Inside Robin Williams' Addiction Battle

He fought alcohol, drugs, depression for years

By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 12, 2014 12:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Robin Williams often joked about his addiction to cocaine and alcohol—a lifelong struggle that saw him visit a treatment facility just weeks before his suspected suicide yesterday, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Williams, 63, talked openly about 30 years of addiction to drugs and alcohol that began in the late 1970s with his rise to fame via Mork & Mindy. As THR recounts, he told People in 1988 that "cocaine for me was a place to hide. Most people get hyper on coke. It slowed me down." Friend John Belushi’s death from an overdose in 1982 coincided with the birth of Williams’ son, and that began 20 years of sobriety for the actor: "There was the baby coming. I knew I couldn't be a father and live that sort of life."

But in 2003, Williams found himself "alone and afraid" while working in Alaska and turned to alcohol for help, reports Time, citing an old interview in the Guardian. "You're standing at a precipice and you look down, there's a voice and it's a little quiet voice that goes, 'Jump.' The same voice that goes, 'Just one,'" he said in an interview. Just last year, Williams spoke again to People about the "lower power" that had lured him back to alcohol: "It escalated so quickly. Within a week I was buying so many bottles I sounded like a wind chime walking down the street." An intervention and ultimatum from his son sent Williams to rehab again in 2006. TMZ reports that Williams hadn't relapsed before his most recent trip to rehab in July, but he "was struggling to center himself" and battling depression linked to his addictions. It quotes one source as saying he "was too far down the road" by the time he checked himself in. Click to read better memories of Williams.

Robin Williams in 2007.
Robin Williams in 2007.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)
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