You’ve already seen the list of influential ladies who drink moderately, mindfully or not at all, so now it’s time for the inspirational dudes…
Alec Baldwin kicked booze and drugs in 1985, after a couple of years as a daily drink and drug user – “I think I would’ve got it eventually, but, I’m glad I got it when I did ’cause not many people get sober when they’re young.” Then there’s Rock n Roll’s Mr Nice Guy, Alice Cooper, who was a dependent drinker into his late twenties. He finally gave it all up when he realised that it was his only way to survive – and he’s still the king of shock theatricals at the grand age of 69.
Brad Pitt gave up drinking last year after his split with Angelina Jolie, realising he was drinking too much and wanted to make some changes. Bradley Cooper started his road to recovery from addiction twelve years ago.
Cristiano Ronaldo takes his career very seriously – I mean who wouldn’t when you’re earning that much cash? So he doesn’t drink in public to ensure he remains professional…and he’s not a fan of drunk people. The irritatingly likeable/glum Calvin Harris gave up drinking when it started to make him feel ill – he wanted to concentrate on his career, keep focused and stay sharp.
Daniel Radcliffe became dependent on alcohol at quite an early age, after being launched into the spotlight at the age of 11 as Harry Potter and not quite knowing how to handle his fame. He later realised that he preferred the quiet life and hasn’t had any alcohol for a few years.
One of the greatest guitarists and musicians of all time, Eric Clapton, has been sober for over twenty-five years after a long and rocky relationship with drugs and alcohol – and is still creating riff porn for us blues fans. The Rocket Man himself, Elton John, has been sober for twenty-seven years after sixteen years of alcohol and drug dependency. Elton also helped golden haired rap mastermind Eminem through his recovery back in 2007. Ewan McGregor has an enviable list of accomplishments from starring in Trainspotting and Star Wars to riding his motorcycle around the world twice, to realising booze didn’t work for him and giving it up sixteen years ago.
Controversial comedian, Frankie Boyle, stopped drinking almost twenty years ago. He’s achieved an incredible career since and has openly discussed his battle with dependency which started in his teens. ‘Freddie’ Flintoff (real name Andrew) was always well known as cricket’s party guy…after various mishaps such as being rescued from a pedalo in the middle of the night whilst blind drunk during the World Cup 2007, resulting in him being stripped of his vice-captaincy and being dropped from the team, he decided to knock the party lifestyle on the head and has now been sober for almost ten years.
Gerard Butler has a self-confessed addictive personality, so when booze ruined his attempts at becoming a lawyer in his early twenties he ditched it and embarked on his acting career. He’s starred in a long string of high-profile movies since and has maintained his ‘bad boy/playboy’ image…all without a drop of booze.
Black Flag hero and political enthusiast, Henry Rollins hasn’t been into drinking or drugs after experimenting in the eighties. He aspired to be successful and knew that his discipline would keep him on track to achieve his goals. He went on to become one of hardcore punk’s greatest icons, a radio host, movie actor, spoken word performer, video game character and political activist including campaigning for human rights and gay rights.
Award-winning Stone Roses frontman, Ian Brown, gave up drinking nineteen years ago because he didn’t like it. He felt it slowed him down and he was able to be more creative and productive without it. Iggy Pop, the only guy who looks good in leopard print, stopped drinking completely over ten years ago following a long stint of drug and alcohol dependency – he’s now a moderate drinker who just enjoys a glass of wine or two with dinner.
Led Zeppelin axe grinder Jimmy Page quit doing drugs and drinking “years and years ago” but described in an interview with Rolling Stone back in 2012 that it was just a “romance that passed.” James Franco stopped drinking alcohol when he was seventeen, after a brief run in with the law whilst intoxicated. Rugby star Jonny Wilkinson has suffered from anxiety and depression, leading him to make life decisions which help to improve his overall emotional well-being, including being moderate with alcohol.
Compton grown rapper Kendrick Lamar, now 30 years old, was raised around people doing drugs and drinking heavily – including his own father. This can obviously lead someone to go one of two ways but Kendrick decided that drinking wasn’t for him. He was a straight-A student, released his first mixtape at the age of 16 and went on to win seven Grammy awards.
Chicago-raised rapper Lupe is Muslim – so he doesn’t drink or do drugs (including weed, which he announced in a Tweet in 2013.) He retains an outspoken, anti-establishment point of view on just about everything from politics to the accomplishments and abilities of other rappers.
Whether you’re a fan of the festival itself or not, Glastonbury boss man Michael Eavis is a pretty damn warm and likeable man. He’s not a big drinker and doesn’t drink for two months before each festival in order to keep a clear head and get sh*t done.
Mr Nobody’s Nemo, My So-Called Life’s Jordan, Requiem for a Dream’s Harry and Suicide Squad’s Joker – Jared Leto – battled with drug and alcohol dependency in the past but has been sober for seventeen years now.
Gary Oldman, arguably the best Dracula of all time, has been sober for twenty years and it hasn’t stopped him being admirably/outrageously frank and foul-mouthed – he once described the Golden Globes as “90 nobodies having a w**k.”
He may have starred in some of the biggest, baddest, gangster films of all time but Al Pacino’s admitted that he doesn’t remember much of the 70’s due to his drinking – so that’s Godfather Part One and Two, Scarecrow, Serpico, Dog day afternoon…all written off to a distant blur. Luckily for him, and for the rest of us, he stopped drinking over thirty years ago and has treated us to a few more decades of blockbuster movies and shouty acting.
Legendary music producer Quincy Jones who, among many other things, produced Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ and ‘Bad’ albums, quit drinking two years ago. OK, he might be 84 years old, but he’s said it’s made him feel like he’s 18 again. Proving that it’s never too late to shape up!
Different backgrounds, similar stories, all very significant. Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, celebrated thirty years of sobriety last year. He was a heavy drug and alcohol user during the seventies and early eighties due to depression instigated by hiding his sexuality. Comedian turned actor Russell Brand, genius singer/songwriter/producer Ryan Adams, Iron Man Robert Downey Jr, Californication’s Rob Lowe and Beatles drummer/Thomas the Tank Engine narrator Ringo Starr have all struggled with drug addiction and alcohol dependency in the past but have all overcome it. Russell’s been sober for fourteen years, Ryan for over ten, Robert for fourteen, Rob for twenty-five and Ringo for almost thirty. That’s a whopping 123 years between the six of them.
Samuel L Jackson went a little far with drink and drugs at the very beginning of his career, but he kicked it into touch in 1991 when no-one really knew who he was, before embarking on an enviable mother f*&%ing career. Stephen King had a rough upbringing, dealing him with many insecurities, nightmares and visions that were only eased by writing about them – and later, by drinking and doing drugs. Stephen got sober almost thirty years ago and although his fears of sober writer’s block were initially true for a short time, he’s gone on to continue plaguing our minds with our worst nightmares, in the most brilliant of ways. Hot Fuzz co-creator Simon Pegg gave up drinking seven years ago when he wanted to be healthier, fitter, more confident and shape up for Mission Impossible 3 – not only did he achieve those things but he’s reported that it’s intensified his creativity too.
Chef Tom Kerridge partied pretty hard until three years ago when he realised he was obese – he quit booze, started eating a little healthier and has lost a staggering twelve stone. Tom Hardy was another guy who went a little hard with drink and drugs back in the day until he realised he had a problem in 2003 and went through rehab. Since then he’s achieved an award-winning career in acting and played an array of dominant roles in TV shows and films such as The Revenant, Bronson, Mad Max and Peaky Blinders – plus an eager swarm of admirers watching every single video ever of him cuddling dogs.
Australian country singer/songwriter and husband to Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, grew up with his father who was an alcoholic before starting on the too-much-drink-and-drugs route himself in the early nineties. He’s now been sober for over ten years.
Buffalo 66’s Vincent Gallo doesn’t drink, or do drugs, or drink coffee or eat sugar…he said “drugs and alcohol cloud your mind. When you drink, you do things you wouldn’t do sober. And that’s why most people drink…OK, but it doesn’t interest me.” Then again, he also said “I don’t trust or love anyone. Because people are so creepy. Creep creepy creeps.” So there.
Incredible singer/songwriter/composer Tom Waits has been sober for over twenty years and like many creatives, he feared whether he’d have the same talents once the booze and drugs were no longer buzzing around his body and mind. “I was trying to prove something to myself, too. It was like, ‘Am I genuinely eccentric? Or am I just wearing a funny hat? What am I made of? What’s left when you drain the pool?'”
Yep, I’ve done it again (if you’ve read my list of females then you’ll know what I’m talking about.) Hugh Jackman doesn’t keep that toned body by chance, he keeps it with hard work and a strict diet. Hugh’s trainer recommends big lifts, high-intensity interval training, lots of protein, a careful carb intake and to keep an eye on alcohol consumption – “there are seven calories per gram of alcohol compared to four calories per gram of carbohydrate, so a couple of alcoholic drinks can easily add several hundred calories to your daily intake.”
American rapper Yo Gotti grew up on the mean streets of Memphis, so after trying a few things when he was younger he chose to approach the use of alcohol and drugs with moderation so that his awareness wasn’t lessened.
A lot of people assumed that Frank Zappa was into the use of hard drugs and too much booze in the sixties and seventies because he was such an icon of the acid-fuelled psychedelic music scenes of that time – this assumption was wrong as Frank had a unique stance on the experimental activities of those around him and didn’t much like the transformation in people’s personalities. “I don’t drink or do hard drugs. I’ve smoked less than ten marijuana cigarettes in my life. When I’m working on music with other musicians, like, say, practising for a tour, I keep very strict standards: no drugs. They can do what they want on their own free time.”
So there you have it. Just because you choose not to drink, for whatever reason, or if you choose to drink less – it doesn’t make you any less badass than anyone else.
You know what else is badass? We’re doing another Mindful Drinking Festival! A CHRISTMAS festival! Friday 24th & Saturday 25th November 2017, Spitalfields Market. Stock up for Christmas and dry January! Keep an eye on our social pages for more info.