Actor Colton Haynes is speaking out for the first time about his decade-long struggle with drugs and alcohol that reached a breaking point after crises in his personal life.
The “Arrow” star, who has been sober for six months after seeking treatment, revealed in a candid Attitude magazine interview how the death of his mother and his split from celebrity florist Jeff Leatham led him down a dark path.
“In 10 years, there were maybe 25 days I didn’t drink,” the 30-year-old actor told the magazine. “I remember when I started, it was a couple glasses of wine, and it regressed into really dark times.”
He added, “I used to blame it on my anxiety or depression issues, but really the root of all my problems was the alcohol and drugs.”
Thursday on Instagram, Haynes said he was nervous to reveal his story to the public but hopes being open about his struggles can help others feel less alone.
The “Teen Wolf” alum traces the beginning of his downward spiral to the public attention he received after coming out in 2016 ― rumors about his sexuality swirled for years before he spoke out ― and how it warped his sense of self.
Not long after his marriage to Leatham hit the rocks in 2018, which he described as an “extremely public and heart-breaking” experience, his mother, Dana Denise Mitchell, died, which he said pushed him over the edge.
“At that point I fell apart. My brain broke,” Haynes confessed. “I got so heavily involved with drugs and alcohol to mask the amount of pain I was feeling that I couldn’t even make some decisions for myself. I was drowning in my own shit.”
His substance abuse issues came at the expense of career opportunities, like a major studio film comedy that he said he was fired from on his first day of work.
Haynes previously stepped away from a series regular gig on the CW show “Arrow” in 2015 after mental and physical health issues due to a lifelong struggle with anxiety, only to return to the show three years later.
Colton Haynes and other “Arrow” cast members at the 2018 Comic-Con in San Diego.
But Haynes said he didn’t hit rock bottom until he woke up after a seven-day bender in a Beverly Hills hotel room with “insane bruises all over my body” and a nearly ruptured kidney.
Haynes said he was then committed to a local hospital and placed under a three-day involuntary psychiatric hold, which he described as a “rude awakening.”
“I lost partial sight in my left eye for a while,” he said. “I ended up having two seizures. I didn’t know any of this was happening until I was sober enough to remember it.”
The actor later entered a four-month treatment program to address his substance abuse issues and get his life and career back on track.
“I’m always going to be in recovery,” he explained. “There are so many people struggling out there, but not a lot of them talk about it. Life is much more beautiful than I could have imagined.”
To read Haynes’ full interview, head over to Attitude.
Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.
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