Eliza Dushku made a name for herself as Faith Lehane in Buffy the Vampire Slayer; just like Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Geller), she was a teenage girl endowed with supernatural powers and destined to battle demons, vampires, and other evil creatures from the underworld.
However, unlike Buffy, Faith had a difficult home life – and often struggled to follow a moral code. Instead, she abused her powers in her pursuit of hedonism, and found herself alienated from her friends as a result.
Now, two decades after Buffy first aired on television, Dushku has detailed her battle with alcohol and drug addiction at the New Hampshire Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness.
Speaking at the request of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, the actor told the audience that she has been sober for more than eight years, and focuses on trying to be a good person for her friends and family.
However, much like her character in Joss Whedon’s cult show, Dushku accidentally pushed loved ones away when she began her cycle of drug abuse.
“I remember my brother telling me he didn’t want me to be around my niece because he didn’t trust me,” Dushku said. “I’m a really good auntie today, but you know what? He was right.
“I’m a good person, but when I did drugs and I drank, I didn’t make good decisions,” Dushku continued. “I’m sure some of you can relate to that, but all it takes is one bad decision.”
Dushku went on to explain that, while she loved drugs at times, they never ever loved her back.
“Drugs didn’t love me,” she said. “They didn’t love my family. They definitely didn’t love my friends that died.”
Therefore, something had to change.
“It was the hardest thing in the world for me to ask for help,” Dushku said, “and it was the most powerful thing I’ve ever done.”
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Since overcoming her addiction, Dushku has fulfilled a lifelong dream of attending college at the age of 36. Now she’s keen to use her place in the spotlight to help others battling addictions – and encourage them to never lose hope if they’re facing problems in their own lives.
“I got sober for my family,” the actor said. “But today, I’m sober for me, and I’m sober for you. Because drugs and alcohol are powerful, but we are more powerful.”
If you or anyone else needs help or information regarding substance abuse, then Frank offers a live chat facility on their website, email support, an SMS number – 82111 and a 24 hour telephone helpline – 0300 123 6600.
Images: Rex Pictures / Buffy the Vampire Slayer