The “Halloween” star, 60, called herself a “controlled drug addict and alcoholic” in Variety‘s “The Recovery Issue.”
“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 detailed how her addiction to painkillers began in her 20s after she was prescribed Vicodin post-cosmetic surgery “to remove the puffiness” under her eyes. And it wasn’t until a friend caught her taking five pills with wine that she realized the damage of her actions.
“The jig was up,” Curtis described. “Now I knew someone knew. I had been nursing a secret Vicodin addiction for a very long time — over 10 years.”
One rock bottom moment came when Curtis stole Vicodin from her sister in the winter of 1999 and admitted it later in a note. “When I came home that night, I was terrified that she was going to be so angry at me, but she just looked at me and put her arms out and hugged me and said, ‘You are an addict and I love you, but I am not going to watch you die.’”
Curtis attended her first recovery meeting in February 1999, after reading Tom Chiarella’s essay “Vicodin, My Vicodin” in Esquire magazine and has been sober ever since although she was weary of the process in the beginning.
“I was terrified [of being recognized]. I was just terrified that someone in the recovery community was going to betray my trust,” Curtis confessed. “But it is my experience that that doesn’t really happen and that my fear was unfounded.”
But the actress has been committed to maintaining sober even though her job takes her all over the world.
“I bring sobriety with me,” she explained. “I have attended recovery meetings all over this world.”
“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.”
Curtis added she’s “very careful” and aware of her surroundings. When staying in hotels she asks them to remove the minibar and when she was filming a movie in Panama, she attended meetings that were completely in Spanish — even though she couldn’t understand a word.
“I went and sat down and met people, shook hands,” she said.