In 2016, comedian and author Margaret Cho had a birthday celebration—to which she brought wine—that was really an intervention. Her friends, who had seen her opioid and alcohol use spiral, brought her to addiction treatment. She stayed there for a year and a half and has been sober since.
Cho has talked openly for decades about her struggles with addiction, depression, and anorexia. She was sober for more than a decade before the relapse that ended with her friends’ intervention. Cho has spoken publicly about her experience with sexual abuse, trauma, and anti-Asian racism, and how they intersect with her addiction and mental health. She thinks about “how society looks at women, or at Asian-Americans, and how these problems are internalized and erupt in my self-harm.”
Cho says she’s had a “long love affair” with opioids because they detach her from her emotional pain. “It’s not really a high,” she says, “it’s a removal of you caring, but you still feel the pain, you still feel the anguish. Only the choice of whether or not to care about it is removed chemically.”
Cho says she feels lucky she got sober before getting into fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid often laced with other drugs. In 2017, nearly 60% of overdose deaths involved fentanyl. 12 people who were in addiction treatment with Cho have since died. “The entire situation made me very grateful to be alive,” she says.
Not long before Cho’s intervention, fans walked out of a performance due to her intoxication. She was slurring words, forgetting punchlines, and yelling at the people who left. Being sober now, she’s able to re-focus on her comedy, which in turn helps her mental health—and maybe even saves her life.
“My sense of humor probably saved me from dying,” she recently told an interviewer for The Guardian. “You can’t really shut that part of you off, because humor is really hope. Humor and laughter is the intake of breath, which is the preservation of the body for the next moment…I’m really grateful for it and I’m really grateful I got to live.”
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build the tools for lasting sobriety. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.