• For 24/7 Treatment Help Call

    (800) 526-5053

  • Profiles Of Addiction Recovery | Ozzy Osbourne

    Published on
    Ozzy Osbourne | Addiction Recovery Story

    The Godfather of Heavy Metal, the Prince of Darkness, the Wizard of Ozz, and one of the most notoriously intoxicated hard rockers of modern history, original Black Sabbath Frontman Ozzy Osbourne’s path to addiction recovery has been a long and winding one.

    Dark Origins

    John Michael Osbourne, or Ozzy, was born in 1948 to a poor, working-class family in Birmingham, England. He was dyslexic, had ADHD, was a poor student, and was a magnet for trouble and bullying. 

    By fifteen he was out of school and bouncing between jobs or dabbling with drinking, petty theft, and suicide attempts.

    At 19, Ozzy joined the band Rare Breed, a local group founded by bassist Geezer Butler. Though the band didn’t last more than a few gigs, Geezer and Ozzy would go on to found a second band with guitarist Tony Iommi and drummer Bill Ward, eventually settling on the name Black Sabbath.

    Stardom & Drug Abuse

    Black Sabbath and their dark, driving, blues-influenced sound met with almost immediate success in the United States.

    However, transitioning into full-time music only increased Ozzy’s drinking, which was followed by heavy cannabis use. Ozzy’s first-time using cocaine came in 1971, and his substance abuse would quickly spiral from there.

    Alcohol, Cocaine, Opioids, & More

    For the rest of the 1970s, all the Black Sabbath band members were routinely intoxicated, with Ozzy being the worst by far. His vices varied widely, incorporating alcohol and cocaine as well as painkillers and other prescription drugs obtained legally and off the street. 

    In his own words, Ozzy was on “booze, coke, heroin, acid, and Quaaludes to glue, cough syrup, Rohypnol, Klonopin, Vicodin… On more than a few occasions, I was on all of those at the same time.”

    Unsurprisingly, Ozzy’s absences and runaway drug and alcohol addiction spelled disaster for his first marriage to Thelma Riley, with whom would have two children and adopt a third, though Ozzy has admitted that he was too out of it to remember his children’s births.

    Solo Career & Continued Substance Use

    In 1979, recognizing that he was completely out of control, Ozzy’s bandmates fired him, and the band Black Sabbath moved on with Ronnie James Dio.

    Ozzy reacted poorly, spending three months drugged out and partying in a hotel suite before his manager and future wife Sharon finally convinced him to step out on his own. 

    However, Ozzy’s solo career in the 1980s somehow managed to intensify his rock-star antics and alcohol/drug addiction even more. He would be repeatedly arrested, and in 1989 attempted to strangle Sharon in a drug-fueled haze.

    The only reason Sharon Osbourne never pressed charges was because Ozzy submitted to a six-month stay in rehabilitation. But despite this, Ozzy would vacillate between relapse and recovery for the next two decades.

    The Osbournes & The Effects Of Addiction On His Children

    Branching out, Ozzy, Sharron, and their younger two children Kelly and Jack would agree to the be the subjects of a new reality show in the early 2000s, though the thought of being so exposed and publicized drove their oldest daughter, Aimee, out of their house at 16, forming a family rift that has never fully healed.

    Setting The Stage For Substance Abuse

    The Osbournes was an instant success when it was released on MTV in 2002, but years later Ozzy would publicly blame the filming for not only intensifying his ongoing issues with drug use (he was drinking a case of beer each day off-screen, in private), but also setting the stage for his children to follow in their father’s footsteps.

    As Sharon would later report, “[Jack and Kelly] kept seeing their dad go back into rehab, and back, and back. And so I just thought, “They won’t want this in their life.” Little did I know that Jack was sniffing, and drinking, and God knows what else.”

    The show would end its run in 2005, with both Jack and Kelly eventually receiving treatment for opioid addiction, and Ozzy himself having become dependent on painkillers following a well-publicized quad accident.

    Recovery & Survival

    Now 74 years old, as of his writing, and dealing with Parkinson’s and the aftereffects of a lifetime of drug abuse, Ozzy Osbourne has finally done what he thought was impossible. Remain sober not only for a month, or a single year, but for nearly an entire decade.

    According to a 2021 interview, Ozzy thinks of himself as “… lucky. There’s nothing special about me. I should have been dead 1,000 times. I’m not being big-headed about that, or invincible. It doesn’t take much to kill you…. I thought I’d be drinking to the day I die.”

    Ozzy has plenty of people to thank, especially his wife Sharon, who today has a severely zero-tolerance approach to Ozzy using alcohol or drugs and going to Alcoholics Anonymous, as Ozzy continues to attend meetings to help keep himself accountable and in check.

    If you or your loved ones are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, you don’t need to move forward alone. Follow Ozzy’s example and find qualified, professional help today. To learn more, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Questions About Treatment?

    Ark Behavioral Health offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs. Achieve long-term recovery.

    100% confidential. We respect your privacy.
    Prefer Texting?

    Our friendly support team is here to chat 24/7. Opt out any time.


    Our Facilities

    Premier Drug Rehab & Mental Health Care Facilities In Massachusetts & Ohio

    Bedrock Recovery

    Canton, MA

    • Medical detox
    • Inpatient & Residential Treatment
    • Primary Mental Health Care
    • Movie Theater & Fitness Center

    Learn More

    Northeast Addictions

    Quincy, MA

    • Day treatment program
    • Intensive Outpatient Program
    • Full-Day Group Therapy
    • Easy Access to Public Transit

    Learn More

    Spring Hill Recovery Center

    Ashby, MA

    • Residential Treatment
    • Gender-Specific Residencies
    • Outdoor Recreation
    • Expansive 70-Acre Campus

    Learn More

    Ohio Recovery Center

    Van Wert, OH

    • Medical Detox
    • Residential Treatment
    • Primary Mental Health Care
    • 55-Acre Campus

    Learn More

    For Immediate Treatment Help Call 800-526-5053