Actor Gary Oldman is happy for the first time in years. He has a 7-month-old son, a devoted wife (his third) and — at last — sobriety.
“That’s the biggest, hardest thing to do,” he shakes his head, tapping his finger on the table top, “the hardest thing I’ve ever done — more than anything.”
No one came to his rescue, he says. “It’s you and God, basically.”
Oldman says, “Some bottoms are high, some are low. Sometimes people have to go to the gutter, lose everything before they can turn around and say, `I have a problem.’
“Others don’t have to go that far. I found one of the things that was sort of a curse was that I could do this job drunk, on a good day, a lot better than other people do it sober.”
That’s true. People who’ve worked with Oldman say he’s simply a genius. But genius isn’t enough when you’ve lost your passion for the work and life.
Oldman always managed his job, even when he was blotto. “You ask any director who’s ever worked with me and I’d bet a lot of money he’d say he’d work with me again. I turn up, I’m always on time, I know the lines.”
Still, he admits he had a tough time on “Scarlet Letter.” “I’ve never been shy of coming forward about that. But for someone who was falling down (drunk). . . . I don’t remember MAKING `Scarlet Letter,’ to be honest with you. I know I did it ’cause I’m in it. But I was living every day in Nova Scotia, up there in the middle of nowhere. You had a bad time for 90 minutes,” he laughs.
One of the things that helped revive his spirits was the autobiographical movie he wrote and directed, “Nil by Mouth.”
And though he was able to face that raw look at his own life through directing, acting is another thing.
It’s been a while since I have written, and that ‘gap’ coincides almost directly with my decision to become more involved in AA. I began to wonder if this blog was an extension of my ‘ego’.
How many hits did I get today? How many comments? Who is visiting from which countries? That’s all a bit ‘me, me , me’ and not the reason I started this blog.
And so with that in mind over the last month or so I’ve walked away from this blog and AA, to think about my future and my recovery plan.
Talking of which, then does recovery end? Some say never. I guess it’s the same discussion as once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. I used to believe that yes, I was an alcoholic and it’s just “a condition” I have to live with, to manage through abstinence. And that meant that I would forever be ‘in recovery’. Now I am no longer convinced.
I have arrived at a new crossroad in my life and I’m about to start in a new job, move to a new country and basically begin a new life. Do I arrive in this new life as a recovering alcoholic; or do I arrive as someone who just doesn’t drink.
Before I decide whether to close this chapter or continue it, I will hopefully be contributing to an article for AfterPartyMagazine via a questionnaire. It’s surprisingly hard to write answers to questions like:
- What do you hate about being an alcoholic?
- What do you love about being an alcoholic?
But if it helps one person then I see it as worth the heartache and soul-searching and reliving the past, to write down and share My Road to Abstinence.