“Curly Sue” Star Shares Her Moving Story of Addiction
If you were a child of the early ’90s, you were probably obsessed with Alisan Porter, star of the 1991 film Curly Sue. She was funny, sharp and not afraid to speak her mind. Now, 23 years later, Porter has grown up considerably, faced her share of struggles, but remains a brave (and funny) female who doesn’t shy from the truth. On Thursday, she proved that in a moving essay on Lil’ Mamas blog chronicling her battle with addiction, and her ultimate recovery.
“Hi, I’m Ali, and I’m an alcoholic,” she said in a blog post. “Yup, bet you didn’t see that one coming. Or, because you know that I’m a former child star, you totally did. Anyway, it’s the truth. I’ve been sober since October 28th, 2007 and I haven’t touched a drink or drug since.”
For Porter, temptation came in many forms (“snort, pill, smoke, drink, even SHOP”), but she also describes her addictions as a manifestation of deeper demons. “You see, so many people can’t see past the word “ALCOHOLIC,” she writes. “They can never understand that it’s not even really about a drink or a drug. In fact, it’s really not about substance at all. It’s about how you see people, how you treat yourself, how you feel about things, how you think people feel about you, what you could do, should do but don’t do. Your resentments, your lack of respect, your lack of power, power you think you have to change sh*t, your ego. . . the list goes on.”
A 2012 survey suggests that there are more than 23 million Americans who have, at one point or another, struggled with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. The term “alcoholic” is a catch-all used to describe individuals who struggle with an uncontrollable compulsion to consume alcoholic beverages, often in excess. Additionally, alcohol dependence often becomes coupled with dependence and abuse of other substances; most commonly cigarettes and anxiety medications. As with many addictions, treatment—as well as the motivation to seek treatment—varies among individuals.
Porter details the moment that she realized she had a problem, and discusses the steps she took from there.
“I was living in NYC when I realized I needed to get sober,” Porter writes. “I was miserable and overwhelmed with life. I was heartbroken and realizing that what had always worked for me in the past was NOT working at all. Not even a little bit. I felt trapped, scared, and sad and I was ready to really go for broke or get better. So, I did what every good user does and I prayed to a god I had never believed in. . .and then called my mom. Days later, I was off to treatment, just like that. For the next four years, I went to meetings, worked the steps, got a sponsor, found a god of my own understanding, prayed, meditated, and basically grew up. Growing pains were inevitable, I felt them often but I continued on the path because unlike my old ways, this way was working.” For her, a post-alcohol life is a happy, loving, yet still-challenging life.
“I don’t drink because I don’t want to miss one second of the responsibilities I get to have today,” writes Porter, now a married mom. “I don’t drink because I can’t. I want to, a lot of days, because I’m human and because life gets hard. But I don’t. Sobriety offered me everything I ever wanted and never got. I have always had the image in my head of rushing to put my kids to sleep, being so frustrated and angry. Rushing just so I could go disappear into a bottle or take a trip on a cloud of smoke. When I think about that, my skin crawls, because that’s in me. Everyday I work to take contrary action against that poor unfortunate girl. I know how fast this beautiful life I get to live could all be a distant memory. I get to live this way today and everyday if I decide to and if I’m willing to do the work.”
Porter’s admission is an amazing show of honesty, bravery, and vulnerability. She ends her post by letting her readers know that if they, like her, struggle with addiction, they are more than welcome to reach out to her personally for help finding treatment.