/alcoholic.  Allow them to experience the full consequences of their addiction. Do not deny or minimize the addiction or its severity. Trying to fix their problems, manage their lives or control the addict’s behaviors only prolongs the addict from learning to be accountable and responsible for their actions. They are kept from learning the valuable lessons they need in order to grow and change.
  • Do not allow your emotions to get the best of you. You have ridden a roller coaster of emotions long enough; it is now time for you to get off the ride. If you find yourself getting overly emotional in dealing with the addict/alcoholic, step away until you can be calm.  Addiction creates drama, so be prepared for how you will act before the drama begins.

What to do:

  • Be patient while the addict/alcoholic is in recovery. Recovery is a journey not a destination.  Recovery will happen in several stages and may not happen in a neat line.
  • Do what you can at the moment. There will be situations where you will be hesitant or confused about what to do. Make the best decision you can at the time and move one.  Learn what works and doesn’t work and act accordingly.  Remember to fully accept that you made the best decision at the time with the information you had available.
  • Do focus on yourself not on the addict/alcoholic. Loved ones need to focus their efforts on staying healthy. You can’t help the addict if you are not healthy and cannot help yourself. You and your families’ well-being depends on it.
  • Set boundaries for your long-term health and sanity. Lovingly (and frequently, if necessary) insist that your boundaries be respected and state the consequences for any violation of your boundaries.  Follow through on these consequences. See your follow-through as an act of love that builds trust for yourself and the addict/alcoholic.
  • Do identify and recognize the different areas of life that have been neglected as a result of your preoccupation with the addict/alcoholic and begin to rectify any damage done.
  • Do practice letting go of your need to fix, manage or control the addict/alcohol or situations and circumstances that arise from the addiction. This is sometimes called "release with love”.
  • Do seek help for yourself and other family members. Getting outside help is often critical for complete healing and growth. It can also provide a healthy perspective on your situation and interactions.  Seek out a therapist, counselor, Al-AnonNar-anon, Smart Recovery, Co-Dependents Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics or some other group that focuses on those who are affected by an addict/alcoholic.

Change will take time but will be a beautiful journey of uncovering, discovering, and recovering your lives. You will not only survive, but thrive.

Remember: Progress, not Perfection

New Hope Recovery Center provides individualized treatment for all clients.  We understand that each client is unique.  If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you can reach us at 888-707-4673 (HOPE) or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center



Wet Brain Wernicke-Korsakoff SyndromeWet brain is the informal name for a neurological disorder known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.  It is the combined presence of Wernicke's encephalopathy and Korsakoff's syndrome.

Symptoms of Wet Brain

People suffering from Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome typically exhibit the following symptoms:

Loss of muscle coordination

- staggering, irregular gait

- poor coordination

- leg tremors

Memory issues      

- “Remembering” events that never happened

- Inability to form new memories

- Loss of memory, which can be severe

- Disorientation related to time and place

- General confusion

Visual problems

- Seeing (and hearing) hallucinations

- double vision

- drooping eyelids

- abnormal eye movements

Cause of Wet Brain

Many mistakenly think that wet brain, or Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, is due to alcohol destroying brain cells.  However, it is actually caused by a deficiency in thiamine (Vitamin B1).

Connection Between Wet Brain and Alcoholism

Chronic alcoholism can lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome for several reasons:

  • Many heavy drinkers have poor eating habits and their diets often do not contain essential vitamins.  This leads to malnutrition and lack of thiamine.
  • Alcohol can damage stomach and intestine lining and make it difficult for the body to absorb the key vitamins it receives.
  • Alcohol adversely impacts the ability of the liver to store vitamins.

Treatment for Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome

If Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is identified at early onset, doses of thiamine (vitamin B1) may have some preventive effect.  Unfortunately, it is not possible to recover from any irreversible damage to the brain caused by Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.  So early detection is critical.

Without treatment, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome gets progressively worse, eventually leading to coma and death.

If you suspect that alcohol is affecting your health or your loved one’s health, call 888-707-4673.

codependent addictionCodependency is a tricky term that is often used in everyday conversation.  Although broader definitions explain the term as a general personality type, one of the original uses of codependency was the idea of a codependent individual having an unhealthy relationship with (often the spouse or child of) an alcoholic or drug addicted person.

A Codependent Personality exhibits several symptoms:

  • A compulsive and unrelenting need to be needed
  • Low self esteem
  • Putting others’ needs first, to the detriment of oneself
  • Deep fear of abandonment and rejection
  • Extreme emotions
  • Strong need for approval or recognition
  • A need to control others
  • Difficulty in adapting to changes and making decisions
  • Passive-aggressive style of communication
  • Poor boundaries and difficulty saying “no”

A person demonstrating a tendency toward codependency will exhibit these symptoms, regardless of whether or not he/she is in a codependent relationship. It is not uncommon to see these patterns emerge across many relationships and settings.  For example, a codependent person may have trouble saying no to a boss, may be preoccupied with needing friends to be happy all of the time, may have trouble telling a parent or partner when she is angry or frustrated and may have extreme difficulties setting limits with his or her child, partner, family or friends.  For a codependent person, these symptoms will be seen across nearly all relationships and over an extended period of time/across a lifespan, unless there is treatment.

A Codependent Relationship can be identified by the following symptoms/patterns:

  • Unhealthy push/pull dynamics,
  • Passive pleasing vs. aggressive demands,
  • A sacrificing of one’s self for a relationship or another’s happiness, and
  • Continuing in a relationship that is not working due to the fact that neither party is willing to give up the security of it

Much of the literature that exists regarding codependency examines the specific dynamic between a codependent and narcissistic personality.  The traits exhibited by these personality types are magnets for each other, creating a balance that, while highly maladaptive and unhealthy, serve to meet the specific emotional needs of each person.   The more the codependent strives to please, caretake and meet the needs of his/her partner, the more the narcissistic individual will take. The narcissistic person needs to be catered to, cared for and put first as much as the codependent needs to care for, please, adore and be approved of.  Once the dynamic is in motion, it becomes highly addictive, and codependency can mirror any other addiction in its compulsive, progressive nature.

As with all addictions, codependency is seen as highly treatable.  The first step is to realize and accept that you are codependent.  Once denial is dealt with and one can come to terms with the maladaptive patterns of codependency, healing can begin and one can learn to seek healthier partners and improve existing strained and unfulfilling relationships with family, friends and loved ones.  12-Step programs such as Codependents Anonymous, Al-anon, Alateen and ACOA (adult children of alcoholics) are extremely helpful for providing the lifelong support and guidance needed to come to terms with and stop acting out the painful patterns and self-denying behaviors associated with codependency.  Codependents tend to be perfectionists and reluctant to ask for help, so if going to meetings is too big a step,  Melody Beattie has written several excellent books on codependency, including Codependent No More.  This can be a good starting point for your healing.

New Hope Recovery Center, Chicago’s premier alcohol and drug addiction facility, offers treatment to those addicted to drugs or alcohol and their families.  Our family programming allows families to see how addiction has impacted the entire family.  We encourage all family members to begin their own journey of healing.

If you or someone you love is affected by addiction, New Hope Recovery Center can help. Contact us at 773-883-3916 or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Some holidays are more difficult than others for recovering alcoholics; St.Patrick’s day is often one of those holidays. It was once celebrated as a day to honor the Patron Saint of Ireland, it has evolved into an “all you can drink” party that has little to do with Ireland or St.Patrick at all.

In most American cities the holiday takes over and the parties spill out of the bars and into the streets. Chicago Taxi drivers now charge a hefty fee for anyone that  throws up in the cab, this is not an unlikely occurrence on St. Patrick's Day. There are green shamrocks as far as the eye can see and the sounds of bagpipes blow long into the night. Starting early in the morning and going strong into night, St.Patrick's Day is a holiday centered and focused on one thing; the consumption of alcohol.

Where are the recovering alcoholics during this time? Many recovering alcoholics despise this day for the obvious reasons. It is one of the few days out of the year they can have a hard time trying to avoid this type of behavior. While it can be difficult to maintain a positive outlook on this day, impossible it is not. There is no reason a recovering alcoholic should feel worried, scared or intimidated on this day. Here are some helpful tips to stay sober and enjoy your St. Patrick's Day:

  • First and foremost, you don’t have to surround yourself with the mayhem. Plan accordingly ahead of time to leave the hotspots during this time. If you live in an area of your city that is a hotbed for bars, plan a day trip outside of that area and return once the festivities die down. In most cities spring is just starting to blossom. Celebrate by going to a forest preserve or nature sanctuary far secluded from any bars or parties.
  • If leaving isn't an option for you, try to avoid the crowds as much as possible. This means staying in and enjoying time at home. Plan ahead by getting all your grocery shopping done and making sure you have no reason to travel through the seas of people.  You can celebrate by making a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner and watching The Commitments.
  • Find a sober St.Patricks day party. Keep an eye peeled for sober activities at meetings and clubs in the weeks leading up to the holiday. If you’re willing to venture through your city this is a great option for any recovering alcoholics. Most Alano clubs or AA groups have sober gatherings on holidays, and there is no better way to keep from drinking or being triggered than surrounding yourself with other sober friends.
  • Stay busy. Make a list of things you need to do and knock it out while everyone else is wasting time. By staying busy and proactive you will not only be taking your mind off of the drinking. You will be congratulating yourself and patting yourself on the back over what you’re getting done on a day most people don't remember. Make a list of ten things you want to accomplish and stay busy.
  • Keep on living your life like it’s any other day. Not all recovering alcoholics are triggered or feel uncomfortable around drinking or partying, and not all of us feel the need to change our way of living over other people just because we are sober. If this is the case, do what you would do any other day to stay sober and be grateful you no longer need to live that way.

New Hope Recovery Center is a substance abuse and addiction treatment facility located in Chicago, IL. If you know someone who needs professional help with addiction, please call for more information 1-888-707-4673.

Want more information about how to handle holidays when you are sober? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 
Family Matters and the Holiday Season The holiday season is stressful time for everyone. In this audio interview from Big Oldies 93.7 Dial-a-Doc, Charles Brookover MS, LCPC, CADC speaks about how to best handle holiday gatherings and properly set your expectations for holiday celebrations. Charlie Brookover works at FHN Family Counseling Center – Jo Daviess County at 300 Summit Street Galena, IL 61036.
Alcoholism and Addiction: How to Stay Sober While Traveling Travel season is here in full force and unless you’re going on an expedition through the Alaskan tundra, there is a good chance you will be around alcohol. Vacations are a time to relax, regenerate and enjoy yourself. Unfortunately, for many recovering alcoholics and addicts, travel can cause a lot of anxiety. Many people associate vacations with alcohol and many popular vacation spots around the world use this as a main attraction.
Addiction, Recovery and Summer in Chicago With Chicago’s summer right around the corner, everyone is gearing up for baseball games, barbecues, street festivals and long days at the beach or on the water. For those who are sober, this can sound like a nightmare instead of a holiday. The majority of summertime activities often include alcohol, but most recovering from alcohol or drug addiction seem to think they revolve around alcohol. Just because you don’t drink anymore, doesn't mean you can’t enjoy the many summer activities you’re accustomed to.
Life After Rehab: 5 Tips for the Newly Sober So you've finished treatment…now what? This is a common question people ask themselves after finishing drug and alcohol rehab. Statistics show that the days, and even hours, after leaving treatment are incredibly crucial to long term sobriety.  Addiction treatment centers provide a safe, structured environment where someone is removed from their triggers and the pressures of everyday life.  Leaving the safety net of rehab can be intimidating and even frightening to some individuals although it doesn't have to be.  There are many things newly sober people can do following treatment to ensure they maintain the sobriety achieved in treatment.

Chicago Drug Rehab Treatment CenterWhen I first got to New Hope Recovery Center, I was no stranger to treatment. I had several attempts with inpatient treatment centers and detox units. At the time I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to be sober, I know I needed to be though. New Hope Recovery Center is where I learned “to want it.” At only 21 years old I was a daily heroin user and an alcoholic, I was not hirable and had burned up all but a few bridges with my family and friends. I sometimes struggle to believe how far I have come. My first 28 days at New Hope were filled with many ups and downs and a myriad of emotions - anger, sadness, loneliness, remorse; but it was during this time and through dealing with these emotions, I was able to see the consequences of my addiction to the fullest and begin to recover.  At the time, my family wanted little to do with me, but after several family sessions with my counselor I slowly began to rebuild the trust that I had lost. Most importantly for the first time in my life, I was starting to fully understand WHY I couldn’t use instead of concentrating on how I couldn’t use.

I remember my first day at New Hope and how bad I couldn’t wait for it to be over. However, by my 28th day, I was signed up for their Intensive Outpatient program and had agreed to stay in their sober living. During this time I attended AA meetings, worked with a sponsor and continued to utilize the treatment team at New Hope. New Hope’s unique way of Residential Treatment was exactly what I needed. I was living in a structured environment and attending treatment daily, but I was also able to go to outside meetings, find a sponsor and fellowship with others in recovery. It was during this time that I learned to want recovery.

After almost five months of treatment, I left New Hope Recovery Center and have been sober since, though sometimes I feel like I never really left. I stayed involved in aftercare and became a volunteer, chairing 12-Step meetings and sponsoring men in treatment. During this time, New Hope was still helping me stay sober just as much as when I was in the program. My life is filled with gifts today, all of them because of my sobriety. This month I celebrated 3 years of sobriety, I went back to school got a degree, and have been employed since. We learn in AA that nothing happens by chance, and I truly believe that ending up at New Hope Recovery Center did not happen by chance.