Vicodin Addiction Almost Killed Kristen Johnston

By Valerie Tejeda 03/08/12

The actress reveals her deadly battle with drugs in a candid new book.

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Kristen Johnston reveals all. Photo via

Kristen Johnston details her dangerous drug and alcohol addictions in a new book, Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster. The comely 3rd Rock from the Sun star says that years of prescription pill abuse eventually caused her to land in the hospital with acute peritonitis, an incident that nearly killed her. “I’m a pill-popping lush,” she writes in her moving memoir, which hits shelves next week. The now-sober 44-year-old actress, who currently stars on the hit show The Exes,  says her obsession with chemicals started in high school when she started drinking and stealing painkillers from family and friends. By her thirties she was downing bottles of wine and swallowing painkillers that were prescribed for her dog. "After the age of 25, it's no longer cute to have a red-wine mustache and purple teeth," she writes. Soon after she arrived in London in 2006 to join the cast the West End show Love Song, her addiction took a deadly turn, “Opening night, and we were a smash hit,” she recalls. “Then the next night my intestines ripped open.”

As a result of years of drug abuse, Johnston eventually spent months recuperating at a London hospital. But soon after undergoing intricate surgery, she returned to popping pills and downing booze. Eventually she sought treatment at The Meadows rehab in Arizona, “I was finally brave enough to face my biggest nightmare, revealing the hideous, revolting monster,” she writes in Guts. “I’ve been in recovery for five years, and I’ve worked my ass off to prevent a relapse.” Back in November Johnston—who is a big advocate for recovery causes—publicly talked about taking Suboxone to help her kick Vicodin on a much-talked appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman. Telling The New York Times that she "hates anonymity", Johnston also recalls a run-in she had with a Hollywood agent who told her "Honey, you really gotta stop telling everyone that you're sober...it could get into the wrong hands, and it could hurt your career. But mostly it makes people uncomfortable." On Friday The Fix will feature an exclusive interview with the star, as well as an excerpt from her book.

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.

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