Melanie Griffith’s Battle with Addiction

Melanie Griffith’s Battle with Addiction

Melanie Griffith, back in rehab for the third time since 1988, knows the challenges of getting and staying sober all too well. People Magazine’s Eunice Oh writes that her third stint marks what has been an on-again, off-again battle with addiction for the past three decades.

Admitting her “addictive personality,” Griffith once told the Australian magazine New Idea that she was lucky to be alive. “I was never as bad as some people I knew, shooting heroin and stuff. But I did do a lot of drinking and cocaine. I thought I was just having a good time,” she said.

Her problems first got out of control at age 18, when she was "living in a real wild ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’ lifestyle" with actor Don Johnson, whom she first married and divorced in 1976 (they later remarried). "I wasn’t very concerned about my future," she told Parade in August 2000.

Five years later, she married actor Steven Bauer, and admitted turning to alcohol after they divorced in 1985. When she showed up to the set of Working Girl in 1988 drunk, director Mike Nichols pulled her aside. Three weeks later, she entered the Hazelden Foundation, a rehab center in Minnesota.

In 1994, she told Vanity Fair that she was never loved unconditionally. “Coke, booze give you a feeling, a physical sensation…a buzz inside your body that takes the place of something you should have had when you were a child.” She also admitted that when she was 10 she would drink wine like it was soda. “I was medicating myself so I could escape my pain and insecurities.”

Johnson helped her get sober when they reconnected in 1989 during her stay at Hazelden. He had been sober for five years and told Griffith he would support her. Almost a decade later, when Griffith checked into another facility in 2000, husband Antonio Banderas was by her side. In 2002, the couple told Diane Sawyer that they fought while she struggled with painkiller addiction, which stemmed from a neck injury.

For now, Griffith’s latest trip back to rehab will be an uphill climb, according to addiction specialist Dr. David Sack, CEO of Promises Treatment Centers. “What’s true for anyone who’s been in recovery for a while, sometimes they take their situation for granted,” said Dr. Sack, who is not treating Griffith.

“When you have been doing well, it’s easy to minimize and you forget. You don’t want to believe you are still vulnerable,” he said. “It requires strategy.”

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