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Rob Lowe’s Journey to Sobriety: Demi Moore Was an Inspiration

After the release of Demi Moore’s memoir, Inside Out, many celebrities have come forward in support of Moore’s story of struggle in finding fame and sobriety.

Actor Rob Lowe, who co-starred with Moore in the 1985 film St. Elmo’s Fire, is among those in support of Moore. In an appearance on The View, Lowe was asked his opinion on Moore’s controversial memoir, and about their friendship from years ago.

“She was a huge inspiration to me,” he told The View. “It was the 80s, we were all doing our thing. I just remember thinking, ‘If that girl can get sober, anybody can.’”

Moore entered rehab before filming St. Elmo’s Fire, under instruction from director Joel Schumacher. According to sources, Schumacher threatened that she would be fired if she did not pursue treatment for her substance abuse; after two weeks of rehab, Moore returned to the set.

At the time, Lowe was also struggling with his own substance abuse. Both members of the so-called “Brat Pack,” Moore and Lowe had found sudden fame that put their personal lives in the spotlight. Behind the scenes, drugs and alcohol were always present, whether at parties or on set.

In 1988, Lowe’s personal life would be called into serious question, when a videotape of him having a sexual encounter with a minor was leaked to the public. The video spread like wildfire, even without the vehicle of social media.

Lowe later told Oprah Winfrey that the incident had pushed him to get sober, stating that, “It ends up being the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Because what it ends up doing is accelerating my alcohol [addiction] to where I finally get sober.”

In another incident that Lowe recalled to UCHealth, Lowe’s mother had tried to call him repeatedly to report that his grandfather had experienced a heart attack. Lowe, who had been drinking heavily, was not able to pick up.

In 1990, Lowe realized he had reached his breaking point, and entered a rehab program to receive treatment for his addictions. He was 26 years old.

Knowing that he needed to commit to the process completely, Lowe appreciated the “science” of recovery, stating that it was important to him to learn what addiction does to the body and the brain.

In the same interview with Oprah, Lowe recalled, “I didn’t love the fact that I had to go and it was unbelievably painful but I like the science. I couldn’t have gotten sober without rehab because I needed the science … I needed to do the work. It was like going to law school.”

Since completing his stay in rehab, Lowe has remained sober—though he acknowledges the journey has not been easy, and has been extremely candid about his experience.

Today, Lowe is 55, and has been sober for 29 years. He has rebounded in his career and in his personal life, and is married with two grown sons. Lowe married his wife, Sheryl Berkoff, just one year into his sobriety.

Professionally, Lowe has found success in television shows like Brothers and Sisters, The West Wing, and Parks and Recreation. He also plays another huge role in Hollywood—as an advocate for sobriety.

Serious about his recovery and about helping others, Lowe is quick to offer support to those who are struggling with the same disease. He honors his sober birthday on his social media accounts almost every year, posting an inspirational message for his fans. Each year his reflections are a bit different, though one thing remains largely the same—his gratitude for recovery, and for those who helped him along the way.

With nearly three decades of sobriety behind him, Lowe has continued health and success to look forward to, and wants his story to speak to those who continue to struggle.

In his annual sober birthday post, he wrote, “If you, or someone you know, are struggling with alcohol or addiction, there CAN be a future of hope, health and happiness.”

It is our shared hope that in continuing to speak out about addiction, we will light the path for others, further breaking the stigma of sobriety.

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