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Brad Pitt Opens Up About His Mental Health And Substance Abuse Struggles

Though Brad Pitt may be most known for his acting chops and dashing good looks, he’s a lot more than just a great performer or pretty face. The acclaimed actor, who is now 58, has also been open about his struggles with addiction, including in a recent revelation about his decision to quit smoking. 

While he was “hiding out” at his Los Angeles home during the pandemic, Pitt took it upon himself to kick his cigarette habit, a mission that he was inspired to undertake when he realized that limiting himself to a mere two a day simply wasn’t a possibility for him. 

“It’s not in my makeup. I’m all in. And I’m going to drive into the ground. I’ve lost my privileges,” he described, giving voice to a common phenomenon seen in those who ultimately pursue recovery from any given vice—the inability to drink or smoke “normally” without going overboard into dangerous toxicity.

This is the second of two significant substance abuse related lifestyle changes for the actor, the first of which came when his tumultuous 2016 divorce from Angelina Jolie ended up being the catalyst for him to quit drinking with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, a decision he first made public in 2019. 

“I had taken things as far as I could take it, so I removed my drinking privileges,” he described this personal transition. 

Though his fame necessitated an unusual degree of secrecy in the endeavor, Pitt was able to find and develop a trust with a men’s AA group that he describes as “really private and selective,” to avoid the breaches of the program’s traditional anonymity that he’d observed befall other celebrities. 

Speaking of his experience in the group, he says: “It was this safe space where there was little judgment, and therefore little judgment of yourself. It was actually really freeing just to expose the ugly sides of yourself.” 

As per a 2017 interview with GQ style, before he took this first leap into sobriety, Pitt had struggled intensely with substances since his college days, to the extent that he cannot recall a day he spent without “boozing” or having a “spliff,” (or marijuana cigarette). Like many recovering addicts, he describes the behavior as a way of  “running from feelings.” 

Though he was still able to say goodbye to his non-alcohol indulgences once he started his family, he admits that his boozing eventually became excessive as well, which led to his “bittersweet” to admit that it was a problem and change his ways.

The father of six has also had spoken about his other mental health struggles, including the many years he spent struggling with low-grade depression and his experience of a condition called prosopagnosia, which is also known as face-blindness. This face-blindness means that he struggles to recognize the people he meets when their paths cross again, which he worries others mistake for aloofness or self absorption.

In contrast to his image as a charismatic heartthrob, Pitt has also admitted to struggling socially even since his childhood. He describes himself as feeling “very alone” while growing up, and as having only recently opened himself up to the “greater embrace” of his friends and family. 

But after coming to terms with “all sides” of himself during the course of his recovery, he has found himself more open to the “moments of joy” that arrive in his life, which he described in more depth in another interview with the actor Anthony Hopkins in 2019

“I’m realizing, as a real act of forgiveness for myself for all the choices that I’ve made that I’m not proud of, that I value those missteps, because they led to some wisdom, which led to something else,” Pitt explained. 

If you or someone you love is currently struggling with addiction and eager to rediscover their own joy and self-forgiveness, you may want to learn more about Reco Intensive. Our comprehensive treatment program offers a variety of traditional, cutting-edge, and holistic treatment options, which work together to help heal the “whole person” from the trauma of addiction and from any co occurring mental illnesses and thus to get each and every one of our clients back on the path to a brighter future. To learn more, feel free to peruse our site and blog or to call us anytime at 844.955.3042.

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