Jamie Lee Curtis was about the only person Michael Myers didn’t kill in Halloween (no, not the Austin Powers Mike Myers – the psychopath Michael Myers).
As an ambitious call girl in Trading Places she schemed to relieve fraudsters of their ill-gotten gains.
She reminded Kevin Kline that “to call you stupid is an insult to stupid people” in the superb A Fish Called Wanda.
Then True Lies, Freaky Friday and on and on.
A class act.
Curtis has established herself as intelligent actor with impeccable comic timing. Being married to the highly amusing Christopher Guest (Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show) means her life is not lacking in humor.
However fighting off that pest Michael Myers was a breeze compared to overcoming a lengthy battle with painkillers and alcohol.
She was the classic functioning addict and was therefore able to keep her binges hidden for the most part.
It started when she was given the painkiller Vicodin to help recover from plastic surgery she had done to relieve eye puffiness.
Vicodin provided a warm, opiate-like effect that Curtis became hooked on.
When her 40th birthday rolled around she was washing down five pills with generous amounts of alcohol.
By this stage Curtis had been dependent on the painkiller/alcohol diet for over ten years.
However her life was seemingly flourishing.
“I was in a good stable marriage, I was writing best-seller books for children, I was getting more and more work.”
All while heavily medicating herself. “I got more as my addiction got worse, not less,” Curtis revealed.
Despite the accolades and adulation Curtis couldn’t ignore the voice in her head, wondering if and when she could stop.
She realized it could only lead down one path. Her father Tony Curtis had battled with drug and alcohol addictions for much of his adult life.
“I was sick,” she says, “But I was fabulous – because no-one knows. You can hide it, especially in the show off business.”
She realized she wasn’t hiding as well as she thought one evening near Christmas when a friend confronted her.
“I was washing down some Vicodin with white wine – getting ready for evening time – you know, kids, school, Christmas wrapping and dinner.”
However her friend was watching and decided to share a few choice words.
She came up to me and said “I see you Jamie with your pills, you think you’re fantastic but you’re not. You know – you’re going to die.”
Er…thanks. Harsh honesty only a good friend can deliver.
Curtis finally decided enough was enough after reading a brutally frank article in Esquire magazine by a seasoned Vicodin user.
“Vicodin, My Vicodin” by the writer Tom Chiarella was the breakthrough for Curtis as she realized it wasn’t just her problem.
A major step for anyone looking to break an addiction.
The next crucial step was actually wanting to. “Nobody is ready until they’re ready” she says.
She wanted to.
Curtis sucked it up and went to her first recovery session. Awkward at first and difficult telling her family
Especially difficult deciding to jump on the sobriety train in an industry renowned for indulgence.
However Curtis has embraced “the beautiful aspects of development as a human being” which was never possible living in the fog of substance dependence.
Since becoming sober Curtis has been rejuvenated.
She has scaled back her film career in order to focus more on her two children but has remained busy.
This included blogging for Huffington Post, starring in TV series, working on numerous charities and writing children’s books.
The new-found energy also gave Jamie Lee Curtis a new perspective on her health. Not only did she quickly feel better but she started taking more of an interest in her general health.
Eating better, moving, exercising.
Most importantly is being able to give all of herself to her family, her best self. Not a bubbly, doting and dependable but high mother. A mother there in every moment.
She’s embraced ageing and has no hang ups about body image. Simply being healthy is enough.
As she acknowledges getting sober to be her greatest accomplishment she welcomes the future with open arms.
When she hits 70 she wants to be “vital, strong, very physical, very agile.”
Mike Myers never stood a chance.