How Jack Osbourne Stayed Sober Through His MS Diagnosis

In 2012, Jack Osbourne began experiencing numbness and what he thought was a pinched nerve in his leg for about three months.

At about the same time, he went to see a doctor about an inflamed optic nerve.

It turns out his leg and eye problems were related. At age 26, Osbourne was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. At the time, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne’s son was also about nine years sober. “I felt deflated and frustrated because I was like, ‘Well, what was the point? What was the point in even doing any of this bullshit? I should have just burned it all down years ago,’” Osbourne, 35, recalls. “But then I did what I have done my whole adult life in recovery: I reached out to the people in my tribe, and kind of told them what was going on.”

Like so many sober people facing hardships, Osbourne did what he was taught to do since day one of his recovery — reach out to other sober people.

“Someone very close to me gave me the sound advice of, ‘Well, are you going to die today?’ And I was like, ‘No.’ He’s like, ‘Are you going to die tomorrow?’ And I was like, ‘No.’ And he’s like, ‘Well, call me tomorrow,’” Osbourne says. “I just take it a day … It’s a cliché term, but when it comes to my ailment, I tend to have a day-at-a-time-type attitude around it. I have no guarantee what my life will look like in five, 10 or 15 years. So I just try and focus on what’s right in front of me.”

For Variety’s second annual Recovery Issue, Jack sat down with Ozzy and Sharon to talk about the realities of getting sober not only as a family but also in the Hollywood spotlight.

Jack said the pandemic has been particularly tough for the recovery community. “In the last year, I’ve lost friends to mental health issues or a direct result of drugs and alcohol,” he says, adding, “Part of it is suicides and parts are overdoses. In April, my very good friend took his own life and had two boys. I got sober with him. He took me to my first meeting when I was 15 years old. I know these are celebrities talking about recovery, but 99% are just normal run-of-the-mill every day humans. No one is impervious to this.”

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