Rob Lowe sought help for his drug and alcohol addiction after hearing his grandfather was “in a critical condition in hospital”.
The ‘West Wing’ star has been sober for over 30 years following a period of substance abuse when he first entered Hollywood, and has now said his moment of clarity came when his mother called him to ask for his “help” after his grandfather was taken to hospital.
He said: “I was ready when one day back in the days of answering machines 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. And I didn’t pick up.
“My thought process in that moment was, ‘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’… It was like a badly written moment in a soap opera - complete with the walk into the bathroom and looking at myself in the mirror.”
And Rob also admitted he’s still working on himself to this day, and whilst the process hasn’t gotten “easier”, he does feel more fulfilled.
He added: “All of my understanding about life has come from getting sober and being in recovery. The work that you do once you stop whatever it is you’ve been abusing - that’s when the real work begins. And that continues to this day. In many ways, it doesn’t get any easier but it does get more fulfilling.
“The only way to stay in recovery is to be honest with yourself on a minute-by-minute basis. No secrets, no double life. And you have to get real. That’s what acting is all about - being real and being honest. The longer you are in recovery the more facile you are in getting honest. It really helps get you where you need to be [as an actor] a lot quicker.”
Rob, 56, found it hard to stay away from addictive substances when he first started acting, because at the time, taking drugs and drinking alcohol was common on film sets.
Speaking to Variety magazine, he said: “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?
“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.”
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