Mel Gibson Moving Forward After 10 Years Sober

By McCarton Ackerman 10/19/16

In a recent interview, Gibson also slammed the media for continuing to question his sobriety for the last decade.

Mel Gibson Moving Forward After 10 Years Sober

Mel Gibson’s alcohol-fueled rants dominated headlines a decade ago, but the actor has learned from his very public mistakes and is celebrating 10 years of sobriety.

In an interview with Australian TV show Sunday Night, the 60-year-old actor said Alcoholics Anonymous was responsible for turning his life around. Although he had previously been able to stay sober for long stretches on his own, he said that working a program has led to his longest stint of sobriety.

“I am a member of a 12-step program and I achieved sobriety like that. I’ve got 10 years of sobriety under my belt,” said Gibson. “I had other lengths before that, eight years one time, fall off, four years. It’s like [going] through a revolving door.”

Gibson’s spectacular fall from grace began after his 2006 DUI arrest, where dash cam footage showed him calling a female officer “sugar tits” and making anti-Semitic remarks. Although he publicly apologized and referred to his remarks as a "moment of insanity," the infamous leaked 2010 phone conversations between he and ex-wife Oksana Grigorieva revealed him threatening her and using racial slurs to describe several minority groups.

The actor referred to the leaked pieces of footage as the “worst moment” of his life, and said he has done his best to try and move forward.

“Imagine the worst moment you have even had being recorded and broadcast to the world and it wasn’t meant to be public. You didn’t stand on a soapbox and do it, but that’s what happens,” he said. "[But] we can all get into feeling sorry for ourselves, having a pity party about the past or what has happened, it is not worth it because it affects the present and it affects the future."

However, Gibson lamented that he continues to be defined by his outbursts from a decade ago. He slammed the media for continuing to question his sobriety and said they had tried to egg him on for decades.

“You find out pretty quickly that it is out of your control, like the first time you leave your hotel room and a group of people follow you with cameras. You say ‘That is enough, please go away now,’ and they go ‘Nope.’ There is nothing you can do,” said Gibson. “It is disheartening when you have been like 10 years dry on the wagon, sober and you have to read every year or so that you're loaded, so that's disappointing because it is like a public notice that you're loaded but you're not. It’s disingenuous reporting.”

Although his acting career hasn’t fully recovered, Gibson is still very much involved in the movie business. After a 10-year absence from directing, he’s returned as a director for the World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge. His personal life is also more stable and he’s expecting his ninth child with his girlfriend of two years, Rosalind Ross.

“They said 'If you could sum up Hollywood in one word, what would it be?' And … I said ‘survival,’" said Gibson. “Hey, I am still breathing you know.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.