Monthly Archives: May 2014
Colin Farrell has been sober since 2006 and i was surprised to see he and i have something in common other than our devilishly good looks and top model sex life. We were both binge drinkers and both love sobriety unabashedly.
Note: i have not censored his responses and he loves using the ‘F’ word, so if this offends you, you may want to move on.
What It Was Like
I had a predisposition for certain addictions. I was addicted to Rice Krispies when I was seven. And I’m not even fucking joking with you. Ask my mother.
It was already in me. My family were trying to get me into rehab. And I’d get angry with them and say, “Go get the men in the white coats and see if I don’t stab ’em to death.”
Desperation will allow you to do incredible things in the name of survival…I had created an environment for myself, a way of living for myself which, on the outside, seemed incredibly gregarious and vivacious.
When I had James [his son], I made a decision not to change. I literally said, “I’m not changing! I’m gonna be his friend!” Like a fucking 28-year-old drug-addicted drunk friend is exactly what my 6-week-old son needs.
I used to go bananas for five months then take the foot off the gas for two months and clean up a bit. I was sad. I was drinking loads. When I ever drank with my mates, we’d go to a pub on Wednesday night and have six pints, everyone would go home. I’d get a bag of powder, four joints and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and drank until five in the morning.
I could easily go through a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label. I always had a massive constitution. It’s a genetic thing. I could polish off two, but then I’d be in bad shape. I loved it a lot of the time, but in the end it proved to be a charade and a delusion. I always ended up facing loneliness again. And therein is my life.
I don’t believe I have any chemical predisposition towards depression, but let’s just call it…I was suffering from a spiritual malady for years and I indulged it. You can feel very alive when you’re in pain.
I gravitated to the romantic notion that if one was pursuing the endeavour of art, one couldn’t do anything better than create a world of darkness and shadow. A bit of pain.
I wouldn’t have been able to maintain my life. The inside of rehab was a must-see for me at that stage. I was in a bad place. I’m sure I was becoming somewhat unhireable.
Obviously I’m not a doctor but you don’t have to have a degree in medicine to know when your body’s shutting down. I genuinely didn’t think I had much longer. I’d reached the point where the only voices that had any clarity in the room were the voices of destruction and obliteration.
I’d begun to feel my body break down and weaken in a fairly aggressive way. I felt ill all over. I’d stay in bed for two days at a time; I was really pushing it. It was a very profound chapter in my life, a very aggressive one, and it’s one I’ve now put behind me.
The last year I was drinking, a lot of people turned up in my life who’d gone through rehab. They exposed me to an alternative way of living just before I was ready to engage in it myself. Also, we’d just celebrated my son Jimmy’s second birthday, and I think I just decided to live.
For the first time ever, I lost the ability to be confident that I could make a change myself. I knew I was fucked.
It was great fun – until it stopped being fun. The simplest way to put it is that I started drinking on my own aged 14, then there were several years when I was drinking with a load of people, and at the end I was in a hotel room drinking on my own.
I was terrified [of being sober] because, I’m not saying I was a great actor before or a great actor since, but I was terrified that whatever my capacity was as an actor beforehand, however little or large — it would completely disappear.
For people who drink too much, the problem isn’t really about booze. It’s about an inability to deal with life. I don’t want to get into an armchair analysis, but what giving up booze does is allow you to look at yourself through an untainted mirror for the first time.
I [subscribed] to the notion that to be able to express yourself in an artistic form in life, you have to live in perpetual pain, and it’s nonsense. There’s enough pain in the world.
[I had] a good old session in rehab. A few tears and a couple of hugs with strangers.
What It’s Like Now
When I got sober, it was the right time for me to get sober. I could have done it earlier, for sure, and I would have saved a lot of money and a good deal of heartbreak, but I’m lucky enough to have made it anyway and I’m grateful for that. So better late than ever.
Quitting booze was hard initially. Drinking was all I had known in my adult life. One day you’re living a certain way and then suddenly the next day that whole system you’ve built around yourself is completely gone. But it gets easier over time; you get used to not having that crutch.
All the madness and all the chaos and all the people around me got so tiring after a while that I had to find another way, and while I don’t live a monk-like existence, I have a new appreciation for solitude that would have terrified me years ago. And I’m glad the madness is over. It was interesting to experience, but I’m glad it’s passed.
Honestly, I’ve got eight hours a day now that I didn’t have before, when I was drinking every day for 18 years.
I remember being asked by somebody in America, “Do you think it’s harder for celebrities to get sober than normal people?” And I was just like, are you joking? I didn’t come out unemployed, hadn’t lost my family, my home, had all my teeth in my head. Could I have had it any easier?
I don’t take it for granted and I don’t undermine how difficult my journey to getting sober was, but now I’m in a really different life and I don’t miss it. I’m very lucky in that respect because I know people who have had a longer period of sobriety than me and they still miss it every day and it’s a struggle for them.
Seven years sober. I’m really grateful. It’s really lovely to be present in my life.
Anytime I have a shit mood, now it’s some aspect of me that is present and is feeling whatever I’m feeling, and the same counts if I’m giddy or jocular. It’s honest, it’s real. That’s quite simply the coolest thing. Everything is real now.
When I was living a different way, I was probably profoundly bored. I had moments of elation. Now I never get fucking bored. I get excited about room service menus! I really do. Even though the french fries are soggy as fuckk and I still haven’t figured out an exact way to open up that Heinz mini jar — sometimes it’s my nails, sometimes it’s my teeth. I’m just grateful that I’m actually alive, to be honest.
I’ve never seen a moon in the sky that, if it didn’t take my breath away, at least misplaced it for a moment.
i think it’s cute how, at 0:18 into the video, he says “I went to AA” then changes it to “somewhere” for anonymity’s sake.
Sources for the quotes:
- The Telegraph
- The Telegraph (a different interview)
- OK Magazine
- Celebrity Yahoo
- E Online
- Daily Mail
- Irish Mirror
- Contact Music
The theme of my AA home group meeting is “Adventures in Sobriety”. Initially, i was kind of uncomfortable with this topic because i was afraid the meetings would only remind me of how my once adventurous drinking life had devolved into a tepid pool of boredom.
Speaking at the meeting the other night, however, i realized this is a pile of Schlitz. i did not have many adventures when i was drinking, i had drama. Getting in a drunk driving accident, receiving an eviction notice and attempting suicide are not adventures to be relished, they are enormous screw ups in my rearview mirror that are getting smaller all the time. Good riddance!
On the other hand, exploring my city, writing daily, trying things i’ve never done before (cooking, education, journalism…), remembering my vacations… these are the true adventures of my life, and they’ve only just begun.