'True Blood' Star Chris Bauer Chronicles Decades-Long Battle With Addiction

By McCarton Ackerman 06/24/14

Like many addicts, Bauer was about to lose everything before he decided to change.

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True Blood actor Chris Bauer has opened about his battle with drug and alcohol education, revealing that he was on the verge of losing everything before getting sober seven years ago.

Bauer, known as Sheriff Andy Bellefleur on the hit HBO series, had his first drink at the age of 14 and it spurred a decades-long “obsession” with alcohol. Eventually progressing to cocaine and marijuana, he likened his later drug use to “the person at the salad bar. I took whatever there was to offer…my business obviously collects all sorts of fringe and untraditional personalities. It was never hard, whether it was at a dinner party, a nightclub or a premiere, to find somebody to share their drugs with me.”

Eventually, Bauer’s alcoholism progressed to where he “went from being the life of the party to not being able to make it to the party.” But because his stock as an actor continued to rise and he had a happy home life with his wife and two children, he was reluctant to see any signs of a problem. “If I was making them breakfast, how could I possibly have a problem?” he recalled. “But I realize that just because I put bacon and eggs on their plates doesn't mean they were getting what they deserved from me."

After downing vodka out of a pint glass during a theater benefit and having this then-five-year-old daughter witness him drunk for the first time, Bauer’s wife of 17 years, Laura, finally gave him an ultimatum to straighten up or the marriage would be over. "She was really afraid for me," he said. "And she was in a lot of pain because of how inconsiderate I was. She said she was going to take the kids and leave, that she couldn't stay in the situation until I changed things."

Declining to go to rehab, Bauer opted for a group of sober friends and 12-step meetings which he still attends to this day. He’s also lost 40 pounds since quitting drugs and alcohol and feels like he has a new lease on life.

"It could have been so much worse," he said. "I have been incredibly blessed. And now I wake up in the morning and smile before I even have a chance to think."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.