Growing up as a movie star in the 80’s was no easy feat. There were no rules, no boundaries. The people surrounding me acted like they were going to live forever. But that was probably due to all the cocaine that flowed in on the daily breeze. Sure, from the outside everything looked like a lot of fun.And I won’t lie, it certainly was a lot of fun. But after a certain point the fun stopped and an ugly world took its place. Addictions to coke began to take hold on pretty much everyone I knew. Very successful people in the industry, who had the world in the palm of their hands, now had a coke addiction in the core of their beings. No one knew it would happen. It always started out innocently enough. Just try a little at someone’s house and have a good time. Pretty soon meetings would be fueled by cocaine. Everyone thought that they were immune or not doing coke enough to become addicted. They told themselves that one hit in the morning to get going was normal and o.k. Maybe have another one because lunch was skipped. And maybe a few in between meetings. But before anyone knew, it would be evening, and that’s the time to party so… And in the 80’s it basically was normal, but never o.k.
Seeing coke addictions around me became more and more frequent. Everyone I knew, including my parents, were going nuts on the white stuff. Here I am, living the dream. The life that everyone envies. The life of a star… surrounded by a nightmare.
Cocaine addictions, and by that I mean real life coke addictions, are not in any way shape or form pretty. In fact they are downright ugly. I watched my own father, who was a big time producer, go from a successful and happy mogul to a depressed, maniacal, and nearly homeless coke fiend. He was young and good looking. His cocaine addiction quickly thinned him out and made him look aweful. After a couple straight years of hard usage, he began losing big movie deals that eventually cost him and us, his family, everything we had. His losses drove him even harder into his addiction to coke and drove the rest of us out of a home. Not to mention the spotlight.
Luckily my father had real friends who cared about him. One of his old buddies who he grew up with, who happened to be a house painter, convinced my parents to go on a little “vacation” with him to Florida. Meanwhile I stayed with my grandmother in Chicago. They came back six months later, fresh out of rehab, looking healthy and renewed. My dad secured a new movie deal right off the bat and we were back on track.
I learned early in life that cocaine is not something to be messing with. Addictions to cocaine come on subtly and strong and don’t let go of you without a fight. My family must endure a lot of pressure from many different sources. And now that coke is thankfully out of the picture, we are able to handle the pressure with more ease. Now that I’ve grown up and stepped into my father’s professional shoes, he’s been able to take time off a little more often. I look at him with sad admiration as I see a man who got old and torn down before his time, but won a hard battle that others we know have fought and lost.