“To call yourself an alcoholic or a drug addict is a badge of honor,” the actress says. Jamie Lee Curtis is one of Hollywood’s most well-known actresses, but for years she kept her struggle with opioid use a secret. In this brief but extremely candid interview with Variety, she describes her journey from heavy use to recovery, and the turning points that she credits with saving her life.
Speak of Jamie Lee Curtis, and the image of a strong woman pitted against a monstrous, masked killer inevitably haunts the discussion. The actress has made a career of fighting the bad guys, from lunatics with knives to billionaires animal abusers. But even when her career was going gangbusters—more than ever at such times, in fact—a real battle with the powerful opioid Vicodin was going on behind the scenes. Year by year, her use of the drug was increasing, although Curtis believed that she was hiding her use flawlessly.
Mercifully, she found both the strength and the support to change direction. “I had a moment of clarity that saved my life,” she says, after a friend passed her the name of a doctor who would hand out pills. “In that moment I understood that it was going to kill me.”
It was one of several key turning points for Curtis. But it never got easy. “I was terrified” of all aspects of treatment, she admits. But her problematic use of the drug stopped early in the treatment process and has not resumed.
What will never stop, she emphasizes, is the work. “I’m in recovery, but I’m not recovered and never will be.” Yet it’s impossible to overlook the satisfaction Curtis feels about her decision to go public. Naming your illness out loud, she says, is a badge of honor. “It is the secret shame that keeps people locked up in their disease.”
Image Courtesy of Variety Magazine