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Media Articles - 1990s

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3 December 2002
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"Narconon salvaged my life" - Kirstie Alley

By Vernon Scott

May 3, 1990

Kirstie Alley, taking a break on the set of her new movie "Sibling Rivalry," wanted to talk about drugs and booze.

She doesn't "do" either. Instead she is heavily involved in helping other people who haven't yet overcome their addictions.

Alley, who somewhat ironically stars in the TV series "Cheers" as the owner of a Boston pub, doesn't touch the stuff. Moreover, she doesn't touch cocaine, which she swore off 11 years ago.

The actress was once hooked on the lethal white powder and it nearly destroyed her beauty, her career, her life.

Alley is now an international spokeswoman for Narconon Chilocco, a new addition to Narconon International, an organization that treats people addicted to alcohol and drugs.

What pleases Alley about her association with Narconon Chilocco is that the drug rehabilitation facility is only 60 miles from her home in Witchita, Kan., just across the state line in Oklahoma.

"This work gives me the opportunity to help people in the fight against drugs, which were ruining my life a dozen years ago," she said. "This branch of Narconon especially helps Native Americans in the area. Indians have a big problem with alcohol and drugs. I grew up with an admiration for their culture and was sensitive to their problems.

"Narconon is (the late) L. Ron Hubbard's method of drug rehabilitation. I make public appearances and try to be the heart and soul of the project because it is so close to me and is so personal.

"Most of the people I know -- literally -- have been through drug rehabs two or three times. The difference is that this program stops the revolving-door effect. For me it means being drug free and learning to function in life.

"It takes anywhere from a month to six months, but the average is 12 weeks.

"There are Narconons all over the world. They don't accept you unless you personally make the decision to stop for your own good. Not for anyone else or for any other reason.

"This program salvaged my life and began my acting career. When I was an interior designer in Witchita I was a druggie and life didn't go well. I'd call in sick a lot, making excuses just so I could do coke.

"It's amazing how coke encompasses everything in your life. Addicts cannot confront life because they only think of their next hit. I ruined life for my parents, my sister and all my friends.

"When I came to Los Angeles in 1979 I went to the detox center at Narconon. It was like night and day once I had completed the program. I've never had the desire to do drugs since.

"When I was straight, I had the courage and energy to try to become an actress. I owe my career to my will to stop using.

"I was so naive I didn't even know about agents. I telephoned the William Morris agency and asked to speak to Mr. Morris. I expected Bill Morris to be waiting at a desk for my call.

"I said, 'I'm here from Kansas and I want to be an actress.' I had no inkling how stupid that was. The man told me to forget it and I said, 'Buddy, you will never represent me as an actress.'

"I took an acting class for 10 seconds before I played a lead in a student movie, 'One More Chance.' I showed the film to an agent who said he would send me out on interviews but wouldn't sign me."

Alley went on interviews for six months without luck. She was ready to quit when she took one final audition for "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn."

"I got the role of a Vulcan protege of Mr. Spock," she recalled, laughing. "They cast me for the part and the agent signed me to a contract that night.

"After that I did 'The Champions' with John Hurt and 'Runaway' with Tom Selleck. I never did go back to acting class. I was too busy working."

Alley said she no longer has any desire for cocaine or alcohol.

"It never enters my mind," she said. "And I don't smoke pot. I never liked it. What I wanted was an energetic and uninhibited feeling for life. I got that the first three times with coke. The rest of the three years of my addiction were a nightmare.

"I have photographs taken of me at the time and thought I looked good. I see them today and realize my eyes were dead."