Rob Delaney Says His 17 Years of Sobriety Allowed Him To 'Grieve Fully' For Son

"17 years ago I was in jail in a wheelchair, today I am not."
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Rob Delaney has publicly shared his latest milestone in sobriety, after revealing he’s been sober for 17 years.

The 42-year-old actor and comedian reflected on his past year – the first without his son Henry who died in 2017 from a brain tumour – and said it would have been far worse had he not been sober.

“17 years ago I was in jail in a wheelchair, today I am not,” the actor wrote on Instagram. “I am profoundly grateful to the alcoholics who shined a light on the path for me and equipped me with skills to live life well.”

“Sobriety allowed me to be a reasonably good dad, husband and worker through it all,” Delaney continued. “Sobriety allows me to grieve fully, and grief is an expression of love. Thank you for everyone who has helped me. I can’t do it alone.”

Fans and readers congratulated the comedian for being public about his recovery journey. “Openness about struggles is so important, it educates,” one of them wrote. Another commented: “You have helped a lot of people by writing that – so thank you.”

Delaney has written about his life as an alcoholic in his book ’Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage’. In it, he revealed the time he spent in a psychiatric hospital and halfway house in his 20s.

He also wrote about ending up in jail, wearing a hospital gown covered in blood from his bleeding face. “My top front right tooth was missing a piece. My right arm and my left wrist were broken. My knees had slammed into the dashboard of the car I was driving the night before and split open to the bone. They weren’t broken, but they’d been operated on and sewed shut in the emergency room of Cedars-Sinai hospital, just before I went to jail.”

Ever since, Delaney has been open about his struggles with addiction. In a 2013 interview with ShortList, he said: “Even when I was 16 years old I thought, ‘Wow, how come all my other friends can just have fun with it?’ I was starting to black out even then, which is bad. It sucks to wake up and be like, ‘What did I do?’, and then be told and just be disgusted.”

He has fed his experiences into ‘Catastrophe’, the Channel 4 comedy he co-writes with Sharon Horgan, in which his character ‘Rob’ is also an alcoholic.

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