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Famous Alcoholics

The Struggles Of Some Famous Alcoholics

There are many famous alcoholics who succeeded in beating their addiction. Some were known to be alcoholics, others were "closet" alcoholics. A number of them who went public with their alcohol devoted their life to the prevention of alcoholism. Others died as a direct result of their drinking or were at any rate unable to break free from the bottle.

It's hard to say the extent to which their celebrity status contributed to the problems famous alcoholics incurred. The celebrity lifestyle and the pressures brought on by fame and fortune certainly didn't always help, but the world is full of alcoholics who enjoy neither fame nor fortune but lead rather run of the mill lives. As one person put it, "there are basically two types of alcoholics, male and female".


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At times it can be hard to figure out just what the difference is between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic. If heavy drinker is addicted to alcohol, or if drinking is having a significant effect on his or her life or the lives of those close, it's usually safe to say he or she is an alcoholic.

In any event here are a few famous alcoholics. Some names may surprise you, some may not. Many contemporary alcoholics have recovered, or are in the process, and have gone public with their stories.

The Presidents - We, as a nation have been fortunate not to have had too many raging alcoholics as presidents. Ulysses S. Grant was a known alcoholic, long before he became president. A person not friendly towards Grant told President Abraham Lincoln at he conclusion of a major Civil War battle, that a promotion was not necessary. General Grant would be most happy with a case of whiskey. Of the other presidents, Franklin Pierce was an alcoholic, and Martin van Buren and James Buchanan probably were as well, or at least were known to be heavy drinkers, as was John Adams. Franklin Roosevelt was apparently a heavy drinker, but the effects of alcohol never seemed to show, at least in public. Harry Truman had a reputation for loving a good glass of bourbon, but was not a heavy drinker. Bess Truman probably saw to that.

The Authors - Alcoholism can bring with it some strange outcomes. Edgar Allen Poe was an alcoholic, and the depression brought on by the disease manifested itself in some of Poe's greatest works. Stephen King, the master of horror stories is a recovered alcoholic. Some of his most famous stories were written while he was still battling the disease. Ernest Hemingway was also an alcoholic.

All In The Family - If alcoholism runs in the family, and it can, the Barrymore family would be a case in point. The famous acting family had at least three confirmed alcoholics, John Barrymore, who died in 1942 of cirrhosis of the liver, John Drew Barrymore, who died in 2004, and John Drew Barrymore's daughter, actress Drew Barrymore, born in 1975, who has recovered from the disease and has devoted a significant part of her life to help others having drug or alcohol addictions.

The Movie Stars - There are a number of movie stars and entertainers who can be added to the list of famous alcoholics. As far as Dean Martin is concerned, it was difficult to determine what part of his drinking problem was an act, and what part was real, though it is generally believed he was an alcoholic. Other famous alcoholics from the movies include Dana Andrews, whose best known films were The Best Years Of Our Lives, and The Ox Bow Incident, Judy Garland, who first gained fame as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Robert Young, a movie actor who, while battling alcohol starred in the TV series Father Knows Best, and Fatty Arbuckle, silent films star and one of original Keystone Cops.

The Betty Ford Story - An alcoholic often feels alone and at times worthless, and knowing the names of a few of the more famous alcoholics, especially those who managed to turn things around, can at times be of great help. One of the more famous alcoholics of recent times was Betty Ford, wife of President Gerald Ford. Betty Ford, who was in denial at the time, entered treatment following intervention by her immediate family. The former First Lady not only recovered, but went on to found the Betty Ford Center for the treatment of alcoholism and other addiction. Not all alcoholics end up as a success story, but Betty Ford is one who did, and as a result many others have been able to return to a healthier and happier life style, often taken one day at a time.



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