In March, the actor Tim Allen—best known for his role on the show Home Improvement—reached 23 years sober. Allen has seen lots of success in his career, but it didn’t always seem like his life would take this path.
Before he became famous, Allen spent two and a half years in federal prison for cocaine possession. He got out in 1981, and by 1984 was starring in Home Improvement. However, he was still struggling with alcohol use, lying to his then-wife about his drinking, and living with a lot of guilt. After a DUI in the late 90’s, Allen went to addiction treatment. He hasn’t used drugs or alcohol since.
“It is a disease of the soul and the mind,” Allen said, “and it will tear up the people around you…I was tired of my excuses, I was tired of the shame and the guilt… so much energy to manage it. It was unmanageable…I’m a guy who doesn’t like ‘organized’ anything, but AA is just brilliant to me.”
Having found so much help through the program, Allen sees helping others as an important part of his recovery.
“The program I practice,” he said, “it’s all about as soon as you get it, you gotta give it away. A kid can’t hold onto all these toys, and every time he sees a new toy he goes, ‘Mine.’ You gotta drop one of those before I can give you another one.” Allen called giving back—and watching others do the same—“a miracle.”
Being sober, Allen is also able to give back on a more personal level—to his family—in a way he wasn’t able to do before. He said, “I’m not the same guy I was the first time [I was married], when I was hiding and doing what people who drink too much do. I was not connecting.” His current wife—to whom he’s been married since 2006—has described him as an “incredible dad.”
For his part, Allen uses his typical humor to talk about the positives recovery has brought into his life: “I’m 68 percent joyous, aiming for 70 percent. I’m also extremely grateful for where I am today.” He has called sobriety the biggest blessing of his life.
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 find joy in long-term recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.