Actor Rob Lowe is celebrating 31 years of sobriety.
The now-57-year-old became a teen heartthrob at the age of 18 after the 1983 release of “The Outsiders.” Lowe struggled with alcoholism and drug abuse in the years that followed before eventually getting clean.
“Today I have 31 years drug and alcohol free,” he wrote on Monday in honor of the anniversary. “I want to give thanks to everyone walking this path with me, and welcome anyone thinking about joining us; the free and the happy. And a big hug to my family for putting up with me!! Xoxo”
He shared a photo by Dewey Nicks, taken for a feature story in Variety earlier this year. In that piece, Lowe explained that the moment he realized he needed help was when he missed an important call from his mother.
“…My mother called me and I could hear her voice on the answering machine. I didn’t want to pick up because I was really, really hungover and I didn’t want her to know,” he told Variety. “She was telling me that my grandfather, who I loved, was in critical condition in the hospital and she needed my help. And I didn’t pick up. My thought process in that moment was ‘I need to drink a half a bottle of tequila right now so I can go to sleep so I can wake up so I can pick up this phone.’”
He added that he realized that line of thinking was “nuts” and he needed help.
“It was like a badly written moment in a soap opera — complete with the walk into the bathroom and looking at myself in the mirror,” he told the outlet.
He said he had carried around the business card of a drug and alcohol counselor that a friend recommended for a year before calling to get help.
In January, Lowe told Willie Geist on Sunday TODAY that he’s a big believer in “recovery, sobriety and therapy,” but people who are struggling have to want to get help.
“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 sister or brother,” he said. “They can only do it when they want to do it. Honestly.”
Lowe said he understands that can be “very demoralizing” but “it only happens if they want to do it.”
He added that being a teen star had been difficult for him and the performers who followed in his footsteps.
“No one is going to have a pity party or a telethon for all those suffering 18-year-old movie stars. But I get it. I get how everybody goes through their time in the barrel,” he said. “It’s always going to be somebody, every 10 years. Everybody has to go through that thing and it’s very specific to being that person in the culture.
“You either come out on the other side of it way way way better or way way way worse, I think.”
Lowe often commemorates his anniversary of becoming sober. In 2019, he encouraged others to join him on the journey.
"Thank you to all those who have inspired me on this wonderful, challenging and life-changing journey,” he wrote. “"If you, or someone you know, are struggling with alcohol or addiction, there CAN be a future of hope, health and happiness. And it comes one day at a time. #recovery #ItWorks."