Rob Lowe Reflects on Being 30 Years Sober: 'You Have to Want to Do It'

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Jen Juneau
·3 min read
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Thirty years into his sobriety journey, Rob Lowe recognizes that a personal desire to stay clean has played a big part in his success in doing so.

In an interview with Willie Geist on Sunday Today, the 56-year-old actor recalled struggling with substance abuse at 18 years old while filming The Outsiders, saying, "Nobody's going to do a pity party or have a telethon for all those suffering 18-year-old movie stars, you know?"

Lowe pointed out that every decade or so, new stars pop up and represent "that person in the culture" going through similar struggles with addiction while in the spotlight, like Justin Bieber.

"And there aren't that many people who go through it, and you either come out on the other side of it way, way, way better, or way, way, way worse, I think," said the 9-1-1: Lone Star actor.

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Lowe said that he's "a big believer" in "recovery, sobriety [and] therapy," but noted that an crucial ingredient aside from the availability of resources is that "you have to want to do it."

"I do a lot of work with adolescents who are struggling with drugs and alcohol and their parents. And that's the thing I always tell them is that, unfortunately, no one can get healthy for their job or for their relationship or because of their court case, or because of Mom or Dad or a sister or brother," he said. "They can only do it when they want to do it."

"It's really simple and it can be very demoralizing, but it's not going to happen," Lowe added. "So I wanted to do it. I was done, I was ready, I did it and got into recovery. And recovery really does work for people who work it."

RELATED: Rob Lowe's Son John Owen Reveals He's 2 Years Sober — 'I Am More Grateful Than Ever'

Lowe, who has been sober since 1990, received the Spirit of Sobriety award back in 2015 at the Brent Shapiro Foundation Summer Spectacular in Beverly Hills, California. Before the ceremony, he told PEOPLE, "Recovery is a road of many surprising, unexpected gifts. This is certainly one of them."

"Everyone at some point has to come to terms with their own relationship with drugs and alcohol. I have learned a few things over the years," the Parks and Recreation alum added. "Whenever I have an opportunity to share that with people, it's very fulfilling to do it."

RELATED VIDEO: Looking Back at Rob Lowe's Most Beloved Roles

Last April, Lowe's youngest son John Owen revealed that he was two years sober himself, adding that he was "grateful" for the many ways his life has changed over the years. The 26-year-old also acknowledged the many addicts who may be struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, encouraging others to seek out online Alcoholics Anonymous groups in order to stay on the right path.

"I haven't been vocal about my sobriety on here just because I felt it was something I wanted to keep personal, but I had a change of heart today," he wrote on Instagram at the time. "Two years in and I am more grateful than ever to have a community of support and friends who continue to build me up and hold me accountable. Making the decision to change your life is difficult at any age, but as a young person I hope that I can be a small example that it is possible and that things really do get SO MUCH BETTER."

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.