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Tom Sizemore Cleans Up

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Saving Private Ryan was the least of his worries.

By Anna David

06/12/11

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And one day you suddenly decided that you’d had enough?

I couldn’t get high anymore. So it was a combination of my age, the drugs really not working anymore, my wanting my life back, my wanting a relationship with my children, and [Celebrity Rehab counselor] Bob Forrest—who was kind of like my best friend in the 90s—telling me in very cold terms that I was going to die if I didn’t get a grip on myself.

Did the presence of the cameras on the show detract from your recovery?

When I first went in there, I was such a wreck, I didn’t even really realize the cameras were there. Well, I knew they were there but they didn’t impact me.

But you’re an actor. Do you think a part of you, maybe even a sub-conscious part, was playing to the cameras?

I’m telling you, I was there to get clean. And now I kind of like the fact that I was on the show. I hated it before. I just thought it was for washed-up re-treads.

You thought that before you were on it?

Oh, I thought that while I was on it, too. I didn’t think about it much because I just wanted to get clean but when the show did finally air, I was like, “Oh my Goodness.” I couldn’t watch it in the beginning. I watched it when it was kind of over. I didn’t necessarily like the guy I had become. I hated the way I looked.

Do you still keep in touch with any of your cast-mates?

Some of them. [Former Miss Teen USA] Kari Ann Peniche is sober and married, if you can believe it. She went through treatment again and now she has six months or something. She’s a totally different person. All that acting out, that cussing and name-calling…that was all the drugs. Oh, and Mike Starr’s in jail now.

But both of you guys were invited back to Celebrity Rehab [4] as big success stories!

I know. [Smiles.] He’s in jail for parking tickets. Can you believe it? 37 days. But he’s sober. I couldn’t get over his evolution. I didn’t have the best time with him [on the show]. But I’m just so proud of him. It made me feel so good that he had done it [gotten clean]. [Editor's note: Mike Starr died two weeks after this interview was conducted, on March 8th.]

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Last February, my oldest friend died of a heroin overdose at the age of 49. He beat me to recovery, and he beat me to death. He also gave a final, drug-alogue interview on my radio show 20 hours before he died.

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