Eliza Dushku opened up about her secret battle with alcoholism and drug addiction while speaking at the New Hampshire Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, March 7. Watch a clip above!
“Something a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’m an alcoholic and I was a drug addict for a lot of years,” the Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum, 36, told thousands of students during her speech. “I’m always going to be that, but the difference between me and an alcoholic or a drug addict that still drinks and does drugs is that I’m sober. I don’t drink and I don’t do drugs anymore.”
Dushku revealed that she’s been sober for eight-and-a-half years and that she first dabbled with marijuana at the age of 14. “I loved the first time I took a drug because I loved the way it made me feel. I loved the way it made me not feel — I didn’t have to feel,” she explained. “It was fun — and I loved it — until it wasn’t. Drugs didn’t love me. They didn’t love my family. They definitely didn’t love my friends that died.”
While the Bring It On actress admitted that she still dances on tabletops and has “such amazing times” connecting with people, she is committed to staying sober for both herself and her family. “I was depressed. I didn’t like myself, but I love my family,” she said, recalling the moment she decided to get clean.
“I remember my brother telling me he didn’t want me to be around my niece because he didn’t trust me,” Dushku recounted. “I’m a really good auntie today. But you know what? He was right. I’m a good person, but when I did drugs and I drank, I didn’t make good decisions.… All it takes is one bad decision. You don’t have to live like that.”
The True Lies actress concluded her speech by telling the students that, now that she’s sober, she’s able to fulfill her lifelong dreams, including attending college for the first time. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Suffolk University in Boston, according to Boston magazine.
“If you’re in trouble, all you have to do is say, ‘I need help,'” Dushku, who most recently starred in the 2016 TV movie The Saint, said on Tuesday. “I’m a real badass and tough girl. It was the hardest thing in the world for me to ask for help and it was the most powerful thing I’ve ever done.”
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