Tom Sizemore Cleans Up

Tom Sizemore Cleans Up

By Anna David 06/12/11

The seriously-sober actor reflects on nearly losing it all, the secrets of Celebrity Rehab, his bloody battle with Heidi Fleiss, and the hardest thing about staying clean in Hollywood.

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Saving Private Ryan was the least of his worries.

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What’s the hardest part about staying sober?

When I get ahead of myself. When I start thinking, “I have to take off my shirt for a movie in three and a half months”—which happened the other day. I had a complete breakdown—in public, kind of, in the gym, when I took off my shirt and just went, “Oh God.” But I have the capacity to worry about things that I shouldn’t.

Are you nervous about relapsing now that you’re working as an actor again?

[Nods] Robert [Downey Jr.] told me this was inevitable: you really want your career back, then you get it back, and you’re like, “Whoa.” You think you might get fucked up again because you have access to things again. And you worry you may disappear.

Do you have regrets about the years you were using?

I wish I’d gotten some kind of advice about what to do [when Heidi accused him of beating her], how to address these accusations, and not do what I did, which was go outside and mock the police. [Shakes his head] I never defended myself during those years because when I did talk, I made an ass of myself because I was intoxicated. The fact is, I was falsely accused and I was being hounded. I’d never been in that position before didn’t know what the protocol was. Something I learned in sports is if you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything.

And what about using now? Do you think about it?

I’ve had moments where I’ve wanted to change the way I feel. I’ve thought about using drugs; I’ve thought about using sex. And Robert says that you are thinking about using drugs even if you don’t think you are. He told me I should [hire the sober companion]. He said, “In the whole scheme of things, it’s not a lot of money compared to what you’ll make if you stay clean. If this guy helps you not use one time, he’s worth every dollar.”

Do you worry about sharing in meetings, since people know who you are?

I don’t. I don’t mean to sound glib, but I can’t control what other people do. That’s one thing I have learned. I couldn’t control what Heidi did, I can’t control what [Dr.] Drew wants me to do, I can’t control what my mom’s thinking, I can’t control what you write. I can just control my reactions to things. And you can’t control how you feel, you can only control what you do about how you feel. Things change. Drew says if you just sit long enough, your feelings will change. [Laughs] Maybe your ass will start to hurt and then you’ll have that feeling. I used to have a false sense of security that I could control things. Like with my kids [he has five-year-old twin boys with ex-girlfriend Janelle McIntire]. I can control them to a certain degree because I can give them a time out. But I can’t do anything about if they do it again at Mom’s house when I’m not there. All I can say is, “I don’t approve. I love you.”

What’s the biggest difference in your life now that you’re sober?

When you’re using drugs and it gets bad, you blame everybody but yourself. I hadn’t thought in a long time about how many decent people there really are. You lose sight of that when you’re using drugs. “Everybody’s an asshole,” you think. “Everybody’s against me and the world sucks.” And it’s just not true. Like when the gentleman [the Big 5 security guard] said what he did to me…that just gives me so much energy. Things like that remind me that this is worth it, this is good. And I’m so glad I can see the good in life now.

Anna David is the Executive Editor of The Fix, the author of the novels Party Girl and Bought and the editor of the anthology Reality Matters. She has written for Details, Playboy, Cosmo, Redbook, Vanity Fair and The New York Times, among others.