Craig Ferguson Talks Sobriety, Alcoholism

By Kelly Burch 05/10/19

“There were many points along the way where I could have gone off that awful train and I didn’t,” Ferguson told People Now.

Craig Ferguson
Photo via People Now/

Former late-night host Craig Ferguson wants people with alcoholism to know they can stop drinking any time—they don’t need to wait for the big rock bottom moment. 

Ferguson, who has been sober for 27 years, said that he didn’t have one rock bottom situation, but a series of times when he realized he needed to change his relationship with alcohol, according to People. 

“There were many points along the way where I could have gone off that awful train and I didn’t,” he said. “If I would impart one message to the drinking alcoholics now… if you want to stop you can stop now. You don’t have to wait for it to get worse.”

He continued, “‘Where’s my big moment?’ It’s here. If you’re worried about your drinking there’s probably a reason.”

Ferguson, who is promoting his new book Riding the Elephant: A Memoir of Altercations, Humiliations, Hallucinations, and Observations, also discussed sobriety with Daniel Asa Rose of The Washington Post

“You really were quite the accomplished drinker in your day, weren't you? At one point, you mention that one of your acquaintances said you were the 'alkiest alky' she'd ever met. Are there moments when you really miss the sauce?” Rose asked. 

“No. Couldn't have written this book. I'm glad I did it and glad it's over,” Ferguson said. 

He continued, “Y'know, quitting was instrumental in my writing. The conversation in pubs I thought I'd miss was more than compensated for by the talk at [AA] meetings. That may be where I picked up my rambling manner.”

Two years ago Ferguson went on Twitter to mark 25 years of sobriety. "I'm 25 years sober today and anyone who knew me back then would tell you how impossible that is. Thanks for the miracle,” he wrote

While Ferguson is normally no-holds-barred with the jokes, in 2007 he delivered a famous monologue urging people to be more kind to celebrities who are struggling with addiction or mental health issues. 

“At what price am I doing this stuff?” Ferguson said. 

At the time, he said that he wouldn’t be making fun of Britney Spears, who was clearly struggling. "What she's going through—it reminds me of what I was doing. It reminds me of where I was 15 years ago,” he said. 

Ferguson said that he was uncomfortable making fun of people who obviously needed help. 

"I have found that the only way I can deal with [alcoholism] is to find other people who have similar experiences and talk to them. It doesn't cost anything. And they're very easy to find. They're very near the front of the telephone book. Good luck," Ferguson said, referring to AA. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.