Britney Spears

Britney Spears, one of the best selling recording artists of her generation, got her start on the Disney Channel when she was cast in the 1989-1995 revival of the American variety television show The Mickey Mouse Club, alongside fellow artists Justin Timberlake, JC Chavez, Ryan Gosling, Tony Lucca, Keri Russell, and Christina Aguilera. That show was cancelled, but Spears’ career was just getting started. She later broke out as one of the most famous pop singers in the world during her teenage years with hits like “Baby One More Time” and “Oops! … I Did It Again.” She took a four-song set from her first album, …Baby One More Time, on tour as the opening act for ‘N Sync. The cross-promotional opportunity with one of the world’s biggest boy bands paid off: Her first album sold 10 million copies in its first year, topping the charts in 15 countries worldwide.

Her early career held several controversial moments, including a 1999 Rolling Stone cover on which a 17-year old Spears posed scantily clad on her childhood bed. In 2004, she married a childhood friend Jason Alexander in Vegas and had the marriage annulled 55 hours later, claiming to the press that it had just been a wild, crazy night of fun. The bizarre incident drew a great deal of attention and criticism from the media.

Spears had her share of celebrity scandals as a young pop star, but it wasn’t until her second marriage to Kevin Federline that she began to display clear signs of mental instability and alcohol and drug abuse. She went to rehab in 2008 after a highly publicized mental breakdown that included shaving her own head (allegedly because she didn’t want her hair tested for drugs) and beating a car with an umbrella.

In the wake of her divorce from Federline, she was seen partying at clubs with celebrity heiress Paris Hilton, herself no stranger to scandal. Spears stayed in her rehabilitation center for one month and attended Alcoholics Anonymous for several years to prevent her estranged husband Federline from starting a custody battle over their two children. During this time, she was also placed under an involuntary psychiatric hold and her father, James Spears, was given temporary conservatorship of her assets.

Spears lay low during her recovery and released a new album, Circus, in December 2008. Her concert tour for the album grossed $131.8 million and was one of the highest grossing tours for 2009.

Since then, Spears has launched her seventh album, received the 2011 MTV Video Vanguard Award, and landed a judging and mentoring gig on The X Factor for $15 million.

Cory Monteith

Cory Monteith, clean-cut heartbreaker from the hit television show Glee, spent his early career playing minor roles in movies and series such as Final Destination 3, Smallville, Supernatural, and Stargate Atlantis. But before his acting career took off, he had a rough childhood that led to serious drug and alcohol problems.

Monteith’s parents were divorced by the time he was 7, and his father was in and out of his life due to military duties. Within five years, Monteith was skipping school to drink and smoke pot. After 12 different schools, including alternative programs for troubled teens, he dropped out of school for good.

He had developed alcohol and drug abuse problems by age 13 and checked himself into rehab by age 19 after an intervention by his family. But after his first stint in rehab, he addictive behaviors only continued. He started using drugs and alcohol again and stole a large sum of money from a relative in a moment of desperation.

When the family member threatened to press charges against Monteith, he realized he had to get his act together. “I was done fighting myself,” he admitted in an interview with Parade magazine. “I finally said, ‘I’m gonna start looking at my life and figure out why I’m doing this.” He moved in with a friend from home and swore off alcohol and drugs for good. He accepted a job in construction and started working with an acting coach who offered him free lessons to keep him busy and out of trouble.

At 30 years old, Monteith is one of the most promising faces of young Hollywood. He eventually received his high school diploma from a Canadian school in Victoria and has worked on a number of high-profile projects. His hit show Glee, in which he costars with girlfriend Lea Michele, is in its fourth season with steady ratings. Monteith also recently starred in the movie Monte Carlo alongside Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, and Katie Cassidy.

Sobriety has done wonders for the talented actor.

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato started out on the television series Barney & Friends and starred in the seventh and eighth seasons alongside her childhood friend Selena Gomez. Both girls went on to become Disney starlets, with Lovato starring in the Camp Rock franchise alongside the Jonas Brothers as well as her own hit TV show, Sonny With a Chance. Lovato also co-wrote her first album, Don’t Forget, with the Jonas Brothers and opened for the Jonas Brothers on their Burnin’ Up Tour.

After punching a backup singer on tour, Lovato checked into rehab for three months in 2010 — officially to treat emotional issues related to cutting and bulimia, but also to address heavy experimentation with drugs and alcohol. With the help of her loved ones, Lovato was able to end her addiction before it threatened her life.

Shortly after treatment, she appeared in an MTV special called “Demi Lovato: Stay Strong.” In the segment, she discussed the daily battle she faces with addiction and her struggle to get her life back on track. “I don’t think I’m fixed,” she said at the end of the special. “People think that you’re like a car in a body shop. You go in, they fix you, and you’re out. It takes constant fixing.”

After leaving her treatment program, Demi Lovato got several tattoos, including two tattoos on her wrists that read “Stay Strong.” She gave up her hit TV show Sonny With a Chance to focus on her music, released a new album with several Billboard singles, wrote a column for Seventeen magazine, raised awareness for bullying, and landed a job as a judge and mentor on the second season of The X Factor US.

Each of these celebrities wrestled with the challenges of addiction — and found the help they needed in their treatment. Recovery and sobriety have done wonders for their health and their careers, evidence that the right treatment option can make all the difference.

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