Former World Wresting Entertainment star Natalie Coyle, known professionally as Eva Marie, revealed her struggles of living with alcohol addiction in an essay published in InStyle magazine on Jan. 16.
“I’m an alcoholic,” she wrote. “I have relapsed, destroyed relationships, hurt my family and disappointed myself numerous times.”
From 2013 to 2017, Coyle was prominently featured on WWE and the TV show “Total Divas.” She left the WWE in 2017 to pursue an acting career. That year, she made her film debut in the movie “Inconceivable.”
But, as she revealed in her InStyle essay, Coyle has a long history of alcohol addiction. She hit rock bottom after serving three months in jail for multiple DUIs. Around this time, she didn’t have a driver’s license or reliable employment. And she was living in an apartment she could barely afford.
Coyle said that her road to recovery began when she made a simple but powerful admission: “I am an alcoholic.”
“And admitting that truth saved my life,” she said.
She started attending Alcoholics Anonymous, the most popular support-group program in the world, and she eventually entered recovery. She has been sober for nearly five years.
Today, Coyle is married, has multiple successful businesses and is fulfilling her dream career as an entertainer. But she is aware that one drink could ruin her life. And despite years of sobriety, she still considers herself an alcoholic.
Coyle’s revelation continues a recent trend of celebrities revealing their issues with drug or alcohol use. In May 2017, Brad Pitt told GQ magazine about overcoming his issues with excessive drinking. Later that year, British singer Ed Sheeran opened up to talk show host Jonathan Ross about his struggles with alcohol abuse early in his career while adjusting to fame.
Eva Marie: ‘Alcoholism Is a Disease’
In her essay, Coyle said that alcoholism is a disease. She knows that some people believe alcohol addiction is a choice. But she said this debate often causes people dealing with this debilitating disorder to feel unnecessary shame.
A number of medical organizations define alcohol and other drug addictions as diseases.
The American Psychiatric Association states that addiction is a complex brain disease caused by compulsive substance use. The American Society of Addiction Medicine says addiction is a disease just like asthma, diabetes and heart disease. And the National Institute on Drug Abuse calls addiction a chronic, relapsing brain disease.
Eva Marie Offers Words of Encouragement
In an Instagram message posted on Jan. 17, Coyle expressed happiness and pride in opening up about her alcoholism and recovery. Although alcohol addiction affects countless people, she said, many of these individuals are too ashamed to talk about their substance use problems.
Coyle admitted that she, too, once was ashamed of her alcoholism. Like many Americans experiencing a substance use disorder, she avoided seeking assistance because of the stigma associated with addiction. She felt weak. She was embarrassed.
She no longer feels this way. She accepted her reality. She continues to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings multiple times a week, and she works with a sponsor to stay dedicated to the principles of the program. She said she’s always looking for women in similar situations to sponsor.
Coyle encourages people with substance abuse problems to stick with their self-help program. The program will not change your life overnight, she said, but the results will eventually come.
“Don’t quit, [and] keep pushing forward no matter how hard it gets,” she wrote on Instagram. “I promise you it’s worth it in the end.”