Jamie Lee Curtis is on top of the world right now. Her new sequel to Halloween has made all the money in the world—and it’s getting good reviews, too.
But she revealed that her single biggest accomplishment has nothing to do with acting. Instead, she’s proudest of getting sober after 10 years of addiction to opiods.
In 1989, Jamie Lee was prescribed painkillers after a routine plastic surgery operation to reduce puffiness around her eyes. She was 31 years old at the time and had recently starred in the cult classic comedy A Fish Called Wanda. Little did she know that it was the first step on a downward spiral.
“I had a 10-year run, stealing, conniving. No one knew. No one,” she confessed to People.
Runs in the Family
Her family is no stranger to addiction and heartbreak. Her father—legendary actor Tony Curtis—struggled with addition to alcohol, cocaine, and heroin. Her half-brother, Nicholas Curtis, passed away of a heroin overdose in 1994.
“I’m breaking the cycle that has basically destroyed the lives of generations in my family,” Jamie Lee said in her magazine interview. “Getting sober remains my single greatest accomplishment… bigger than my husband, bigger than both of my children and bigger than any work, success, failure. Anything.”
The Turning Point
In 1999, Jamie Lee finally confessed her secret shame. She had stolen pills from her sister, Kelly, and knew that she’d be caught. Kelly was supportive—but “she was unwilling to watch me kill myself,” Jamie Lee said.
She started attending recovery meetings, and she hasn’t stopped since. Jamie Lee joked that when someone brings up painkiller addiction in a meeting, everyone turns to her because she’s the “opiate girl.”
Removing the Stigma
The actress believes that shame is one of the biggest roadblocks on the way to recovery. “The shame involved with it is tremendous. I have worked very hard to remove the shame of it and just acknowledge I’m human,” she said. “What makes recovery so special is that it’s one addict or alcoholic talking to another. It’s really about letting go of the secret in a safe way and then finding treatment programs that work for you.”