Melissa Gilbert Now Says No to Drugs

Melissa Gilbert wants you to know all about her troubled past. Instead of shoving it under the rug or locking it in the closet, Gilbert is sharing her story with the world because she hopes her Hollywood tale can save millions of lives. An edited version of our interview with her follows

by Ilyssa Panitz • More.com Celebrity Reporter
melissa gilbert image
Photograph: Kristen Blush

More: What’s on the list?
MG: He asked me if I ever smoked marijuana. I said yes but it made me vomit. Then he asked, “Did you ever try cocaine?” I replied, “Yes, I did,” to which he screamed, “Mother, you are so dumb!” I was a dumb teenager, I admit it. But I also asked him to ask me how many friends I had that died from drugs. I told him I had three close personal friends, plus another 10 others who lost their lives to drugs.

More: What goes through your mind when you see the young Hollywood stars of today getting busted for drugs and DUI?
MG: Let me begin by saying I am always one martini away from a full-blown relapse. I never consider myself to be recovered, and I am always trying to recover. This is nothing different today from what I was exposed to years ago. The only big difference is there is less privacy, given the explosion of the Internet, cell phones and video cameras inside the cell phones.  
   
More: What keeps you going so you don’t make that wrong turn?
MG: I do a lot of praying. However, sometimes it is all about the carbohydrates. I confess French fries or mac and cheese make it all better.

More: Who inspires you?
MG: Robert Downey Jr. is a hero of mine. His story is so extraordinary. I love hearing what he has been through and seeing how he came out the other end. He reinvented himself and is flourishing in his career, his marriage and as the father of a new baby. What makes him even more special is he always says how appreciative he is and how blessed he feels.

More: A big theme here at Moreis reinvention. How did Melissa Gilbert reinvent herself?
MG: I want to inspire others, and I hope by paying it forward I can change someone else’s life for the better.

More: You also recently filed for divorce. How are you doing?
MG: I just moved, too. I have been through the big three all in one year: divorce, death and moving. They all happened around the same time.  

More: Are you starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel?
MG: I just had a meltdown last week. I didn’t want to get out of my pajamas or unpack another box or wash more dishes. I wanted to sit on the couch and watch some of the Lifetime movies that I am not in, eat mac and cheese and cry. I even watched The Green Mile because I knew it would make me cry.

More: Why did you want to cry, given these huge obstacles you recently overcame?
MG: I have been the cheerleader for everyone else. I never experienced the stage of grief, and I needed to do that. Those are the things I needed to do to keep me sober.  

More: If you could leave us with one piece of advice, what would you say?
MG: If I can do it, anyone can do it!

More: You are teaming up with DrugFree.org. Tell me why you felt compelled to get involved.
Melissa Gilbert: I have been their spokesperson for almost two years, and in addition to that, I continue to be sober! Aside from that, I am a mom to four children and have watched a couple of my kids go through their own tough times, so I think I know a thing or two about addiction.

More: Explain your role.
MG: I am now promoting the organization’s newest initiative, called The Medicine Abuse Project. The goal of this project is to keep half a million children here in the United States from trying prescription medicine over the next five years.

More: Kids reaching into their parents’ medicine cabinet seems to be the latest trend.
MG: One in six, to be exact, between the ages of 12 and 13 has died from abusing prescription medicine. I mean, more people are dying from drug overdoses than from car crashes. 

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