One of the great things about overcoming an addiction to alcohol or drugs \u2014 beyond the main fact of no longer being held hostage by a physically and emotionally devastating illness \u2014 is that it can spark a cascade of good effects. Instead of things spiraling down, they spiral up. It\u2019s certainly true for these celebrities, all of whom got sidetracked by substances at some point in their journey but discovered good things waiting for them when they found their way back. Each found help in their own way, but their stories share the same theme: Life is better sober. 1. Joe Manganiello Found true love It was a match that seemed destined \u2014\u00a0the astonishingly buff \u201cTrue Blood\u201d star marrying the astonishingly beautiful \u201cModern Family\u201d star Sofia Vergara. But the 2015 union wouldn\u2019t have happened, Manganiello revealed in a Men\u2019s Health interview, unless he\u2019d been able to put his drinking behind him. Alcohol became a problem for him in his 20s, the now 39-year-old Manganiello explained, something he used \u201cto quell all the ill feelings I could remember having since I was a child. I was an addict before I ever picked up a drink.\u201d At one point, his life seemed ruined, and he has said that if he\u2019d kept drinking, he\u2019d now be dead. Embracing sobriety 13 years ago, he said, allowed him to become \u201cthe man that I dreamed of being, and the result was I met the woman of my dreams.\u201d 2. Robert Downey Jr. Supercharged his career Robert Downey Jr.\u2019s drug and alcohol history is the stuff of legend and tabloids. And it all came to a head in the early 2000s, when a drug arrest earned him almost a year in prison. On his release, he joined the cast of the popular TV show \u201cAlly McBeal,\u201d but despite winning a Golden Globe, he was written out of the show after his arrest on yet more drug charges. At last, after being court-ordered into drug treatment, Downey achieved sobriety and has maintained it since 2003. He was a popular actor in his youth, but now, in middle age, Downey is in the stratosphere, thanks in large part to the \u201cIron Man\u201d series, which has not only earned him critical acclaim but some very big bucks. In fact, Downey has been No. 1 on Forbes list of the world\u2019s highest-paid actors for the last three years running. During a 2004 appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show, Downey explained what made his recovery possible after so many failed attempts: finally accepting help and running with it. \u201cIt's not that difficult to overcome these seemingly ghastly problems,\u201d he said. \u201cWhat's hard is to decide to do it.\u201d 3. Colin Farrell Discovered you don\u2019t have to be tortured to be an artist To the world, the Irish actor may have looked simply like a hard-drinking bad boy, but at heart, he\u2019s a romantic, he says. And that fed into his notion that great art only comes about through great suffering. And along with the parties, he found plenty of suffering. \u201cAll the madness and all the chaos and all the people around me got so tiring after a while that I had to find another way,\u201d he said in a 2014 interview. Now, more than a decade sober, \u201cI'm really grateful,\u201d he said during an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show. \u201cIt\u2019s really lovely to be present in my life.\u201d Looking back, \u201cI was terrified because, I'm not saying I was a great actor before or a great actor since, but I was terrified that whatever my capacity was as an actor beforehand, however little or large, it would completely disappear. \u201cI to the notion that to be able to express yourself in an artistic form in life, you have to live in perpetual pain, and it\u2019s nonsense. There's enough pain in the world.\u201d 4. Keith Urban Forged a stronger marriage The country music star says he began turning to alcohol in the early 1990s, when he first arrived in Nashville. \u201cIt was my diversion, my way of numbing myself to the rejection and the loneliness and the confusion\u201d of those times, he told People magazine. By 2006, his use had spiraled out of control again, and at the urging of his wife of four months, the actress Nicole Kidman, he checked into rehab \u2014 his third stay in eight years. He feared it would spell the end of their relationship, but instead, it made it stronger. He explained it to People this way: \u201cSome of these things happen in marriages many, many years into it, and you work through them. It's like moving into a house, and the house burns down; we get to build a new one together. Not one that\u2019s mine; it\u2019s ours, we built it together. We know every part of because we've built it. Just the two of us. It's beautiful.\u201d Urban and Kidman now have two daughters together and recently announced plans to renew their wedding vows on their upcoming 10th anniversary. 5. Chris Herren Learned the joy of paying it forward To get a full sense of the former NBA player\u2019s addiction, consider this anecdote: It\u2019s 2001. Herren has fulfilled a dream and is in the starting lineup for the Boston Celtics. But instead of warming up with the other players on the floor, he\u2019s standing outside in a downpour in his uniform, waiting to connect with his dealer. It\u2019s just one of many stories recounted in a 2012 CNN interview. Among others were that he was high on heroin at his mother\u2019s funeral and took off to get drunk when his son was born. When Herren was finally able to make it to recovery after 14 grueling years of addiction, he found new purpose in being there for others, as they were for him over the years. His sobriety, in fact, he credits to friend, NBA Hall of Famer and recovering alcoholic Chris Mullin, who paid for Herren\u2019s nine-month rehab stay. In 2011, Herren paid it forward, creating The Herren Project, which helps those in need and their families find and defray the cost of addiction treatment. In 2015, the group helped 355 individuals and families and secured over $333,000 in treatment scholarships, according to the organization\u2019s year-end report. The group also reaches out with educational programs, camps and scholarships for youth, and Herren runs basketball clinics that focus on self-esteem as much as they do playing the game. It\u2019s a full and rewarding new direction for a life once almost ended by overdose, and he makes that clear when others lament what his basketball career might have been without addiction in the picture. \u201cPeople come up to me now and pity me. They call me a \u2018poor thing,\u2019\u201d he told CNN. \u201cI was a \u2018poor thing\u2019 for 14 years. My life is second to none now.\u201d Finding Your Recovery Though celebrities live out the stories of their addictions in the public eye, similar stories of recovery are happening quietly each day all across the world. An estimated 23 million people in the U.S. alone, in fact, are in successful recovery. Their transformation may not make it to the front page of a magazine, but each person who has sought out help and learned to counteract the damage of addiction can point to benefits to career, relationships and self. To become one of that number, you don\u2019t need celebrity, just a desire for a better life.