Famous Business Tycoons Who Quit Addiction for Good

There are a lot of misconceptions and stigma around addiction in the society. People believe that those suffering from substance dependence can never truly recover and achieve anything in life. But some of the world’s most successful business icons have shown otherwise.

This article will take you through the inspirational journeys of a few such entrepreneurs who found their way out of addiction and eventually built multi-billion dollar business empires for themselves. Let’s begin! 

1) Justin Kan (Justin.tv, Twitch, and Socialcam)

Justin is the co-founder of live video streaming channels like Justin.tv and Twitch which is his most successful startup currently valued at $45 billion.

The entrepreneur has a history of more than 20 years of alcoholism which started at the age of 13 as a means to become popular in high school. It continued through college to adult life and even after he came up with his first startup in 2005.

After realizing that the addictive lifestyle is taking a toll on his health, he finally decided to quit in 2019 after mentioning his condition publically on Twitter.

2) Michael Brody-Waite (Nashville Entrepreneur Center)

Brody started with alcohol in an attempt to cope with a new lifestyle after shifting countryside with his family. Low grades, fear of failure and family issues led him to smoke weed as well.  Consequently, he developed a ‘polysubstance addiction’ after a short while. 

Talking about his experience Brody shares that even after being sober for more than 15 years, he still attends the 12-step recovery programs which initially helped him recover for good.

The viral video of Brody at the TEDx Nashville openly talks about both his struggles and successes. 

Accept your addiction, ask for help, recover, and make your journey the source of strength to become successful, is Waite’s advice to all trying to heal from their addiction disabilities.

If you are also one of them and are looking for personalized addiction treatment, WhiteSand’s Florida Luxury Rehabs are offering a range of patient-specific treatment programs targeted for a holistic recovery with top-notch accommodation facilities as well.

3) Austin Geidt (Uber)

Geidt was one of the very first employees in Uber who joined as an intern in 2010. She contributed to taking Uber internationally and journeyed across roles to finally become one of the company’s top executives.

Austin got into drug addiction in college around the age of 19, which led her through an extremely dark phase before she decided to take treatment in rehab and get sober. Dedication to her work was one thing that kept her moving. She’s 10 years sober now.

Austin went ahead and featured in the Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen 2015 conference to speak about her journey in order to inspire others. 

4) Steve Madden (Steven Madden Ltd.)

The American fashion designer suffered from ADHD as a kid. After getting into college, he got addicted to drugs and weed and started spending his days and nights partying. 

Steve was almost existing on drugs at the time before he got too obsessed to make money which even lead him to prison. He knew he needed to control his condition. He tried to recover, relapsed a few times, and yet managed to recover again. 

Madden in his memoir ‘The Cobbler’ insists on learning to let go and keeping a positive attitude throughout the fight with addiction.

5) Oprah Winfrey (Oprah Winfrey Network, OWN)

The extremely popular American TV host, admitted in her talk show about being addicted to cocaine in her early adolescence during the course of a romantic relationship with her then-boyfriend. 

Oprah confessed that it was the biggest secret of her life and certainly wasn’t the easiest to share. But she still overcame her past and is now one of the richest celebrities and businesswomen with a net worth of more than $2.5 billion.


Substance abuse is a serious disorder that can ruin lives. But thankfully treatment is available. And these celebrity lives tell us that there is a better life waiting ahead of the hurdle of addiction.

Anyone can overcome addiction, succeed and contribute to society just like all these business giants if they are adamant about not giving up. 

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