By Claire Vaughn
On Monday night, October 30th, Jodie Sweetin visited Miami University to share her story about addiction and rehabilitation. Before her talk, she had a press conference with Miami Television News.
She had the opportunity to speak about her story and then answered questions from students in the audience. Jodie spoke about growing up as a child actor, how she struggled with addiction, and how she overcame her struggles.
During her talk, she incorporated humor, despite the somber reality that she once faced- making the discussion very enjoyable and relaxed.
Sweetin was adopted by two loving parents when she was very young. Growing up, she wanted to become an actress, so she started acting in commercials. Before she knew it, she was offered a part in Full House. She never auditioned for it, but she was glad the opportunity had found her. For years, that was all she knew. The cast became her family.
By the time she was 13, Full House had ended, and she didn’t know what to do. So, she turned to drugs and alcohol. Things spiraled out of control from there.
She first attempted to get sober at 18. She tried a few more times. As of now, she has been sober 6 years with the help of 12 step programs for addiction recovery, and the support from family and friends.
When asked about college drinking, She explained that alcohol becomes a problem when it is no longer about the sociality of the situation or the experience of being around friends.
“The difference is when you don’t care about the people you’re drinking with. It’s just whoever is there.When you start doing it by yourself is when it gets scary,” Jodie noted.
Jodie also spoke about how common drinking is on college campuses and how one might think that drinking every night is normal. She referred to college drinking as “social lubricant.”
She went on to say that your best friends are the people you don’t need to drink around to still have a good time.
When Jodie attempted sobriety the first time, she said that she “got sober for the wrong reasons.” She got sober mostly so that people would “get off her back,” like her parents and her friends. She found herself reasoning excuses for drinks, “I would go out for taco Tuesdays and have a margarita with the girls because that’s what women my age do…” She continued, “Some people can do that. I can’t, I just can’t. And I had to realize that.”
When she realized that getting sober was going to be more work than she thought, she buckled down and attended 12 step programs. Through these programs and self-motivation, she found the right reasons to get sober. “I did it for me. My kids can’t keep me sober. My parents can’t keep me sober. A guy can’t keep me sober. Only I can,” she explained.
Through her sobriety, Jodie said that she regained a sense of identity. “Through sobriety, I learned what it meant to be content,” she stated.
She said that she had to learn how to “show up to life without any expectations.” And through sobriety, she was able to let go of her past and negative feelings toward herself. When asked about advice she would give to others struggling with addiction, she said, “There is no right path. You have to take your path. If I can do it, literally anyone can.”
She explained that she had received a certification for working in rehabilitation centers. She loved what she did there because she felt like she was helping someone every day. She said, “I have to wake up and be of service to someone, every day. Whether it’s one of my co-workers on set, or anybody. I have to feel like I’m helping someone.” When asked if she would ever go back to school to become a therapist she responded, “Absolutely. If my acting slows down enough, I would love to do that.”
She also spoke about Fuller House. She noted that the cast has been friends for 31 years. And she never expected that they would all be back together doing the show again.
Although it keeps her very busy, she said that she also really enjoys traveling to college campuses and giving her talks. “The more I share these things, the less power they have over me,” said Jodie.
As for now, she is working hard on set and traveling around sharing her story, all the while being a single mom to two beautiful girls. She is an inspiration to everyone- regardless of what they’re going through.
She posted a quote from the Velveteen Rabbit, which sums up her talk quite nicely. “He said, ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to those who break easily or have sharp edges or have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”