As we know from the lives of many rich and famous celebrities, Hollywood success does not alone equal happiness. Countless people in the public eye are addicted to drugs, alcohol, and destructive behaviors that money and fame do not help.
Nick Carter, from the boy band Backstreet Boys, has publicly suffered from drug addiction for years, and while he now says he is drug free, he also admits that he is still battling an addiction to alcohol.
In the world of addiction, drugs like heroin, cocaine, prescription pills, crack, marijuana, and alcohol are all treated the same way. Yes, each substance has different effects on the user, and each substance is used for various reasons, all abuse leads to chemical dependency and addiction, regardless of the chosen substance. For Nick Carter to go from what he is calling drug addiction to alcohol addiction is no surprise. His addiction has simply transferred from one substance to another; alcohol has taken the place of the drugs that he used to excess in the past.
Nick Carter’s Story
In recent interviews, and his new book, an autobiography of his life thus far, Nick admits that his tumultuous childhood and then major fame at a young age (he joined the Backstreet Boys when he was 13 years old) contributed to his substance abuse, but he also knows that at some point the responsibility for his actions is solely his.
After a decade of drug and alcohol abuse, Nick Carter was experiencing painful physical symptoms. He went to a doctor, and after having multiple tests done, Nick discloses that the anxiety of looming tests results and diagnoses lead him to seek an escape. In his words to People magazine: “I went out and just went nuts. I drank so much and I did a bunch of blow. I felt like I was trying to kill myself – because I didn’t want to get the results.”
The results were a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that often leads to sudden death. The weakening of his heart muscle, the reason for the deaths of Chris Penn at age 40 and Andy Gibb at age 30, among others, was pointing toward an early death for Nick Carter as well. With medical reasons to make life changes, Nick stopped using drugs and got into the best shape of his life, but continued to drink.
A Family Disease
A large component of addiction can be genetic, which is also heightened by witnessing substance abuse in your own home. Nick and his siblings experienced just that. His younger brother, Aaron, who has also reached a high level of success in the music industry, has been abusing substances to the point of negative life consequences. When Aaron was ready to make changes, Nick took him to rehab. As the financial provider for his four siblings for years, Nick felt accountable for helping Aaron, even when their parents were not stepping in.
Nick and Aaron’s sister, Leslie, did not seek help. She died of a drug overdose in 2012, at the age of 25 and Nick did not attend her funeral because his family put the blame for her death on him.
Nick says that there is a part of him that felt responsible for Leslie’s death, but when he was really learned was that, just because he is the oldest Carter sibling and he took on some paternal responsibilities, it was never his duty to do that in the first place. Continuing to seek escape, numbing, and feeling better from excess alcohol consumption seems to be directly connected to the shame Nick feels.
He continues to work on identifying his emotions, his patterns, and the changes he can make in individual therapy, with the goal of grieving the loss of his sister, releasing the responsibility of being the male figure in his family, and ultimately breaking the patterns of his parents so that he can be a good father to the children he hopes to have one day.
At 33, Nick Carter is lucky to be alive. His drug abusing lifestyle could have taken his life by now, and cardiomyopathy will be with him forever. Each day offers Nick a new chance at sobriety and self-care. With continuous commitment to recovery, Nick Carter can also stop using alcohol and take himself down the road he has wanted to be traveling. He, and anyone else in the throes of drug or alcohol addiction, can start healing and change harmful patterns and thought processes that have kept them sick.
Do you know someone who needs help? Contact the Sovereign Health Group treatment team now for more information.