Noah Cyrus opens up about life in recovery as she reveals addiction to Xanax for the first time.
The 22-year-old singer has been in the public eye for a long time due to her famous family, which includes father Billy Ray Cyrus and older sister Miley Cyrus. But in her most formative years as young adults, Noah endured a secret struggle.
“My then-boyfriend when I was 18 was the first person to give me a Xanax and it became a way for us to bond,” Noah said Rolling Stone from their first experiences with the drug, which is often used to treat anxiety or panic attacks. “I think I wanted to fit in with him. I wanted to be what he wanted and what he thought was cool and what I thought everyone was doing.”
While other drugs didn’t entice the young star, she described struggles with depression and body dysmorphia that allowed her to tap into the effects of Xanax.
“I’ve had a really hard time being part of a public family and I struggled with that a little bit because it wasn’t exactly my first choice,” she explained. “I’ve had a hard time with people coming up to me and saying, ‘Are you Miley Cyrus’ little sister?’ or ‘Are you Hannah Montana’s little sister?’ I didn’t like that and it robbed me of my own identity for a long time.”
Of experimenting with the drug, she said, “Once I felt like it was possible to silence things for a second and numb your pain, it was over.”
Noah eventually became addicted to the drug as it was readily available throughout her circle. “I was surrounded by people who could easily get it by buying it from people,” she said. And while it seemed obvious she was abusing the drug, she felt friends had “kind of co-signed it” by remaining silent on the subject. “It just becomes this dark pit, a bottomless pit.”
It wasn’t until Noah’s life spiraled in other areas that she began to see the effects of her drug use on herself. She recalled screwing up interviews after the release of her second EP The end of everything as a result of their addiction. “I was completely nodded off and asleep and I couldn’t hold my head up or keep my eyes open because I was so far away,” she said of an international television interview that never aired.
In August 2020, she was confronted with the death of her grandmother. “I felt so guilty for not being there when my grandma died. I was there physically, but emotionally I wasn’t there. I couldn’t be,” she said.
She also closed herself off from other family members, including her mother, Tish Cyrus. “That was my big eye opener,” Noah said of the isolation. “I sat alone and I was scared and I realized that all the people I love and all the people I need have been pushed away from me.”
The Cyrus family had been going through simultaneous struggles when Tish and Billy Ray filed for divorce for a third time in April 2022. “Obviously, it became public knowledge that my parents had gone through some rough patches,” Noah said. Despite this, the family was united in their efforts to help her recover. “I was helped by everyone I needed help from and it took me some time to get on my own feet,” she explained.
Noah has been in recovery since late 2020 and shared that making music has played a big part in it.
“It gave me so much structure over time that I really needed structure because I didn’t want to just sit around and whirl around in my brain,” she said of writing music. “It gave me hope.”
It also provided her with an opportunity to speak publicly about her struggle.
“It came out in my lyrics,” she said. “So it’s like, ‘I’m not going to hide my truth.’ I think it’s been obvious that I’ve been through something over the last few years – I think my fans saw it. I think the public could see it.
Namely Noah’s debut album The hardest part Strongly inspired by this time in her life, she assures fans that she is no expert on the experience and is most focused on taking life each day.
“I’m not trying to be a spokesperson for recovery or anything like that. I’m just going through it myself and finding out,” she said. “I wake up in the morning and I can look in the mirror and go about my day without hating myself. I can comfort and care for myself.”
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