Rob Lowe took back the control to his life in May 1990 and has been working towards staying sober since then.
Some people have to walk through fire before they can understand who they are and what they want in life. It can be a grueling process but it is, perhaps, the most honest way of living. And actor Rob Lowe would agree. The 57-year-old actor has come a long way to get in touch with his inner demons and angels. He has had to lay his heart bare many times and continues to do so because he wants others in his predicament to get better as well.
Lowe revealed recently that he was celebrating his 31st year of sobriety. The Parks and Recreation alum shared a photo of himself, riding a cycle. "Today I have 31 years drug and alcohol-free," said the West Wing actor. "I want to give thanks to everyone walking this path with me, and welcome anyone thinking about joining us; the free and the happy. And a big hug to my family for putting up with me!! Xoxo," he wrote.
His battle with addiction began as a young teen boy. The St. Elmo's Fire actor was only 13 when his family moved from Dayton to the working-class section of Malibu. He and his brother, actor Chad Lowe, became friends with brothers Chris and Sean Penn, Charlie Sheen, and Emilio Estevez. When he started pursuing acting, he became friends with the fast crowd. Back in the 80s, access to cocaine wasn't the hardest thing in Hollywood, according to Variety.
"This was just how the business was back then. Cocaine was the thing that successful people did. There was always that wonderful moment when as an active drug abuser you’d go on the set and figure out which department was selling the coke on the set. It was no different than craft services. Where are the Red Vines, and where is the great Peruvian blow?" he recalled, adding, "Those days are long, long, loooong gone."
He was shooting for The Outsiders in 1983 when he turned 18. He was working with a largely unknown group of actors, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, and C Thomas Howell, back then. Francis Ford Coppola put the boys to hard work, and at the end of the day, they had easy access to alcohol.
"Every day when we would wrap we’d get in a van. The Teamsters would give us a carton of beer. This was a Warner Bros. movie — as mainstream as it gets," Lowe said. Howell was only 15 back then.
He still feels nostalgia for that period of his life but is grateful that he survived it. "I feel so blessed and fortunate that I was able to live through that period, and I mean that in all of its definitions," Lowe said. "The late ’70s and ’80s in Southern California in the entertainment business — there was nothing like it. And there never will be again," he added.
His turning point came when he got a phone call from his mother about his sick grandfather, whom he loved. "My mother called me and I could hear her voice on the answering machine. I didn’t want to pick up because I was really, really hungover and I didn’t want her to know. She was telling me that my grandfather, who I loved, was in critical condition in the hospital and she needed my help," he said, adding that he didn't pick up. He thought, "I need to drink a half a bottle of tequila right now so I can go to sleep so I can wake up so I can pick up this phone."
This became his wake-up call and he kicked the habit on May 10, 1990. However, he recalls that he "wasn’t ready until" he was ready. Now, he is the proud father of two kids and has been married for more than 30 years. He also supported his son, John, who is now two years sober after his alcohol problem.
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by (L)James Sorensen (R)Pascal Le Segretain