“I think there’s a huge misconception that if a doctor gives you a pill it’s okay to take it and if the doctor says you have to take it for the rest of your life that that’s okay too. I think people are getting cheated out of a really, really wonderful experience on this planet by taking drugs.”
Those are the words of award winning actress and recovering addict Melanie Griffith.
By now you are familiar with her background. The daughter of Alfred Hitchcock muse Tippi Hedren, child bride of Don Johnson, baby-doll voiced star of “Working Girl”, wife to Antonio Banderas, and mother of 4. Her struggle with addiction has shadowed all of that. Alcohol and drugs, illegal, and prescription. Griffith, who turns 57 in August, is in Atlanta to speak at the largest prescription drug abuse conference in the country. In our conversation today she half-joked that she’d “taken enough drugs to know” how wonderful a drug free life can feel. She describes her recovery from decades of substance abuse as being released from prison. Her impossibly girlish tone belies the very serious demons she has tackled. She shared with me that five years ago, her oldest daughter Dakota Johnson and youngest daughter Stella Banderas came to her during one of her dark days and said “Mom, we’re afraid you’re going to die.” It was that moment Griffith began her recovery. She candidly told me while choking back tears:
“My family, my kids especially who are 17, 24, 28, and 31 are proud of me today, you know? It was not that way five years ago.”
Griffith said coming to terms with her addictive personality and facing a sort of unknown fear she felt saddled with were integral parts of sobering up. And that having spent her life acting like someone else for a living it was time to be herself saying:
“I think the biggest problem with addicts and taking drugs is that you don’t know yourself, you don’t love yourself. And I don’t think any kind of pill or drug or alcohol can help you do that.”
I admire Griffith for exposing her weaknesses in order to grow stronger and help strenghten others. To insist that if people are going to feed off the low points of her life then they must pull up a chair at the table of celebration for the high ones.
L to R – Dakota Johnson, Tippi Hedren, Melanie Griffith, Stella Banderas
To watch my entire interview with Melanie Griffith – click here