person using a compass to find their way home

Finding His Way Home: The Inspiring Saga of Cameron Douglas


Sober Recovery Expert Author

person using a compass to find their way home

Cameron Douglas was born into Hollywood royalty and a life of wealth and privilege. Cameron is the son of Michael Douglas and grandson of Kirk Douglas—both award-winning, Hollywood icons. So, how does a kid who appears to have it all go from starring in movies alongside his famous relatives to being addicted to cocaine and heroin and committing crimes to support his drug habit?

Cameron shares all this and more in his new memoir called, Long Way Home. He candidly details his drug use and how he came close to death before being arrested and sentenced to prison for drug-related crimes. He served a total of nearly eight years, including two years in solitary confinement otherwise known as "the box."

Long Way Home begins in 2004, when Cameron was vacationing with his father and some friends at their home in Mallorca, Spain. The family received news from the states that his uncle, Michaels’s half-brother Eric, died of a drug overdose at age 46. Eric had struggled with addiction for most of his life. Michael had also been to alcohol rehab in the '90s. Along with fame, addiction also seemed to run in the family.

How does a kid who appears to have it all go from starring in movies alongside his famous relatives to being addicted to cocaine and heroin and serving prison time?

Michael would later express ongoing concern that his son Cameron was headed for a similar fate as Eric if he continued down his destructive path. With a slew of failed rehab stays (including wilderness camp) and interventions by family members, Cameron continued to use drugs and spiral out of control.

Growing up Douglas

Cameron states in an excerpt from his book, "It's strange growing up and seeing your father and grandfather as giants projected on screens and billboards. It's diminishing to be perceived mainly as someone else's son or brother, and it's hard to develop a sense of yourself as a person intrinsically worthy of others' respect. How do you compete with Kirk Douglas? How do you live in Michael Douglas's shadow?"

Cameron was born in 1978. By his tenth birthday, his father's movie career was surging with blockbusters like "Wall Street" and "Fatal Attraction". He barely saw his father, so it didn't seem to matter when he was sent to boarding school on the east coast.

In 1992, when "Basic Instinct" premiered, Cameron was bullied over his father's racy films. A teenager at the time, he tried marijuana for the first time. He was kicked out of school, returned home and joined a gang of kids who called themselves Sewer Rats.

Cameron worked on and off in film and as a DJ in New York City. But, his promising DJ career was cut short as his drug use progressed. By the time he turned 25, Cameron was injecting cocaine into any vein (including in his neck) that had not yet collapsed. He told Diane Sawyer that he came pretty close to death.

Fighting Addiction

Before he reached his mid-twenties, Cameron had been in and out of rehab eleven times. Despite his families' tough love and support, Cameron continued to shoot up cocaine daily and even endured drug-induced seizures. He admitted that every high in those days was close to an overdose. "I was playing a game of chicken with my life," he told Sawyer.

Cameron's father felt helpless and prepared himself for the worst. Michael Douglas knew the anguish that many other parents endure watching their loved ones suffer through an active addiction.


In the summer of 2009, Cameron was arrested by the DEA in a sting operation and faced a five-year prison term for dealing meth and cocaine. His sentence was doubled for possession of drugs while he was incarcerated. That was his last rock bottom and he finally got sober while in prison.

Soft-spoken and reflective, he agreed with Sawyer that its "a kind of miracle" he is okay today. Cameron's father visited him regularly in prison even as he was battling cancer. Sadly, his beloved grandmother, Diana Douglas had passed away during his prison sentence and he was not able to say goodbye to her.

How did Cameron survive his two years in solitary confinement? He told Sawyer, every morning he recited from The Invictus poem, "I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul." He formed bonds with fellow prisoners, to the point where they affectionately called him "Hollywood".

A Fresh Start

In 2016, Cameron was released from prison and began working (with his father's blessing) on his very personal memoir. Telling his story has been healing for both of them. It has helped reconcile the pain of those years lost to addiction. Cameron hopes that his book can be a cautionary tale for others.

Now 40, Cameron has completely turned his life around. He credits his family support and stepmother Catherine Zeta-Jones for helping to smooth his transition back into family life after prison. He is the father of a beautiful daughter named Lua and beams when he talks about her. "She's teaching me a whole new kind of patience," Cameron told ExtraTV.

Cameron now values giving back to his community and joins his grandfather volunteering at The Los Angeles Mission. Now three years after his release, Cameron is still on probation and must submit to regular drug testing.

Cameron told the ladies of The View how blessed he is to have the unwavering support and unconditional love of his family throughout his life and recovery.

"They rallied behind me every step of the way."

If you or someone you know is seeking help from addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 800-772-8219 to speak to a treatment specialist.

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