Simon Pegg: The Universe Gives Back When You Quit Drinking

By Kelly Burch 07/11/19

“You just can’t rely on any kind of stimulant to make yourself feel better and expect it to solve anything,” Pegg said.

Simon Pegg
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Actor Simon Pegg knew his depression was getting the best of him when his career started taking off, but he was still feeling down. 

“I remember thinking, ‘Wow! This is happening.’ And at the same time I couldn’t understand why I was still feeling down. It was like, ‘This is all going well. Why don’t I feel good?’” Pegg said in a recent interview with GQ.

Even as he became more successful, staring in roles in Star Trek and Mission: Impossible, he continued to grapple with depression and turned to alcohol to get through it. However, when he eventually quit drinking around the time he turned 40, he realized that life was better without the booze. 

Managing Depression

“What I found was that as soon as I stopped, things started to go my way,” Pegg said. “It’s a strange thing and I have had conversations with other people about this, that when you quit drinking the universe starts to give back to you a little bit. Maybe it’s because I figured out why I was drinking, which was to combat the depression and so I was able to get on top of what was the real issue. I spoke to people and got proper help. That’s when you realize you don’t need to get drunk because you don’t need to escape from things. By actually confronting it, my reward has been these last 10 years.”

Although being sober didn’t make the depression disappear, Pegg was better able to handle the condition. 

“What I have come to realize from back then is that depression is always there,” he said. “No matter what I did. I don’t think you ever really lose your demons. You just try to find a way to keep them in their place.”

Now, he is able to do that in healthier ways, like working out, without trying to drown his troubles in a manner that never worked very well anyway. 

“You just can’t rely on any kind of stimulant to make yourself feel better and expect it to solve anything,” he said. “At some point the effects wear off and you need more and more. And so with something like alcohol, you just end up being drunk all the time.”

The Public's Reaction

Pegg, who first spoke out about his mental health and substance use challenges last year, said that he is happy his experiences can help others. 

“I think I was just ready to talk about it, you know?” he said. “Before then, I hadn’t really been prepared to give that much of myself over. It isn’t something I think should be seen as shameful. It’s something that a lot of people suffer with. And what was nice was the response I had from a lot of people who said, ‘Thank you for saying that, because I felt that way too.’ And that’s what I would have hoped for.”

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