It wouldn’t be right to do a series about inspirational people who have overcome substance abuse without including one of the most adored, motivational people in the world: Oprah Winfrey.
Oprah Winfrey’s name is internationally renown and nearly synonymous with humanitarian efforts, charity, and generosity. The queen of daytime television, driving force behind the OWN magazine and TV network, and humanitarian is often celebrated by women everywhere as a beacon of hope, inspiration, and guidance.
Though she officially retired from her talk show in 2009, she remains a force to be reckoned with in everything she touches. However, the billionaire media mogul’s beginning was anything but glamorous: her past is colored by poverty, physical and sexual abuse, a pregnancy in her early teens that ended in stillbirth, and drug abuse.
Oprah has opened up in the past about both her sexual abuse and drug use, siting them as things that helped build her character and make her the one woman powerhouse she is today. The abuse at the hands of men in her family- a cousin, uncle, family friend, and a boyfriend of her mother’s- lead to low self-esteem and bad choices.
One such decision was her emotionally manipulative and abusive relationship with a man in the 80s that introduced her to crack cocaine, which was then called ‘freebasing’.
She has never given details about her recovery or when she quit, but she has said she was more addicted to the relationship than the drug, leading some to interpret that her use ended with the split.
Despite all that lies in her past, Oprah’s accomplishments are innumerable. She paved the way for women in the media and built an empire from the ground up. She has interviewed some of the biggest celebrities in the world, many of whom also had struggles with substance abuse.
She is an avid supporter of children, international women’s rights, and contributes to some 23 charities and foundations, including three of her own.
Oprah has proven herself an unstoppable woman worthy of playing the role of inspirational role model to the countless girls and women who admire her.
Image: “Oprah Winfrey in Denmark” by Bill Ebbesen. Licensed under CC by 3.0.
How has Oprah Winfrey influenced your life? Let us know in the comments!
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