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Stephen King Shares Encouraging Words After Midnight Mass Creator Celebrates Three Years Of Sobriety

Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) celebrating eight years of sobriety in Doctor Sleep
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

In the last few years, Stephen King and Mike Flanagan have become two points close together on the pop culture map. In 2017, the latter directed an adaptation of the former’s novel, Gerald’s Game, for Netflix, and then that immense success was followed two years later with Flanagan bringing King’s Doctor Sleep to the big screen. Hopefully the years to come will bring even more collaborations, but for now it’s sweet to recognize that the two men are still staying connected, with the author recently congratulating the filmmaker on three years of sobriety.

The last few months have been tremendous for Mike Flanagan, as he has received near unanimous praise for his new Netflix miniseries, Midnight Mass – a story that passionately and compassionatly digs into the subject of recovery – and another reason for him to be proud is that he is celebrating a wonderful sober anniversary. The writer/director wrote a post about the milestone on Twitter, and Stephen King retweeted him with a message of support:

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It’s a message that comes from a place of experience, as Stephen King has famously had his own struggles with drugs and alcohol. As he recounts in his brilliant non-fiction book On Writing, his substance abuse issues became a serious problem in the first decade of his career as a published novelist, and with the support of his family he began a life of sobriety in the early 1990s. He has had relapses, as he briefly became addicted to OxyContin following the 1999 accident that saw him hit by a minivan while walking along the side of the road, but he was able to “kick” the habit. 

The subjects of both drug and alcohol abuse and sobriety have been featured in the works of Stephen King from the very beginning of his career, and a standout story in that regard is Doctor Sleep. In the novel – and in Mike Flanagan’s film adaptation – protagonist Dan Torrance is an alcoholic just as his father, Jack, was (see: The Shining), and after hitting rock bottom he makes the decision to get sober and fix his life. The themes of the story deeply resonate because of the truth and personal understanding that exists behind them, and the way in which both King and Flanagan have creatively channeled their experiences is phenomenal.

Both men deserve congratulations for their successful fights against substance abuse, and all the encouragement in the world to keep working at it. Stephen King's next novel, Gwendy's Final Task (co-written by Richard Chizmar), goes on sale February 15, 2022, and his latest, Billy Summers, was released this past August. All of Midnight Mass is available to watch on Netflix now, and Mike Flanagan is presently developing two more series for the streaming service: The Midnight Club, and The Fall of the House of Usher.

Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.