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It hasn’t always been easy for Disney Stars to make the leap to mainstream Hollywood films. For many actors in the industry, achieving fame at a young age has turned out to be a curse. Zac, like so many others before him, told the Hollywood Reporter about how the external demands of being a young actor drove him to use drugs and alcohol as a coping technique. He admitted that overcoming his addictions is a “never-ending battle” for him.

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Zac Efron has spent much of his life in the public eye, but with money and fame comes an onslaught of media for everything a celebrity does, and Zac was no exception. And he overcame many obstacles on his climb to the top that few people outside the entertainment industry can comprehend. For actors like himself, alcohol, drugs, and parties quickly became the standard, and being grounded grew more difficult to maintain. 

Despite the challenges that kid stars face in their careers, Zac overcame them all while doing so in front of the cameras.

Famously known for his role in the teen film High School Musical, Zac Effron has been in the spotlight since a teenager. Zac and his co-stars became international celebrities as a result of the popular film, and they had no idea their lives would never be the same again. The movie was a smashing blockbuster, becoming one of the most-watched events ever shown on cable television at the time. 

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Despite the fact that the films are no longer in production, the actor is still regarded as one of the industry’s most promising young actors. He’s also a heartthrob who attracts an extraordinary amount of female attention. Because gossip magazines and paparazzi are known to stalk Zac’s every step, he doesn’t always have the freedom to be himself.

His career rocketed to fame at a very early age, and every adolescent girl yearned to be with him. He was a heartthrob from an early age and admired and loved by many, which also meant that he was constantly being watched and followed by people and the media. It was this stress and constant fear of making a wrong move with all those eyes on him, that led him to turn towards substance use.

His reasons are not unusual, and most famous personalities who abused substances have spoken about similar experiences and triggers. Many celebrities develop a sense of self-importance, and because they have more spare income than the average person, they can afford to buy narcotics like cocaine. Some people become so acclimated to the celebrity lifestyle that they assume they are exempt from conventional rules. Because they are treated like celebrities, they believe they can do and say whatever they want, even if it includes abusing substances like cocaine or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. 

In an interview with Elle.com, Efron revealed that he began drinking heavily as a means to cope with the social constraints of his celebrity image. Alcohol served as a “social lubricant” and a mechanism for the young celebrity to cope with his feelings of being watched. People were ready to take his picture or ask him what he was doing, what he was wearing, who he was dating, and so on everywhere he went. “Being followed or observed around the time was an incredible amount of strain,” Efron remarked.

As he became increasingly hyper-aware of his image and what others thought of him,  Efron began his days by Googling himself to view the newest news, images, and commentaries, as he was no longer able to enjoy his prior pastimes of surfing or skating every morning without fear of being seen or photographed.

He told the Hollywood Reporter, “It’s never one specific thing. I mean, you’re in your 20s, single, going through life in Hollywood, you know? Everything is thrown at you.” Efron mentioned a complicated relationship with his parents (as do many child stars), concerns about his career after Disney and not being able to replicate the success of High School Musical, the challenges of being famous and meeting a romantic partner, being constantly observed by the media, and the demands of his acting career as possible reasons for his drug use.

 According to Efron, his schedule practically forced him to live out of his suitcase as he jetted from place to place, leaving him no time for his old interests, passions, or pals. He turned to substances as he got increasingly separated from the people he cared about.

During High School Musical, Efron began a romantic relationship with his on-screen sweetheart, Vanessa Hudgens. The struggles that came along with this relationship also took a toll on him. While Vanessa acknowledged their long-distance relationship as a contributing cause, many have suggested that Zac’s substance usage was to blame, given their split coincides with the start of his battle. 

Zac felt compelled to keep the momentum going as High School Musical drew to a close. As a result, he took on three projects in a row, leaving him weary, drained, and eventually self-destructive. Eventually, his workload got too great for him to handle, and drugs were his sole option for creating something more lasting.

In addition to alcohol, Zac Efron also developed a coke problem. He has previously stated that drinking led to cocaine use and using MDMA — the active ingredient in Ecstasy (AKA “Molly”). He is also said to have allegedly abused oxytocin, Adderall, and ‘hillbilly heroin’.

When Efron’s career took a break, he says it was difficult. He also claims that Hollywood’s youth experience many of the same challenges as anyone else their age. He claims that his engagement with alcohol misuse, cocaine addiction, and experimentation with the club drug Molly was influenced by issues with overbearing parents and a terrible group of friends.

While we can’t say for sure what prompted the actor to begin misusing cocaine or alcohol, it’s apparent that even the best people can struggle to make good decisions at times. You may have the best of intentions, but you may wind up making blunders when opportunities arise. What’s more important is that you accept responsibility and take steps to correct your mistakes and become the best version of yourself.

After many sleepless nights and media reports of his alleged substance abuse, Zac Effron realized the need for professional help. “when the only things I would look forward to was free time on the weekends and dreaded the start of a new week, I knew something was wrong,” he stated. 

He began attending alcoholics anonymous meetings privately in 2013 but struggled to stay sober. In March, he entered himself into a clinic for a few weeks to detox, according to reports.  Efron revealed in April that he attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, added that as an actor, he felt pressured everywhere he went due to the constant scrutiny of the press.

Unfortunately, he had a relapse in April 2013, right before the start of filming for Neighbors. He had to miss many days of filming as a result of the incident.

Zac made his acting comeback in 2014 with the hilarious film The Awkward Moment, in which he reminded everyone how good-looking he was… just in case they forgot. 

Later that year, he played as a cocky Frat boy in the comedy Bad Neighbours, which grossed a whopping $270 million at the box office, making it one of the most successful R-rated pictures in the United States. Zac’s “attractive boy” character paid off, as he went on to star in a slew of comedies the following year. 

Zac’s road to recovery was long, even after he got his house in order and started attending Alcoholics Anonymous and counseling. The actor has spoken out about his anxiety issues, revealing that he “100%” suffers from it on occasion. He also admitted to being engulfed by “thoughts, just thoughts, just overthinking things” on a regular basis.

Efron became one of the few celebrities to talk out about his difficulties with alcohol after completing his program later in 2014, in order to raise awareness and challenge the taboo around addiction. Efron, who has been clean for six years, promotes living a fulfilling life through diet, exercise, and adventures. Although the star advocates abstinence for people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, he also advises it to anyone who wants to emulate his outstanding figure.

According to Efron, foregoing drinking helps you lose weight faster, especially around your stomach, while also protecting your hard-won gains. The rest, he claims, is just a matter of eating consistently. 

The actor is still sober and has an active, fulfilled life as of 2021, which he attributes to health, fitness, an active lifestyle, a new thoughtful attitude about life, and candor about his challenges. Years later, the actor says he’s grateful for the mistakes he’s made since they’ve helped him get to where he is now. “When you have success young, and you accept the good things, you have to accept all of it. You have to accept the moments of glory but also a great responsibility. And that responsibility, to some degree, involves being a role model. At the same time, I’m a human being, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve learned from each one.”

Now that he’s clean, Efron says he doesn’t want to rely on an artificial chemical to feel good again. In order to quiet his mind, he now meditates as often as possible.

In an interview with Elle, Zac replied to a question asking how sobriety has changed his life. He stated: “What I found is structure. That led me to a balance of opposites: You get out of life what you put in. There was a moment when my morning routine was, like, Get up and Google yourself. But that stopped, dramatically and instantly, probably three years ago. I realized that viewing yourself through other people’s pictures is not living your own life. I wasn’t being myself. A lot of my hobbies had gone out the window. I couldn’t skateboard or surf for fear of being followed. Crossing the line of fear is what leads to greatness.” 

Zac has not only confronted his life’s challenges head-on but has also emerged a much happier version of himself. The actor is now an avid traveler who frequently shares videos on YouTube with his 1.2 million subscribers showing his travels and fitness suggestions.

Efron’s latest endeavor, “Down to Earth with Zac Efron,” a documentary on travel, life experience, nature, renewable energy, and healthy living practices, premiered its first episode in early July 2020. The actor is finally ready to show a side of himself he’s kept hidden for years. Despite the series’ breathtaking surroundings and thrilling exploits, Efron’s unscripted conversation has earned mixed reviews. However, all of the critics have agreed that you can’t help but enjoy Zac Efron so far.

Zac Efron is the poster child for an actor who broke under the pressure of perfection. Zac struggled to adjust to life outside of Disney, as is often the case with kid actors. He had to deal with the pressures that come with being not only an adult male actor but also a former Disney star who served as a role model for children all over the world. 

While the public and the press gushed about this hottie as if he were only a swoon-worthy item, he was fighting a struggle behind the scenes. The decisions he made as a result of being overworked had a direct impact on his personal life and relationships. 

Many people look up to Zac as a role model. Despite his mistakes, he has accepted responsibility for his actions and is working to improve his condition. The journey can be difficult at times, but completing it is all the more gratifying. 

A role model doesn’t have to be flawless. The way they deal with their flaws is what makes them perfect. You should recognize that people are permitted to make errors, whether you have a role model you aspire to be like or you are a role model to someone who looks up to you.

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