Taryn Manning Talks About Sobriety And Suicide

By Kelly Burch 01/31/17

“I had a very interesting few years with an outside source that has put up obstacles for me. But God works in mysterious ways.”

Taryn Manning

Taryn Manning, who plays Pennsatucky on the Netflix series Orange Is The New Black, says she is regaining her hold on her sobriety—inspired in part by her experience with her father’s suicide. 

“My father passed away from that type of lifestyle,” she told ET at a SAG Awards party on Saturday night. “He actually took his own life, and I was just like, ‘You know what? There’s no need for this.’ It’s everywhere, it’s hard to deal with. I’m not going to lie, I’m a very honest person – it is not an easy thing. But it was very important to me that I overcome [it] because of this certain situation. Because we’re all stronger than that, you know?”

Last October, Manning, 38, revealed that she was struggling with her sobriety. "I am truly grateful for what some may call hitting rock bottom ... Some days it sucks and some days it sucks worse. I am not ashamed of this obstacle because I have accepted that it is okay to not be okay,” she told TMZ at the time.

She said that although her schedule did not allow for rehab, she was relying on therapy, friends, a sober companion and “other safe outlets” to regain control of her life. 

On Saturday she said she was "doing really good ... I had a very interesting few years with an outside source that has put up obstacles for me," she said. "But God works in mysterious ways.”

Manning talked about her decision to keep her social media followers updated on her successes and failures in sobriety. “If I can have a voice and just try to help people and [let them know] no one’s perfect and we all struggle,” she said. “I have no shame in being honest at all. I always have been.”

Manning also quelled rumors that she was leaving Orange Is The New Black. “I’m on the show. I’m not trying to give anything away, but yeah, I did not quit,” she said. "I love my job, I love my cast. I did not quit, so that was just silly.”

Her OITNB co-star, Danielle Brooks, said the cast supports Manning. “We are family, and like I said, look, no one is perfect. And I don’t know the full details of everything, but Taryn knows I’m always there and I have an open arm for her,” she said. "She’s amazing. She’s an incredibly talented person, and I am honored to call her a friend, and if she ever needs me I’m always there for her, for sure.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.