“Celebrity Recovery” is a four-part series featured during National Recovery Month recalling the celebrities who have survived addiction, gone through rehab, and continue to be in recovery today.
Lana Del Rey’s story of love and loss is not that of an ordinary artist, but rather that of a woman and a drink, even though there have been people in the heartbreak mix. Contrary to her dreamy music that is riddled with love, lust, loss, and allusions to mind-altering substances, the allusive singer has actually been clean for about 12 to 13 years.
It has not always been easy, as the singer still struggles to not pick up a drug in the face of the criticism that strikes her from places she adores, such as New York. The strength it takes to not pick up a substance, no matter what, for more than a decade after not being able to stop drinking deems Lana Del Rey a power of example. This strong woman in recovery does not pick up no matter what.
But what exactly keeps her clean through emotional struggles and strife?
Lizzy Goes to Boarding School
Before she played in the underground New York scene as Lizzy Grant—short for Elizabeth Woolridge Grant—and before her re-envisioned, autobiographical music of melancholic girls and tattooed boys, Lana Del Rey was sent to boarding school for an alcohol problem.
“I liked it more than I liked doing anything else,” said Del Rey about drinking to GQ Magazine. Somewhere between 13 and 18, the progressive trip hop songstress began drinking heavily, and it wasn’t good.
Her parents, an entrepreneur and a high school teacher, worried for their daughter’s rampant alcohol abuse. Her parents responded by reaching out to her uncle, an admissions officer at Kent Boarding School. “My parents were worried, I was worried,” she said. “Like, at first it’s fine and you think you have a dark side—it’s exciting—and then you realize the dark side wins every time if you decide to indulge in it.”
Off to the Races
From a very young age, Lizzy Grant was trying to escape from something, someone. She drank a lot and she drank around the clock. What was she trying to escape from? Mostly, herself. Lana Del Rey hasn’t gone into detail about her days of active addiction, but what is known is that it was horrible, and she managed to get out and stay out.
“It was horrific” and “the worst thing that ever happened to me.” There was no discrimination against any drugs for her; “it was everything in the end.” When the final days of use and abuse was near, the artist left boarding school and was sent to rehab.
During her time in rehab, Lana Del Rey began to delve into the world of music as an outlet. Once out of rehab, she began playing at venues in the underground scene in New York, which led to the successful songstress we know of today.
It was also after rehab that the singer began to participate in a drug and alcohol outreach program in Brooklyn, which she still does today. “It’s the only thing that’s really important to me.”
Carmen and Recovery
According to Lana Del Rey, her music reflects on times of reckless thrill seeking, drug abuse, and love, lust, and loss, which has led to a mix of controversy and gratitude.
In her video “Carmen,” the artist asks, “How does meth change our brains?”—followed by a biopic inspired by a friend of Del Rey’s who was addicted to methamphetamine.
Perhaps it reflected on her own experience with drug addiction as well.
“Carmen” dives into the core of an addiction problem, which is lack of self-honesty and self-love. Such lines as “lying to herself because her liquor’s top shelf” have provoked such fan responses, exemplified by a comment left on her music video where a fan wrote that her “best friend in the world just got clean off meth a few months ago, and when I showed her this song we realized this song hit such a soft spot for the both of us.”
The singer responded: “I see you. Love you. I got clean too, so I know how it goes.”
Despite the perks of showing her fans that they are not alone—a constant struggle for those in addiction and recovery alike—there is still criticism and scrutiny. In response, Del Rey has stated that she struggles to stay sober and that “when I feel like people don’t like this music and that the 10 years I spent making what I made was not for a good reason, that makes me want to drink again.”
No matter how long anybody has been clean, the disease of addiction can still be challenging in anyone’s life. Despite how hard, uncomfortable, or self-defeated Lana Del Rey may feel sometimes, she does not pick up a drug no matter what.
That is a long way from drinking alone at 14.
Learn from Lana Del Rey Addiction–Get Treatment
Here at Citrus Recovery, we have addiction specialists who are ready 24-7 and willing to help anyone with this terrible disease. If you, or your loved, one is struggling with an addiction problem, call (844) 318-0072 for a consultation today.