Nick Stahl will get candid about drug and alcohol dependancy: ‘It’s a horribly cliche child-actor story’

Nick Stahl, here in 2008, discusses his severe alcohol and drug addiction and renewed love for acting.
Nick Stahl, right here in 2008, discusses his extreme alcohol and drug dependancy and renewed love for performing. (Photo: Reuters)

Nick Stahl is “grateful” to be alive. The Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines star is opening as much as The Hollywood Reporter about his extreme substance abuse drawback that sidelined him from Hollywood for years. 

“It’s a horribly cliche child-actor story, but I had a very unusual relationship to drugs and alcohol. I never had a brake pedal with it,” he explains.

Stahl received his large break at age 11, starring in Mel Gibson’s The Man Without a Face. He labored steadily after and was an “it” boy of the early aughts. Although he was by no means fired from a job, the actor was privately fighting drug and alcohol dependancy. 

“I was pretty much hung over for every single day of work that I ever did — as a kid, in my early 20s, through all the films, through [the 2001 Oscar-nominated film] In the Bedroom, through Terminator, through Carnivàle, through all of it,” Stahl says. “I didn’t really discriminate — I’d use anything to change the way I felt when I was sober.”

Stahl had his first drink at age 13. He moved to L.A. three years later and was rapidly launched to weed. Then got here capsules, cocaine and methamphetamine.

“That became what I chased,” he provides. While his mates have been partying to have enjoyable, Stahl says for him, it wasn’t a “‘I want this,’ but ‘I need this.’” He held it collectively selling Terminator in 2003, however “things started to get awful pretty quickly” after.

“I started to miss appointments. I put on a good front. The extent of my illness stayed hidden even from me,” he explains. “It’s common to justify, rationalize things. I looked around and said, ‘Oh, everybody’s in this scene. Everyone is drinking like this. Everyone is partying the way I am.’ In retrospect, there were far less people going as hard as I did.”

Stahl’s first rehab stint got here in 2007 at age 27. A second failed rehab try got here in 2009 and he moved to Texas. However, he felt a pull again to Hollywood. He continued to seek out work, however his troubles ultimately spilled into the media in 2012 and 2013. He was arrested for possession of meth and lewd conduct

“Things got really bad for me,” he says. “People you see on park benches — that doesn’t happen overnight. They go through that one day at a time, so by the time you get there, that day looks a whole lot like the day before.”

Stahl was reported lacking by his former spouse in 2012 and studies claimed he was homeless and living on L.A.’s Skid Row.

“That wasn’t the case, thankfully,” he tells THR. “Skid Row is an open drug market. Back then, if you don’t know anybody and you’re looking for drugs, that’s where you go.”

While Stahl says he was by no means homeless, he spent “time on the street voluntarily” as he did not need to reside in a sober living home anymore. He remembers being shocked by the media frenzy over his supposed disappearance. Stahl left Hollywood once more.

“I didn’t have all that much money,” he shares. “I was never rich. I made quite a bit in my early 20s, but I bought a house. Money goes fast. By the time I actually stepped away from acting, it wasn’t like I had a bunch of money and lost it.”

So, Stahl began doing common jobs, like working for a good friend’s transferring firm.

“I tried other things. I worked at a coffee shop in New York for a little bit,” he recollects, admitting he was often acknowledged. 

“That was weird at first,” he says, “however finally it was very helpful for me. I imply, I did what I needed to do, nevertheless it was surprisingly empowering for me and it was vital… Not solely did I discover ways to stay as a sober individual, which I did not know methods to do, however I discovered methods to have a life outdoors the enterprise.”

Stahl, now 41, is four years clean. He has found again a “ardour” for “movie and performing.” In 2021, he appeared in five episodes of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead. He recently wrapped several indie features.

“Once I used to be separated from Hollywood, all of that began to return again, an ‘absence makes the center develop fonder’ sort of factor. Over the previous few years, whether or not I’m engaged on a movie or auditioning, I do not take it as a right, ever,” Stahl says. “I work a lot tougher at it now. I simply really feel a renewed love for it.”

Stahl’s renewed love for acting is accompanied by a realization that addicts and alcoholics don’t have a choice.

“I’ve had mates die,” he says. “It’s exhausting to establish why one individual would possibly make it and one won’t. But I’m grateful for it, and it’s given me the chance to attempt to assist individuals in the identical state of affairs I used to be [in]. That’s one thing I take very critically now. It’s extra vital to me than making movies. I get your hands on individuals who have had comparable struggles and present them how I received nicely. I communicate from my expertise and present them what labored for me.”