Anna Gragert
May 19, 2016 12:11 pm
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reported that about 40 million Americans over age 12 meet the criteria for addiction involving alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs. Yet, only 1 in 10 of these people receive the treatment they need. That’s why it’s refreshing to hear Zac Efron discussing his own experience with addiction.

Back in 2013, Efron entered rehab to seek support for his drug and alcohol addiction. During this time, he worked hard to attain sobriety. “What I found is structure,” Zac told Elle, when explaining how sobriety has changed his life. “That led me to a balance of opposites: You get out of life what you put in.

Efron is specifically talking about his toxic morning routine, which involved waking up and immediately Googling himself. (We can imagine how overwhelming this must have been for him.) Yet, he added, “[T]hat stopped, dramatically and instantly, probably three years ago. I realized that viewing yourself through other people’s pictures is not living your own life.” At this point, the actor realized he wasn’t staying true to himself and was instead focusing more on how others viewed him.

A lot of my hobbies had gone out the window,” Zac revealed. “I couldn’t skateboard or surf for fear of being followed.” To recover from these worries, Efron worked hard to get past his fears because that’s “what leads to greatness.” He then used the perfect example to explain what he means, stating that he ended up coming face-to-face with a shark when diving with researchers in Hawaii.

I could either turn and try to beat the shark to the boat, or I could look it in the eyes and let it know I’m present and I’m not afraid,stated Zac. “It went right past me, and I put my hand out and I actually rode the shark for 10 or 15 seconds.” The shark later returned and swam beneath Zac. Researchers told him that this was a sign of respect and Efron, in turn, used a Bruce Lee quote to sum up the entire experience:

Be like water… If you pour water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot.” Based on this quote alone, it seems that Zac Efron has used the circumstances of his past to pave the way for a better future. We truly admire his drive to live a healthy, happy, addiction-free life.

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