09 Nov 1970s Superstar Leif Garret’s Battle with Addiction
Aside from legions of fans and sell-out tours, former rock superstar Leif Garrett’s story could in some ways resemble the struggles, and the resolve, of many recovering drug addicts.
What sets Garrett’s story apart, however, is a teen tragedy linked to drunk driving, and a new life that includes recovery under the observation of millions of viewers. Leif Garrett’s drug recovery, like many aspects of his life, will be open for public view as part of the fourth season of the VHI television series “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.”
Leif Garrett, known during his music heyday for blonde, wavy locks of hair, saw his celebrity career escalate from being a five-year old television star to packing arenas full of rock fans in his late teens and early twenties, with hits like “I Was Made for Dancin’.”
Leif Garrett’s substance abuse took a notable tragic turn in 1979, just before he turned 18, when he paralyzed his best friend during a car accident while driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Garrett was sued for negligence by his friend’s mother, and claims the guilt and pain of the incident have haunted him ever since.
Like many people who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, Garrett’s use of drugs and alcohol laid out a path filled with emotional and financial problems. Garrett reunited with his paralyzed friend in 1999 during a VH1 “Behind the Music” episode, but the decade was marked by arrests for drug use, and his problems with alcohol extend into recent years.
Now 44 years old, Leif Garrett’s drug-related charges include possession of heroin and probation violations for cocaine. His recent individual decision to attend a 30-day rehabilitation center, however, sheds a new light on his resolve toward recovering from drug problems.
As part of his court-mandated program for drug arrests, Garrett will complete drug testing and counseling throughout a minimum of twelve months. Heading to an inpatient center for rehabilitation was a personal decision the star says reflects his sense of gratitude toward having a chance to recover, according to an ABC News interview.
Garrett says a major factor in stopping drug abuse is having the inner resolve to really commit to quitting. He was attempting to stop using heroin when he was arrested in December in California, and has recently discussed the intense controlling factor of drugs.
Experts in drug and alcohol recovery often say that the support network of a person can make a critical difference, and this holds true whether the addict is a celebrity or a non-celebrity. Leif Garrett’s mother has openly stated that people in his past who caused him pain are partly responsible for the problems that led to his drug abuse.
Within a year, Leif Garrett says he plans to see a new reflection staring back from the mirror. Garrett will join the ranks on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, season four, with Tiger Woods and Jason Wahler at a private recovery center – but he looks much like other people struggling to defeat addiction who have asked for help as they commit to a new path, and a new life.
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