Alec Baldwin may be a star today, but many people are unaware of his previous struggles with drugs and alcohol. While promoting his memoir, Nevertheless, the actor spoke candidly about cleaning up his life after these battles.“I know that at that time, what I describe — overdosing on drugs — which I’ve kept very private for years and years,” Baldwin said.
Alec Baldwin’s Sobriety
The Beetlejuice and Hunt for Red October actor actually traces his sobriety to well before those hits occured. According to Baldwin, he stopped drinking on February 23, 1985. “I got sober when I was just about to turn 27,” the actor said. A support group helped Baldwin find his way towards sobriety. In his book he writes, “God got me sober. That day, God was a black, 65-year-old retired postal worker named Lenny.” Going further on the man who helped him get away from the addictions, Baldwin continues, “Lenny said, ‘You never have to feel this way again if you don’t want to.”
Working on the series Knots Landing proved to be both a career stepping stone and a further step towards serious damage. “Those two years that I lived in that white, hot period, as a daily drug abuser, as a daily drinker … to my misery, boy, that was a tough time … there was really, really a lot of pain in there, a lot of pain.” Baldwin said during a conversation with ABC News.
For 41 episodes, the actor portrayed Joshua Rush on the long-running soap opera. The run from 1984 to 1985 not only put Baldwin on TV screens but gave him a chance to show off for others in the industry. It also set him up for appearances just two years later in several popular projects, including Married to the Mob and Working Girl.
When asked about the prospects of quitting, Baldwin reflected, “I think I would’ve got it eventually, but, I’m glad I got it when I did ’cause not many people get sober when they’re young.”
Alec Baldwin’s Substance Abuse
Before coming forward in his own memoir, Baldwin made an appearance in Christopher Kennedy Lawford’s book on substance abuse, Moments of Clarity. In an excerpt from the book acquired by Gawker, it was more than just drugs and alcohol; the addictive tendencies for Baldwin even extended into video games.
“I would play video games from, like, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and I would wind down. Then I’d go home and go to bed,” Baldwin writes.
“This was the only way I could go ‘beta’ and go into that state I needed to be, where I could calm down and take my mind off everything. I didn’t want to see anybody, talk to anybody, deal with anybody.”
A “moment of clarity” came when he saw pity in the face of Julian, the person who ran the parlor.
“I was doing a show then [Knots Landing], making tens of thousands of dollars a week, which was part of the problem,” he writes.
“Julian would put the key in the lock and open the door, and he would just kind of look at me like, ‘Wow, I’m glad I’m not you.’ “
Baldwin agreed. “You got no idea, Julian. Julian, I need you. I need you to get that key and open the f- – -ing door and let me in. I got to play ‘Galaga.’
Now, as host of the popular series Match Game, Baldwin comes in contact with alcohol on a regular basis; this time, he is not the one partaking. When asked which celebrities on the show drink the most in an Los Angeles Times article, the actor said, “It’s a tie — there are six or seven of them who really just enjoy themselves. There is a bar there. There are some friends there. There are some comedy peers. Everybody’s loose and wants to have a good time. And the next thing you know they’ve had three or four cocktails and have to go out and do a TV show. There are a couple of them who have been extremely happy at the start of a show.”
Family Struggles with Addiction
Baldwin is not the only member of his family to struggle with addictions. Whether directly or indirectly, his brothers have all been touched by the issue. Daniel Baldwin had his fair share of bad publicity due to drug addiction—most notably a bizarre incident at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. After nine attempts at rehab, the actor finally found a program that worked. Stephen Baldwin experienced his own public battle with cocaine addiction that even influenced his daughter’s relationships with high profile celebrities. Not an addict himself, William “Billy” Baldwin found his experiences came from dealing not only with his brothers but a wife who was recovering from substance abuse issues. In a discussion with EHN Canada, the actor said of his family, “Half my family is in A.A., so, yeah, everybody talks about their addiction and personal family issues in the anonymity of an A.A. meeting, but never on a public stage.”