Samuel L. Jackson’s Addiction

Estimated reading time: 18 minute(s)

Unless you have been living under a rock, you must know about Samuel L. Jackson, one of Hollywood’s oldest and most popular actors with a recognizable presence on the silver screen. So far, the actor has been appearing in movies for more than four decades and has bagged several notable projects, such as Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, Star Wars Prequel, Die Hard, XXX, Vengeance, Shaft, and more.

While many people are aware of the actor’s achievements and accolades, not many are aware of Samuel L. Jackson’s drug addiction history and struggles.

Samuel L. Jackson’s Addiction History

Samuel L. Jackson began his acting career on a small scale in 1976 by joining the Negro Ensemble Theatre Company. He also started acting in minor roles in Off-Broadway productions in hopes of kickstarting his career on the big screen. Four years later, in the 1980s, Jackson married his college sweetheart as he struggled to get more prominent roles in movies. Until then, he had played smaller roles in films like School Daze, Goodfellas, and Coming to America.

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At this point, Jackson was struggling professionally and financially due to his addictions. According to the actor himself, he has been into using drugs recreationally since the very young age of 15 years. However, when he moved to New York to join the Negro Ensemble Theatre Company, his drug use and drinking habits escalated. The actor started drinking heavily and even used LSD and marijuana regularly. With the passing years, Samuel became progressively dependent on these substances while constantly adding more types of illicit drugs to the list of substances he was already using.

During his time in theatre productions, Jackson often got high on acid with his other colleagues, often before his performance. This ritual eventually worsened and led him to use other types of drugs as well. Another reason why Jackson thinks he got stuck into addiction was self-pity. According to his statements, he would try to sympathize with himself by using drugs every time he failed to make much money.

Throughout the duration of his drug use, Jackson never cared about anything or anyone other than himself. He admitted how he was never affectionate towards his daughter or wife and acted “kind of crazily.” Even when it came to acting, Samuel struggled to give his best as he would always be under intoxication. The actor was aware of his addiction-related struggles but chose to hide them from family and friends as he did not consider them a problem. A big reason behind this mindset was that Jackson thought he was working and never had to engage in anything illegal to obtain money, so he thought things were going fine for him. The situation Jackson was in is commonly seen in many alcoholics and addicts who firmly believe that they do not have any problem with their substance use when their habits are slowly destroying their lives.

While Samuel does not talk much about his old days of drug addiction, he has actively told his story of engaging in sobriety. For the Pulp Fiction actor, his rock bottom finally came in the year 1991 after almost twenty years of abusing alcohol and drugs. Samuel had been out to attend a party and returned home at night with some cocaine which he decided to “cook” but passed out before anything else happened. The actor’s young daughter and wife found him on the kitchen floor surrounded by drugs and pushed him to seek help.

Samuel L. Jackson Sober Life: How it Happened?

His substance abuse heavily influenced the early career of Samuel L. Jackson. However, the actor has spent most of his career in sobriety and credits his sobriety for helping him become a successful actor. Only two weeks after leaving rehab, Samuel landed the role of Gator in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, where he had to act as a cocaine addict. The role proved to be his breakthrough in the world of Hollywood stardom and kickstarted his career in the true sense.

A few years later, Jackson also bagged the role of Jules Winnfield in the hit film Pulp Fiction. The two roles he landed immediately after achieving sobriety helped Samuel become the household name he proudly holds to the current day. These roles also helped him earn billions of dollars and established his financial stability. While Jackson continues to enjoy sobriety for his health and career, he has been able to change the lives of many along the way. The actor’s father died an alcoholic, but the actor takes pride that his daughter will not have to undergo the same experience.

Despite having almost three decades of sobriety, the journey has never been easy for him. Samuel admits that he still had the urge to drink and even occasionally drank during his sober life. While these occasional relapses are nothing to be ashamed of, they can significantly affect recovering addicts and make things difficult for them. However, Jackson remained committed to his gift of sobriety and continued to hold onto it.

Another way sobriety helped this A-list actor is by helping him connect better with his roles and characters. His wife, an actor, admits that Samuel could not bring life to his characters when he was still doing drugs. At that time, Jackson did not understand what she meant; however, sobriety opened his eyes, and he started seeing what his wife truly meant. As a part of his sober life, Samuel also makes sure to connect and build relationships with his castmates which he thinks helps him act more organically.

Samuel L. Jackson Crack Addiction: What it Teaches Us

It is no secret that sober life has made Samuel L. Jackson a successful actor and a more considerate person overall. However, sobriety is never easy for anyone, be it an actor or an average person. While some people are fortunate enough to achieve it in the first go, others keep on trying for years. Nevertheless, the truth is that a sober life offers positive experiences that can be beyond a person’s wildest imagination. Even for Jackson, he could have never imagined where he is today.

The struggles of addiction for celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson not only inspire other people to achieve sobriety but also show them that recovery is possible for anyone.


What was Samuel L. Jackson addicted to?

Samuel L. Jackson was addicted to a number of substances, such as alcohol, marijuana, and LSD. During the early years of his married life and career, he also used crack cocaine so much that he was often on top of the list of crackhead celebrities.

How long has Samuel L. Jackson been sober?

Samuel L. Jackson has been living a sober life for approximately 25 years and continues to maintain and enjoy his sobriety.

How did a sober life help Samuel Jackson?

A sober life helped Samuel L. Jackson focus more on his career and roles in-depth, which helped him bag more roles and land projects. He now has millions of fans and many nominations for awards, including BAFTA and Black Reel Awards.

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