Comedian Rob Delaney Celebrates 16-Year Sober Milestone

By Keri Blakinger 02/08/18

"Sixteen years ago I was in jail in a wheelchair, covered in blood, both arms broken, after driving blackout drunk into a building."

rob delaney and sharon horgan
Rob Delaney and 'Catastrophe' co-star Sharon Horgan

Catastrophe star Rob Delaney notched up 16 years of sobriety this week, and the 41-year-old London-based celeb took to Twitter to announce the milestone with an earnest and open tweet.

“As of today I’ve been sober 16 years,” he wrote. “Sixteen yrs ago I was in jail in a wheelchair, covered in blood, both arms broken, after driving blackout drunk into a building. Today, I’m home with my wife & kids & I’m healthy. Thank you to all who’ve helped me.”

Delaney has been open about his struggles with addiction in the past, most notably in a 2013 interview with ShortList. The struggle, he said, started in his mid-teens.

“Even when I was 16 years old,” he told the British magazine, “I thought, ‘Wow, how come all my other friends can just have fun with it?’ I was starting to black out even then, which is bad. It sucks to wake up and be like, ‘What did I do?’, and then be told and just be disgusted.” 

At 25, he went to rehab and got sober—but only after the harrowing wreck referenced in Sunday’s tweet.

“I asked the police from my hospital bed if I’d killed anyone,” he says. “They said no, but when I realized I could kill other people with my drinking, that paradigm shifted. I was cool if I died, but I just wanted to hurt myself, not other people. And I was already hurting people in relationships, and hotel staff whose beds I’d soaked like a sponge with piss. But when I realized I could end people’s lives, I could kill a family in a minivan, I thought, ‘Oh, OK, time to flip the coin. I don’t want to be that.’”

The frightening real-life near-tragedy seems to have worked its way into Delaney’s on-screen life. In the dark comedy series, Delaney plays an American businessman who knocks up an Irish teacher during a work trip to London. Afterward, the two decide to give it a go, but in the season three finale Delaney’s character ends up in a drunk driving wreck.

Sunday’s tweet about his journey to sobriety garnered some Twitter love with more than 208,000 likes and more than 8,000 retweets.

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.