I’m too old to have ‘been raised on’ Full House so I have not watched Fuller House either, but after listening to actress Jodie Sweetin’s speech at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio Monday evening, Oct 30, I was impressed with her humanity.
Sweetin played Stephanie (the middle child) in Full House — and plays the older version of Stephanie in Fuller House on Netflix, but Monday night she discussed ‘real life.’ Sweetin is a recovering addict and, by her own admission, her life’s path has not been perfect.
I went because I live in a section of the country, and in a county, that struggles with drug addiction.
At 35, Sweetin is six and a half years sober. In her speech, Sweetin detailed the various drugs she consumed, noting that she began abusing alcohol as a teenager, shortly after Full House ended (at age 13). This is the part of her journey I found most interesting — because she describes what was driving her behavior. From an early age, she said she did not feel comfortable in her own skin. Her fame added to that especially since she attended grade school and middle school during those years.
She felt out of place among her classmates.
This alienation plagued her for more than a decade. She admitted that during her teen years being drunk and/or high brought a sense of relief.
The lifestyle of her biological parents also impacted her. Both biological parents were addicts (her biological father died in a prison riot).
After a ‘series of rock bottoms’ events, Sweetin ultimately finds joy and satisfaction counseling other addicts.
She even admitted that if her acting career ends she would consider becoming a full-time counselor. This empathy, for those struggling with addiction, could also be felt in her responses during the Q&A session when Sweetin reiterated that is no ‘right path’ to recovery.
Everyone must find their own way, she said.
And, when asked if she felt child actors were more susceptible to drug and/or alcohol abuse, Sweetin responded that child actors simply get more of the media’s attention.
In the upper-middle class neighborhood she grew up in there were 15 or so children — six of them suffered from drug addiction issues (including death), she noted. But since they were not as well known as Sweetin their stories are largely unknown outside that community.
If you have a chance to hear Sweetin speak — do — Sweetin is an engaging speaker and her message is important. Also stick around for the question and answer session. She is brave enough to answer any, and all, questions — and she may even bring you onstage for an autograph — like she did Monday for two young fans.
Sweetin is also author of UnSweetined. Published in 2009, the book has a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon.