Marlee Matlin Celebrates 30 Years of Sobriety With Twitter Post

By Britni de la Cretaz 01/13/17

In 1987, Matlin went to the Betty Ford Clinic for treatment and has been sober ever since.  

Marlee Matlin
Photo via Twitter

Actress Marlee Matlin tweeted about a huge accomplishment on Tuesday—30 years of sobriety. The tweet, which shows Matlin with her 30-year medallion from Alcoholics Anonymous, thanked her family for supporting her in her recovery journey. “I cannot imagine my life without [sobriety],” it read.

Matlin went to the Betty Ford Center in 1987 to receive treatment for her drug addiction. According to People, “The Academy Award-winning actress … was in rehab when she found out about her Oscar nod for 1986’s Children of a Lesser God." The title of her 2009 memoir, I’ll Scream Later, comes from this experience. “[My interpreter] Jack asked me over the phone: ‘What do you want to say?' The press wants an answer,” she explained in an appearance on Larry King Live.

“The counselors were looking at me. I couldn't say anything. So I said, ‘I'll scream later.’” Matlin also discussed the sexual abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of a babysitter and later a teacher, and how she turned to drugs to cope, during her interview with Larry King guest host, Joy Behar.

“I masked it, and I covered it up. And I masked it with drugs. And I masked it at a very early age with drugs,” she told Behar. “I never told anyone. I never told my parents. And yet, I never forgot it.”

Alcohol was never her thing, Matlin says, citing her drugs of choice as cocaine and marijuana. Before flying out to the Betty Ford Center, she wrote in her book that she tried to finish everything she had—a gram of coke, a half-ounce bag of pot. “I knew I needed help,” she wrote.

Matlin says that at the time she decided to get sober, she didn’t have much support from her friends and family. “Only a handful of people knew I was going to rehab at the Betty Ford Center the next day. I had virtually no support for my decision.”

She credits the treatment center with saving her life and tweeted after the former First Lady passed away in 2011, “She & Betty Ford Center helped me beat my addiction & she was an angel to many.”

Matlin wrote in I'll Scream Later, “I have been given an extraordinary life thus far, and I am nowhere close to done with it. The dark secrets that I kept locked away in my heart for all those many years are now out in the open. Today, I can face those old wounds. I know they cannot defeat me—the drugs, the babysitter, the actor, the deafness and the rest. I am stronger than all of it.”

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Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, and recovered alcoholic living in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @britnidlc.