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Josh Brolin Reveals Incident That Made Him Go Sober At 19

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Josh Brolin Reveals Incident That Made Him Go Sober At 19

Josh Brolin has opened up about an incident that inspired him to get sober at 19 years old. 

The actor has starred in a wide range of movies over the years, from No Country For Old Men to his portrayal of Thanos in the Avengers flicks. 

But arguably no achievement will have made quite as profound an impact on his life than getting sober, something he spoke about in the latest episode of the Armchair Expert podcast.

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The topic of conversation comes up after host and fellow actor Dax Shepard discusses his journey to abstinence, before asking Josh how long he’s been sober for. 

Josh Brolin portrayed Thanos in the Avengers films. Credit: Marvel
Josh Brolin portrayed Thanos in the Avengers films. Credit: Marvel

“I got sober at 19,” he says. “I was looking at 14 years in prison.”

When Dax asks if ‘he punched a cop or something’, Josh replies ‘six’, adding: "Yeah. It was on the corner of Hollywood and La Brea.

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“And my buddy who I’m still buddies with who has 26 years sober at this point… as he was closing the store, he saw me turn around toward the cops and he heard this.”

Josh then makes what he describes as an Enter the Dragon sound effect, admitting: “I was, in my mind, Bruce Lee.

“And they kicked my ass so bad, and they hogtied me. So I got sober for three and a half years and then I went back out.”

The actor opened up about his journey to sobriety on the Armchair Expert podcast. Credit: Alamy
The actor opened up about his journey to sobriety on the Armchair Expert podcast. Credit: Alamy
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The star then continued drinking until he was 29, before he stayed off the drink for five years, something he admits he ‘should’ve kept going’. 

But after meeting a girl, he started questioning his sobriety and found excuses to get back drinking, telling Dax: “If you want to get there you’ll find a way there.”

Josh went on to say that ultimately, he got sober at 45 after an impactful interaction with his late grandma. 

“My grandma was on her deathbed, even though she didn’t die for a couple more months, but we thought she was dying at that point,” he said. 

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While the actor was trying to organise things in order for ‘everyone to rely on Josh’, he ended up going out for a beer, which ‘turned into 16’, and he woke up on the sidewalk outside of his house. 

“Picked up my brother, I was late, showed up stinking and I walked in and my grandmother at 99 years old lifted her head – never a drinker, never a drugger, just life on life’s terms – and looked at me in this huge smile and I went ‘that’s it, I’m done’.

“I haven’t had anything, it was like ‘how dare me’, with everything in the palm of my hands, need all this idea of assistance just to get through the day, or to get through this life. 

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“This lady went through a century without any help.”

Josh, 54, went on to clarify that he’s been sober for over eight years now - and he continues to work on his sobriety and stay off the drink for good.

If you want to discuss any issues relating to alcohol in confidence, contact Drinkline on 0300 123 1110, 9am–8pm weekdays and 11am–4pm weekends for advice and support

Featured Image Credit: Armchair Expert

Topics: Celebrity, Life, Mental Health, Film and TV

Daisy Phillipson
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