Zac Efron Talks About Overcoming Alcohol and Cocaine Addiction

While some people dream of being rich and famous and believe that celebrities live the perfect life, those in the spotlight may not agree. Fame tends to come with certain drawbacks, such as being constantly under the watch of the world’s media and the public wanting to know every little thing that goes on in the celebs lives. This can be very stressful for some celebrities and many of them end up turning to substances such as alcohol or drugs to help them cope. Unfortunately, this can lead to illnesses like alcoholism and cocaine addiction.

Actor Zac Efron has spoken up about his addiction struggles, and he said that the pressures of fame meant he avoided hobbies that he normally enjoyed for fear of being followed by members of the public. The star, who rose to fame in the High School Musical movies, became an instant heartthrob and was constantly under the spotlight. He admits that he found it hard to cope with the media intrusion and turned to cocaine and alcohol in order to deal with public life. As a result, he developed an addiction that led to him spending time in rehab during 2013.

Learning to Cope

Thankfully, Zac is now in recovery and works hard to stay clean and sober. He said that he had to make changes to his life to stay that way, adding, “What I found is structure. That led me to a balance of opposites. You get out of life what you put in.”

He described how he used to Google himself as soon as he got up in the morning until he realised that looking at himself through other people’s eyes was not a good idea. He says that he was not living his own life or being himself, and he had quit hobbies such as surfing or skateboarding, which he previously enjoyed. Since recovering from addiction, Zac has resumed his favourite activities, and said, “Crossing the line of fear is what leads to greatness.”

The Link Between Fame and Addiction

Zac is not the first star to fall foul of addiction, and he most certainly will not be the last. There seems to be a definite link between fame and substance abuse, with many stars who struggle to cope with the pressures of this life turning to chemical substances in a bid to self-medicate.

Some famous individuals have already been heavily abusing alcohol or drugs before they even hit the heights of fame, and when they are thrust into the spotlight, their abuse of these substances often gets worse. They may try to keep what they are doing a secret for as long as possible for fear it could harm their careers, but because addiction is a progressive illness, it is typically not long before the whole world learns of their problems.

With fame comes money, and, in many cases, people pandering to the famous person’s every whim. Many celebrities develop a sense of self-importance, and with more disposable income than most, they can afford to buy recreational drugs such as cocaine. Some become so accustomed to the celebrity lifestyle that they believe normal rules do not apply to them. Because they get the star treatment, they think they can do and say whatever they want, and if that means taking drugs such as cocaine or drinking copious amounts of alcohol, then so be it.

There is also a strong drinking and drug-taking culture in many of the industries that lead to fame. And with so many high-profile parties and social events, it is not uncommon for some stars to be drinking or drug taking on a regular basis. Sadly, this often leads to them developing a tolerance to the effects of the drugs or alcohol, meaning that they need to take more in order to achieve the desired effect. Before long, they have become addicted and are unable to quit, even if they want to.

High Functioning Addicts

Addiction is an illness that can destroy lives, but while some people fall apart when affected by this illness, others can function as normal, with the rest of the world oblivious to their struggles. Those who live a celebrity lifestyle tend to be adept at hiding their addictions. They present an outward appearance of success, and the public are unaware of what goes on behind closed doors.

However, there is a very real danger to being a high functioning addict. Many of those who can hide their substance abuse are at risk of their problems getting out of control. Because they do not fit the profile of the typical addict, they can ignore their addiction and live in denial. They believe that there really is no problem and so they will continue to abuse their drug of choice.

Their career and life in the spotlight might make them feel as if they cannot reach out for help; maybe because they are worried about the effect that this could have on them and their career. These high functioning celebrities could then become trapped with nowhere to turn. They will simply carry on with their addictive behaviour; and because they will rarely suffer financial implications due to their wealth, there may be no immediate need for them to stop. It is often the case that these individuals never get the help they require and their problems only come to light when it is too late.

Help for Addiction

Alcohol and cocaine addiction are not illnesses that only affect the rich and famous. Many people turn to these substances to help them cope with the pressures of their lives. Some people drink themselves into oblivion to blot out the pain of a past traumatic experience while others might take drugs to boost their confidence.

Whatever the reason, abusing drugs and alcohol can lead to addiction. Help is available for those affected by addiction. Here at UKAT, we have a number of treatment centres staffed by fully qualified professionals who work tirelessly to ensure that as many people as possible can overcome this destructive illness. If you would like more information on how and where to get help for addiction, contact us today.


  1. The NZ Herald