Singer Jessica Simpson realized she needed to get sober after Halloween 2017, when she felt she wasn’t in a state to get her kids in their costumes and later didn’t remember how they’d gotten them on. She’d had her first drink at 7:30 that morning.
Simpson has since opened up about having used alcohol and stimulants to cope with sexual abuse she experienced as a kid. Before she got sober, she kept this trauma hidden from everyone but those closest to her. She said of alcohol, “I thought it was making me brave, I thought it was making me confident, and it was actually the complete opposite. It was silencing me.”
Simpson has become a public advocate for destigmatizing addiction. Her memoir Open Book, published in February 2020, is about her struggles with addiction and eventual recovery. She’s talked in interviews about how therapy has been a worthwhile challenge. When she got sober, she started participating in twice-weekly sessions to help her face her trauma.
“Now I’m strong enough to deal with anything that comes my way,” she said, “because I don’t have something to retreat to that will numb me from actually going through it.”
Many people find that once they get sober, they have to face emotions they tried to numb with drugs or alcohol. It can take time for people to find the healthy coping skills that work for them—and to practice using those skills—but therapy is a big help. Social support and connection are also important.
When Simpson made the decision to get sober, she gathered friends to tell them. The interaction ended in a group hug, and her friends have stood behind her since. Her husband, Eric Johnson, stopped drinking in solidarity. Simpson has been lucky to have people in her life who cheer on her recovery.
Now that Simpson is sober, she is able to give back to those who have supported her. “There’s just no better gift [than sobriety],” she said. “There’s no better gift I can give my kids; there’s no better gift I can give my husband. More importantly, there’s no better gift I can give myself.”
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. Amatus Recovery Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build the coping skills to thrive in long-term recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.