Cat Marnell has infamously documented her drug-riddled exploits over the course of her career, but the beauty writer-turned-bestselling author is happy to report that she has been ‘Adderall-free’ for two years.
The 37-year-old was still abusing the prescription drug when she published her addiction memoir, How to Murder Your Life, in 2017. In the book, she details how getting hooked on pills changed the course of her life, costing her two jobs and resulting in multiple stints in rehab.
Marnell took to Instagram on Wednesday to celebrate the two-year anniversary of her quitting Adderall while sharing a glamorous photo of herself wearing a royal blue sweetheart strapless.
Anniversary: Cat Marnell took to Instagram on Tuesday to share a glamorous photo of herself in New York City, revealing she has been ‘Adderall-free’ for two years
‘Two years Adderall-free today,’ she wrote, ‘#MoreThanAnAddict #neveragain.’
The image, which shows a glowing Cat posing in front of a rack of clothes, appears to have been taken in her apartment. When posting the snapshot, she tagged Soho, a trendy neighborhood in New York City.
In her book, Marnell explained her addiction began when she was 15 years old and attending the upscale Lawrence Academy boarding school in Groton, Massachusetts. Her father, a psychiatrist married to a psychotherapist, gave her a prescription for Ritalin.
She soon began to crush the pills to snort them instead of swallowing them. A few years later, Marnell became addicted to cocaine and heroin.
Her editing career took off at Lucky magazine, where she started as an assistant before being promoted to associate editor. By that time, she was struggling with insomnia and self-mutilation, as well as bingeing and purging.
Looking back: The writer, pictured in 2012, said her addiction to pills began when she was 15 years old after her psychiatrist father gave her a prescription for Ritalin
Problem: Marnell later became addicted to cocaine and heroin, and she used to document her drug-riddled exploits, sharing photos of the drugs and pill bottles she had in her apartment
Looking back: This photo of Marnell was taken after she lost her mind in her ‘rat apartment’ in 2007 and started smearing beauty products all over her face
Marnell, who said she looked like a ‘corpse bride,’ went to rehab for six weeks while at Lucky. She eventually quit her job after four years in 2010.
‘My ambition and my addiction had been duking it out like two boxers in a ring for years. My ambition was bloodied,’ she wrote in her memoir.
Her erratic lifestyle eventually left her unable to accomplish regular tasks, such as showering.
‘I took baths every morning because I was too weak to stand in the shower; I wrote rent checks in highlighter; I had three prescribing psychiatrists and zero OB-GYNs or dentists; I kept such insane hours that I never knew whether to put on day cream or night cream; and I never, ever called my grandma,’ Marnell explained in her book.
Jane Pratt, the founder of Sassy and Jane magazines, hired Marnell in 2011 for her new website, XoJane.
Hard to handle: The beauty writer’s drug addiction cost her two jobs and resulted in multiple stints in rehab
Breakdown: Marnell wrote about her drug abuse as a rising beauty writer in her 2017 memoir, How to Murder Your Life, and hit rock bottom after it was published
There, the beauty writer famously snorted a line of jasmine-scented bath salts on camera — a riff on the popularity of psychoactive bath salts at the time.
Marnell left XoJane in 2012 after the website’s publishers sent her to rehab.
‘I’m always on drugs,’ she told Page Six at the time. ‘Look, I couldn’t spend another summer meeting deadlines behind a computer at night when I could be on the rooftop of Le Bain looking for shooting stars and smoking angel dust with my friends and writing a book, which is what I’m doing next.’
Marnell wrote about her substance abuse for Vice over the course of the next summer and penned a goodbye story on the website in January 2013.
That year, she also landed a book deal, which came with a reported $500,000 advance. It took her three years, two stints in rehab, and one heroin overdose to finish the book, which went on to become a New York Times Bestseller.
‘There’s a bottle of Adderall right next to me as I sit writing this. It has always been my “mostly companion,” as Eloise would say,’ she wrote in her book’s afterword.
Marnell was about to start promoting her book one night in 2017 when she burned off all of her hair and flooded her Chinatown apartment while high on Adderall.
Traveling: Marnell fled to Europe and traveled for two years after burning off all of her hair and flooding her Chinatown apartment while high on Adderall
Moving on: She weaned herself off of Adderall on the trip, and she was no longer taking the medication when she shared this photo of herself last September in honor of her 37th birthday
‘It was complete beauty Chernobyl,’ she told the New York Times. ‘Everything that I’d been doing my whole life caught up with me. All of a sudden, the inside matched the outside.’
A few months later, she fled to Europe in an attempt to run away from her problems, and it ended up working for her. It was during the trip that she started to wean herself off Adderall after two decades of abusing the ADD medication.
Marnell traded drugs for exercise, and after traveling to more than 60 countries in two years, she returned home to her mom’s home outside of Washington.
She opened up about the journey in her audiobook Self-Tanner for the Soul: How I Ran Away to Europe and Found My Inner Glow (When Life Got Dark), which was released in 2019.
‘She’s very different now,’ her mother, Stacey Marnell, told the New York Times in October.
Changed: Marnell has traded drugs for exercise, and while she is not entirely sober, she insists she is healthier than ever and no longer taking illegal drugs
‘End of an era’: Marnell appeared on the Dopey Podcast in October, saying it was ‘last ever’ interview about drugs and addiction
‘I knew her in all the dark days of her book as someone who couldn’t keep a routine, couldn’t focus,” she added. “She’s so focused now. If anything it’s a little bit annoying, because her day revolves around an exercise class that she’s doing on the floor of my living room.’
Speaking with Page Six in the fall of 2019, Marnell said her health is ‘too good’ and exercise is the ‘most important thing’ in her life.
‘I’m not entirely sober but listen—all these healthy trendy chicks micro-dosing and smoking weed out in LA are taking more drugs than I am!’ she said.
‘Adderall might as well have been arsenic—to my mental health, anyway. I haven’t taken a smidgen of Adderall in over two years.’
The reformed party girl noted that she was still using focus medication, but she insisted it was regulated and wasn’t negatively affecting her life.
‘I take a different amphetamine now, in a very controlled dose that doesn’t get me high or affect my sleep,’ she explained. ‘I don’t doctor shop or mess around. I don’t touch illegal drugs and I rarely get drunk.
‘You gotta protect your energy and your brain and your spirit like they are precious jewels.’