The Long and Winding Road to Recovery and Renewal

Various celebrities give advice on addiction and recovery.

By PT Staff, published September 1, 1996 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

Assorted scribes, sages, and stars offer up their wisdom on addiction and recovery.

"I knew that if I didn't do something [about my addictions], I'd end up exactly like Elvis."

-- singer Elton John, 1993

"Very often, when we reach . .. success, we find ourselves . . . disappointed. And that's when you try to fill the hull, the void, with drugs, or illicit sex. . . . What I've realized is that nothing outside of yourself can make you feel whole."

-- pop singer Boy George, 1995

"A man shouldn't fool with booze until he's fifty; then he's a damn fool if he doesn't."

-- writer William Faulkner

"I used to know a few guys that did [drugs] all the time, but they're not alive anymore. . . . And you get the message after you've been to a few funerals."

-- Rolling Stones guitarist,

Keith Richards, 1993

"You can't drown yourself in drink. I've tried: you float."

-- actor John Barrymore

"You can either resent the emotional wreckage around you and sink beneath the waves, or you can strap it all together and make some kind of lifeboat."

-- actress Came Fisher, 1995

"The idea of one drink for me is fascinating and fantastic, but it is also an impossibility because one is too many and a thousand isn't enough."

-- musician Eric Clapton, 1994

"My brain likes to tell me, 'Oh, it's okay, you can go out one night and party' And I say 'Thanks for sharing, brain.' But I kinda just follow the party through -- all the way to jail. It's not worth the 15 minutes of good feeling."

-- actor Corey Feldman, on

staying off cocaine, 1992

"I've made it a rule never to drink by daylight and never to refuse a drink after dark."

-- writer H. L. Mencken

"Nothing works if I drink. . . . You lie and you deceive yourself and other people. . . . Now I struggle to be honest."

-- actress Melanie Griffith,

on trying to stay sober, 1989

"I really feel like some angels have been carrying me around. I just have more focus and more discipline, and consequently more self-respect."

-- singer Bonnie Raitt,

on her recovery from alcoholism, 1990

"What a lot of people who are stuck in the problem, right this minute somewhere, don't realize, is that you can have a fantastic life [without drugs] and you can still have fun."

-- actress Mackenzie Phillips, 1996

"It was boys who turned into men, beer that turned into tequila, and pot into speed . . . and then they all turned on me."

-- comedienne Brett Butler,

on why she got clean and sober, 1995

"I feel like hell. My heart feds big and pounding. I can feel the blood rush through my body I can almost see it, rushing like red water over the boulders in my pain-filled neck and shoulders, then through my ears and into my pounding head."

-- Elizabeth Taylor, describing

her withdrawal from prescription

drugs and alcohol, 1984

"I exercise extreme control. I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast."

-- actor W. C. Fields

"I was either black or white, good or bad there were never any gray areas. It was drugs first, then it went to food obsession, and then exercise. . . . I sabotaged myself in the past, but now I'm too happy with the way I feel and the way things are going to sabotage myself ever again."

-- singer Belinda Carlisle, 1988

PHOTO (COLOR): King-sized addition: Elvis's excesses convinced Elton John to quit while he was ahead.