Celebriety: Robin Williams

Used 2013-10-07 Robin Williams (AlKHall sobriety recovery) 01

You know me, there’s a lot of stuff i don’t know. Like i always thought Robin Williams was a cokehead but i did not know he was also an alcoholic. i also didn’t know he went into recovery for both in 1983, when his first child was born. And who knew he stayed sober for 20 years? Not i, said the blind man.

i also didn’t know he serves as a cautionary tale, because even after 20 years sober, he relapsed in 2003 while making a movie (Big White) in Alaska.

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On Relapsing

I was in a small town where it’s not the edge of the world, but you can see it from there, and then I thought: drinking. I just thought, hey, maybe drinking will help. Because I felt alone and afraid. It’s just literally being afraid. And you think, oh, this will ease the fear. And it doesn’t.

One day I walked into a store and saw a little bottle of Jack Daniel’s. And then that voice—I call it the ‘lower power’—goes, ‘Hey. Just a taste. Just one.’ I drank it, and there was that brief moment of ‘Oh, I’m okay!’ But it escalated so quickly. Within a week I was buying so many bottles I sounded like a wind chime walking down the street. I knew it was really bad one Thanksgiving when I was so drunk they had to take me upstairs.

It’s [addiction] — not caused by anything, it’s just there. It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m OK.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not OK. Then you realize, ‘Where am I? I didn’t realize I was in Cleveland.’

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On Staying Out of Recovery

After his relapse, Williams remained active in his alcoholism for 3 years.

You feel warm and kind of wonderful. And then the next thing you know, it’s a problem, and you’re isolated.

It’s the same voice thought that … you’re standing at a precipice and you look down, there’s a voice and it’s a little quiet voice that goes, ‘Jump.’ The same voice that goes, ‘Just one.’ … And the idea of just one for someone who has no tolerance for it, that’s not the possibility.

For that first week you lie to yourself, and tell yourself you can stop, and then your body kicks back and says, no, stop later. And then it took about three years, and finally you do stop.

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On Fixing Yourself

You can’t. That’s the bottom line. You really think you can, then you realize, ‘I need help,’ and that’s the word.

On His Weekly AA Meetings

Have to. It’s good to go.

Sources for the quotes:



About Al K Hall

Like a battered drinker or a punch drunk boxer, i am here for another round. For those of you who don’t know me, i’m a semi-professional writer on the rocks and a non-practicing alcoholic (if after 30 years of practicing, you still can't do something well, it's best to just give it up). For those of you who do know me, thanks for stopping by anyway and where’s the ten bucks you owe me? Welcome to my Bar None. A hole in the wall where we can hang out and trade the kind of stories you swap only when you’ve had one too many and either can’t find your way home or are afraid to. Hell, it’s cheaper than therapy and plus the pictures are prettier. Here we’ll crack open bottles and jokes and ‘last call’ are the only dirty words you’ll never hear. Pull up a stool and make yourselves at home.

Posted on October 7, 2013, in Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Celebriety, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Great story. Thanks for sharing…

  2. Thanks for this. I liked it. 🙂

  3. Thank you, after so much time away from drugs and alcohol I to find myself wondering if it couldn’t hurt, if maybe now I could get away with it. I always tell myself it could not be worth it, but it is these stories of taking a step into a shallow pool and finding yourself quickly sinking to bottomless depths, which I keep in the front of my mind.

    Even after 20+years it is a quick ride back to your bottom.

    You keep posting, I will keep coming back

    • Hey there, brother,

      One of the reasons i love hanging out in AA is i get to see people at least on a weekly basis who’ve relapsed and are coming back to the rooms realizing what a mistake it was. i’m with you, man, i need this kind of reminder to let me know alcohol is still fucking cunning, baffling and powerful.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  4. I actaully had NO idea that Williams was an alcoholic! Great story, I really do love Robin Williams – a brilliant man and actor.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Nice. Loving this series of yours. Can you do Bradley Cooper next? I’ve heard he’s in recovery but don’t know anything about it. Love to you from NZ xxx

    • Thanks so much, Mrs D! i was surprised to learn about Bradley myself and i also have some questions about him, so i’ll look into it!

      Keep coming back, my friend!

      Al K Hall

  6. I love Robin! I knew he struggled through the years! I love the quotes that you pulled out, very coo, very inspirational! I am linking this up on my FB page! Thanks Al! Great story!

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