Artie Lange, A Portrait of Addiction

Artie Lange first appeared in comedy clubs starting in 1987, bringing joy and laughter audiences in New York and later the world with his unique style of humor. Going professional in 1990, he soon found himself in Las Angeles just five years later, cast as performer on the first season of the long-running sketch comedy show, Mad TV. Finding success in such a short period of time within an industry as difficult as show business is like hitting the lottery. For most people, it would be like being hired at multinational, multi-billion dollar company and within a year or two becoming the manager of an entire facility they operate. A promotion trajectory that is rare and comes with it an enormous amount of stress.

Whether his father’s death shortly to his first gig as a comedian or his incredibly quick success contributed to his drug use is his business, but that kind of stress cannot be ignored. By only the second season of Mad TV, he had left the show to enter rehab, one of the first of many visits to come.

His next career moves were only more prestigious with in the cut-throat comedy profession, returning to television with veteran comic Norm MacDonald on his television show The Norm Show and was hand-picked by Norm to co-star with him in the film Dirty Deeds. He was also hired as co-host of the Howard Stern show which became, tragically, a public documentary in real time on Artie’s addictions to cocaine and alcohol.

His successes were constantly being tested by his substance use disorder, to which the Howard Stern Show, a daily radio talk show hosted by shock-jockey Howard Stern, would at first simply ‘cover’ for Artie when he failed to appear when scheduled. Often times, he would show up and simply take a nap on the studio couch, either from suffering withdrawals attempting to quit using or suffering from a comedown from a previous binge.

After multiple incidents, host Howard Stern began divulging Artie’s behavior and problems with substance abuse, sometimes becoming angry at someone he respects and would often say considered a friend. Between 2001 and 2008, Artie attended rehab multiple times, getting sober and becoming visibly healthy but then would slip back into his drug use, each time becoming further and further debilitated by his body’s long term physiology change as addictions often disrupt the brain’s normal dopamine levels which contribute to both behavior patterns as well as sensations of pleasure. Often times, depression accompanies long term drug use as dopamine receptors require more than normal releases in order for a person to feel, well, normal.

To this day, Artie shows that addiction is a life long, chronic disease which many people find difficult to grasp looking in on from the outside. One of the most notorious side effects of extended cocaine usage is a collapsed septum, which recently Artie revealed had happened to him. After revealing his new profile, many of his colleagues and friends urged him to once again enter rehab.

His is a story that shows addiction can happen to anyone, no matter how good of a life they lead, whether they are a terrible person or not, and that addiction is not something that a person can get treated like a broken leg; just a few months and everything is fine. It’s a chronic illness that requires attention every day to maintain a healthy and happy life. Drug rehab centers in NJ like Discovery Institute (844-478-6563) can help you or someone you love who is suffering from substance use disorder rediscover sober living in NJ. Discovery also offers detox programs as well.