Hollywood is littered with addiction stories. Drinking and drugs. Drugs and drinking. It’s like they are a rite of passage to be a star in Hollywood. Count Jason Isaacs as another in the long list of celebrities who have slid down this slippery slope.
Some make it through to the other side; some don’t make it at all. Isaacs can count his lucky stars he is in the former’s group. A big difference in Jason Isaacs’ sad story is the fact that his binging began way before he even set foot in Hollywood.
JASON ISAACS DRINKING AT 12
Jason Isaacs, who starred as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise and most recently Captain Lorca on Star Trek: Discovery, recently opened up to the U.K’s The Big Issue in their Letter To My Younger Self series and got extremely candid and quite graphic as he detailed his “decades-long love affair” that started with the drink and then moved along to drugs.
Jason Isaacs was 12 when he got his start. He recalled, “The barman, who we thought at the time was a hero and I now realize belonged in prison, sneaked us a full bottle of Southern Comfort,” he said. “We drank the entire thing in the toilet, then staggered out into the party, reeling around farcically. I vomited, fell on and pulled down a giant curtain, snogged a girl, god bless her… ran out into the street, vomited again, tripped, smashed my head open on the pavement and gushed blood all over my clothes. The next morning, I woke up with a splitting headache, stinking of puke with a huge scab and the memory of having utterly shamed myself. All I could think was… I cannot fucking wait to do that again. Why? I’ve no idea. Genes? Nurture? Star sign? I just know I chased the sheer ecstatic joy I felt that night for another 20 years with increasingly dire consequences.”
A CANDID ASSESSMENT
Jason Isaacs was quite forthcoming in how he saw himself at a younger age. “I’ve always had an addictive personality and by the age of 16 I’d already passed through drink and was getting started on a decades-long love affair with drugs,” Isaacs confessed.
“Every action was filtered through a burning need I had for being as far from a conscious, thinking, feeling person as possible. No message would get through for nearly 20 years.” Nothing or no one could bring Isaacs out of it. It was a road paved for destruction, one that took everything within Isaacs to change lanes.
He had this thought before he finally decided it was time to fight his demons and get himself clean. “I thought I was broken. I remember there being a moment, not long before I got clean, when it suddenly occurred to me that if everybody I knew died, literally every single person, I probably wouldn’t mind that much. In fact, I might like it, because then it would be an excuse to sit in a room by myself and take drugs and everybody else would say, well you know, fair enough, you heard what happened didn’t you?”
He knew he was “broken” when all he cared about was his drug habit instead of the well-being of his family or friends.
JASON ISAACS NOW
Give the man his due. So many have succumbed to drinking and drugs, especially given the lifestyle of many in the Hollywood confines. But the Harry Potter and Star Trek actor first gave in to it, then successfully fought it. It was not a path he’d recommend anyone to take. But it is a fight to recovery he’d tell anyone to take on.
As Isaacs continued to reflect back to his childhood, he told The Big Issue “I think what would surprise the 16-year-old me is that I’m okay. That I manage to find simple happiness in simple things. Not always, not perfectly, but enough.” Simple happiness in simple things.
The journey back to a healthy self can be long and arduous, especially given the success Jason Isaacs has had as an actor. Temptations for an addict can be and are consuming. It takes a strong person to finally look away. So, again, give the man his due. Coming forward with his struggle and survival can only be a good thing. Perhaps it’ll inspire others who may be stuck on their own path, who have no idea how to get out, maybe it’ll give those in need the clarity that they also can have their own tale of redemption.