Edie Falco Just Shared the Jarring Moment That Made Her Get Sober
Edie Falco is opening up about the moment that made her get sober. The actor, now 58, told The Guardian that she drank alcohol heavily for years. Then one morning when she was 29, she woke up after a night of drinking and realized she’d left the front door to her home open. After that, she knew she couldn’t drink anymore.
The Impeachment: American Crime Story star said she first discovered drinking as a way to overcome her intense shyness. “I was a non-drinker for years, then I had my first drink at college and I found nirvana,” she explained. “It was the answer to all my problems, and the cause of all my other problems.”
She also said alcohol was her primary substance, but not because she wasn’t interested in others: “Only because I didn’t have any money. I was a big fan of cocaine if it was around, but I could never afford any, and marijuana just gave me anxiety.”
Her dependence on alcohol extended itself into multiple realms of her life. For instance, she tried to convince herself she was better at her job when hungover. She also evaluated her romantic partners based on their drinking habits. “I’d wait to hear how quickly they’d mention alcohol, and that’s how I knew they were the next guy,” she explained.
In the interview, Falco also meditated on the fact that one of her best-known roles is as the main character in the comedy series Nurse Jackie. That character is addicted (to prescription drugs, specifically). Falco says she wasn’t involved in the decision for Jackie to have a substance use disorder. “That stuff’s way too close to me, and I had a hard time with the idea of a comedy about addiction,” she said. But—potential spoiler to follow—she did voice her opinion about how the show would end, she said: “I said to them, ‘If the last season isn’t about her going to meetings and getting help, she has to be dead at the end, so people know what it’s like.’”
That echoes what she told NPR in 2014 about why she was drawn to characters like Nurse Jackie. “The addiction piece, I have to say, is a huge part of my life. Not just my own, but that of many people I love. The helplessness around that, and learning to deal with that, and all the various 12-step programs I’ve been a part of over the years, and how much they’ve helped me, and how hard it is to love somebody who is going through that and remain distant enough to not let it crush you each time,” she said at the time. “All that stuff is of tremendous interest to me.”
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