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Kristen Johnston reflects on 14 years of sobriety after enduring a ‘abusive relationship’ with drugs

Kristen Johnston reflects on 14 years of sobriety after enduring a ‘very, very abusive relationship’ with drugs following 3rd Rock from the Sun

  • Johnston was drinking ‘two bottles of wine a night and popping 10, 20, 30 pills a day’ after her time on the popular NBC sitcom
  • She said her addiction was ‘a full time job’ which became ‘so embarrassing’ with each prescription she filled 
  • Her ‘first moment [of] sanity’ clicked 15 years ago on New Year’s Eve in London when she was rushed to the emergency room with an ulcer issue
  • ‘The thing I’m happiest about in my life is that I’m no longer using,’ she said. ‘It really is, because … there is no greater hell’ 

Kristen Johnston reflected on a ‘very, very abusive relationship’ with drugs following her starring role on 3rd Rock from the Sun while chatting with Elizabeth Vargas on her Heart of The Matter podcast.

The 53-year-old actress detailed the challenges surrounded attaining 14-years of sobriety as she admitted: ‘The thing I’m happiest about in my life is that I’m no longer using. It really is, because … there is no greater hell.’ 

Kristen portrayed Sally Solomon on the popular NBC sitcom which ran from 1996 to 2001 and also starred John Lithgow, Jane Curtin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and French Stewart.  

Tough: Kristen Johnston reflected on a ‘very, very abusive relationship’ with drugs following her starring role on 3rd Rock from the Sun while chatting with Elizabeth Vargas on her Heart of The Matter podcast; seen in 1996

Johnston recalled the years at the height of her 3rd Rock fame where she was drinking ‘two bottles of wine a night and popping 10, 20, 30 pills a day.’

She added: ‘It really wasn’t fun. The work was fun, but everything that came with it was so terrifying to me.

‘I didn’t realize until later that I lived in a state of absolute panic for 10 years. … It was just crazy. I had no ability that I have today of just putting [things] into perspective, and like, “Oh, get over it. Just move on. There’s more important things to worry about.” I hate to say that I was a cliche, but I really was. I mean, I was an actress who couldn’t handle it. Couldn’t handle the fame.’

She admitted there was ‘nothing but wonderful memories’ of her work on the show, but Johnston felt overwhelmed with ‘loneliness’ and ‘isolation’ once the work day was over.   

Star power: Kristen portrayed Sally Solomon on the popular NBC sitcom which ran from 1996 to 2001 and also starred John Lithgow, Jane Curtin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and French Stewart

Star power: Kristen portrayed Sally Solomon on the popular NBC sitcom which ran from 1996 to 2001 and also starred John Lithgow, Jane Curtin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and French Stewart

Difficult: Johnston recalled the years at the height of her 3rd Rock fame where she was drinking 'two bottles of wine a night and popping 10, 20, 30 pills a day'

Difficult: Johnston recalled the years at the height of her 3rd Rock fame where she was drinking ‘two bottles of wine a night and popping 10, 20, 30 pills a day’

‘For a long time, it was like an abusive relationship,’ Johnston said. ‘You’re not fully committed to this guy who beats you. He comes in, you break up, you go for a couple months without seeing him, then he pulls back up on his motorcycle and you start dating him again. 

‘It was like an on-off relationship for four years, and it only became really bad after 3rd Rock. … I was able to keep a lid on it for a couple of years, and then we became married, me and my opiates, a couple of years after 3rd Rock, and it was a very, very abusive relationship.’

She said her addiction was ‘a full time job’ which became ‘so embarrassing’ with each prescription she filled. 

'It was like an on-off relationship for four years, and it only became really bad after 3rd Rock. … I was able to keep a lid on it for a couple of years, and then we became married, me and my opiates, a couple of years after 3rd Rock, and it was a very, very abusive relationship.'

‘It was like an on-off relationship for four years, and it only became really bad after 3rd Rock. … I was able to keep a lid on it for a couple of years, and then we became married, me and my opiates, a couple of years after 3rd Rock, and it was a very, very abusive relationship.’

Johnston’s ‘first moment [of] sanity’ clicked on New Year’s Eve in London when she was rushed to the emergency room with an ulcer issue. 

‘They’re with their friends and their family, and they are not worried about where their next pills are. … They’re not worried about when they’re going to drink their next drink,’ she recalled. 

‘They’re just there enjoying the fireworks, and I was like, ‘I haven’t done that for 15 years.’ … And that started my journey to recovery.’

Light bulb moment: Johnston's 'first moment [of] sanity' clicked on New Year's Eve in London when she was rushed to the emergency room with an ulcer issue; Kristen now stars on the CBS comedy Mom

Light bulb moment: Johnston’s ‘first moment [of] sanity’ clicked on New Year’s Eve in London when she was rushed to the emergency room with an ulcer issue; Kristen now stars on the CBS comedy Mom

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