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Brad Pitt’s Road to Sobriety: How He Stays Committed to Recovery with AA

Household name Brad Pitt has flown somewhat under the radar in recent years—a far cry from the heyday of his performances in movies like Fight Club andOcean’s Eleven, not to mention his high-profile marriages to Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie.

Three years ago, in 2016, Pitt and Jolie announced their divorce. At the time, the couple had been married for two years, but had been a couple since 2006 and shared six children together.

Shortly following the announcement, rumors spread that the divorce was in part due to Pitt’s drinking habits, and that Jolie had filed for the separation after an argument that the pair had about the subject. Although those rumors were never confirmed, Pitt is now making the interview rounds for his latest film, Ad Astra, and speaking openly about his battles with alcohol abuse.

Speaking to the New York Times, Pitt went into detail about his journey to sobriety, and the methodologies he used to overcome his substance abuse. For Pitt, Alcoholics Anonymous played a crucial role in his recovery.

After splitting from Jolie, Pitt experienced another significant change in his life: he stopped drinking. He began attending AA meetings, which he continued for a year and a half.

“You had all these men sitting around being open and honest in a way I have never heard,” Pitt told theNew York Times of his experience at AA meetings. 

The anonymity of AA allowed Pitt to attend meetings and speak openly without fear of judgement or attention from the press—something that many celebrities have struggled with very publicly after attending rehab or getting professional help for an addiction.

In an interview with Australian news outlet The Project, Pitt admitted to carrying “deep pains” that he buried beneath his alcoholism. He also noted that this is a common thread found in American culture.

Pitt is right. With over 15.1 Americans meeting the criteria for an alcohol use disorder, Pitt’s story resonates with many that have struggled to overcome an addiction to alcohol. Nearly every family or friend group has been touched by alcoholism in some way—particularly when considering that alcoholism is a family disease.

With six children of his own, Pitt is no stranger to the effects that substance abuse can have on a family. Freely admitting that he formerly abused marijuana, Pitt stated that he stopped everything but drinking upon starting his family with Jolie.

After years passed, Pitt realized his drinking had gotten out of control, leading him to seek help in therapy and AA.

Alcoholics Anonymous and Creating a Path to Recovery in the Spotlight

Founded in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, Alcoholics Anonymous has played an enormous role in the lives of countless recovering alcoholics across the world. Consisting of the famous Twelve Steps, the AA program begins with the admission of being powerless over alcohol.

Brad Pitt, among other celebrities, have found solace in attending AA meetings, where other alcoholics, often of the same sex, share their stories and experiences of recovery. Achievements are celebrated and setbacks are discussed without judgement, creating an environment of support and unity amongst AA members.

Regardless of celebrity status, many find comfort in the anonymity of the AA program, which AA refers to as “the spiritual foundation of all [their] traditions, ever reminding [them] to place principles before personalities.”

The program also states that this anonymity is especially important for newcomers, who are often hesitant to share their stories for fear of being judged by family, friends, co-workers, or members of their communities.

As AA members work through the Twelve Steps, they earn different “chips” for achieving 30 days of sobriety, 6 months, and so on. Each accomplishment is celebrated, and the work being done in the program becomes even more important as a person strives to maintain recovery.

With public figures like Pitt speaking out on the benefits of a program like AA, we are reminded that the disease alcoholism does not discriminate, and that taking the proper steps to recovery is a fantastic achievement.

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