Eliza Dushku Opens Up On Former Drug Addiction
Actress Eliza Dushku gave a frank discussion to middle and high school students about her history of substance abuse, hoping to steer them away from a similar path.
The Banshee and Buffy the Vampire Slayer star spoke to 8,000 students at the Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness in Manchester, N.H. Dushku revealed the personal toll alcohol and drugs took on her and her family, including a period in which her family banned the actress from seeing her niece.
“Something a lot of people don’t know about me is that I am an alcoholic and I was a drug addict for a lot of years,” said Dushku. “You hear people say ‘I am that’ because I am that, and I’m always going to be that, but the difference between me and an alcoholic or drug addict that still drinks and does drugs is that I am sober.”
Dushku began using drugs at the age of 14, and like many addicts, found the experience initially positive, especially in regard to her emotions. “I loved the first time I took a drug because I loved how it made me feel. I loved the way it made me not feel, and I didn’t have to feel,” she shared. “It was fun and I loved it, until it wasn’t.”
Dushku’s drug and alcohol use soon spiraled out of control. “I’m a good person, but when I did drugs and I drank, I didn’t make good decisions,” she said. “Drugs didn’t love me. They didn’t love my family. They definitely didn’t love my friends that died. I have a lot of friends that are dead.”
Eventually, Dushku’s family informed her that she would not be allowed to visit her beloved niece, Sofia, who was a toddler at the time. The ultimatum gave Dushku the impetus she needed to seek sobriety. “I got sober at first for my family, because I had gotten to a point where I felt so sick about myself,” she recalled. “I didn’t like myself but I love my family.”
Dushku has been sober since 2008, and in addition to her acting career, has returned to college at the age of 36. Her path to this point in life has been a challenging one, but as she told her audience at the summit, “Today, I’m sober for me, and I’m sober for you. Drugs and alcohol are powerful, but we are more powerful.”