A cause for celebration. Jamie Lee Curtis announced in a new interview that she has been sober for 20 years.
“I was the wildly controlled drug addict and alcoholic,” the actress, 60, admitted in Variety’s “The Recovery Issue,” published on Tuesday, November 5. “I never did it when I worked. I never took drugs before 5 p.m. I never, ever took painkillers at 10 in the morning. It was that sort of late afternoon and early evening — I like to refer to it as the warm-bath feeling of an opiate. … I chased that feeling for a long time.
Curtis explained that she started taking Vicodin in her late 20s after undergoing “routine plastic surgery to remove the puffiness” under her eyes. Addiction ran in her family; her brother Nicholas died from a heroin overdose at age 21 in 1994, and she told Variety she “did cocaine and freebased once with my dad.”
At the time, no one knew that Curtis became addicted to the pills she had been prescribed after her surgery. However, in late 1998, a friend caught the Halloween star taking five Vicodin at once and washing them down with a swig of wine while making dinner at home.
“I heard this voice: ‘You know, Jamie, I see you. I see you with your little pills, and you think you’re so fabulous and so great, but the truth is you’re dead. You’re a dead woman,’” Curtis recalled. “The jig was up. Now I knew someone knew. I had been nursing a secret Vicodin addiction for a very long time — over 10 years.”
A few weeks later, the Golden Globe winner snuck into her sister Kelly’s room and stole more Vicodin from Kelly’s suitcase. She felt guilty for doing so, and wrote Kelly a letter that read, “I’ve done a terrible thing, and I’ve stolen your pills from you, and I’m sorry.”
Curtis attended her first recovery meeting in 1999 after reading an Esquire article titled “Vicodin, My Vicodin,” which made her realize for the first time that she was not alone in her addiction to the painkiller.
“I was terrified [of being recognized]. I was just terrified that someone in the recovery community was going to betray my trust,” she told Variety. “But it is my experience that that doesn’t really happen and that my fear was unfounded.”
The True Lies star leaned on her husband, Christopher Guest, and their children, Annie and Thomas, for support. She has been clean ever since, describing her current self as a “very careful sober person.”
“I bring sobriety with me. I have attended recovery meetings all over this world,” she told the magazine. “I was probably about nine months sober when I made Freaky Friday [in 2002]. I put a big sign up by the catering truck, and it said, ‘Recovery meeting in Jamie’s trailer every day.’ I left the door open and didn’t know if anybody would show up. We ended up calling it the Mobile Home Recovery Meeting. It was probably my favorite grouping of sobriety that I’ve ever participated in.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
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