Dennis Quaid on Coke Addiction: "I Had My Head Stuck Up My A--"

The Soul Surfer star opens up about his dangerous cocaine problem -- and his troubled brother Randy

Dennis Quaid is unloading some skeletons from his closet. In an article for Newsweek, the Soul Surfer actor writes candidly about how his fame came hand-in-hand with a cocaine addiction that began in the 1970s and lasted until the early '90s. Quaid, 57, has since gotten clean -- but he makes it easy to understand how so many other actors fall into dangerous drug habits.

"It was very casual at first," says Quaid, who began using cocaine when he moved to Los Angeles after college in 1974. "That's what people were doing when they were at parties. Cocaine was even in the budgets of movies, thinly disguised... It was supplied, basically, on movie sets because everyone was doing it. Instead of having a cocktail, you'd have a line."

Quaid, who was inspired to go into acting by his older brother Randy, says he used drugs to cope with the tough transition from a "lower-middle-class life" to Hollywood excess. But the strategy backfired quickly, and by the time he made The Big Easy in 1987, Quaid says he was "a mess."

"I was getting an hour of sleep a night. I had a reputation for being a 'bad boy,' which seemed like a good thing, but basically I just had my head stuck up my a--," writes the actor. "The lack of sleep made it so my focus wasn't really there, which affected my acting... Addiction just keeps you from living; you're basically hiding from life."

Yet Quaid admits that getting clean didn't totally fix his life -- at least, not right away. His first movie after he became sober, 1993's Wilder Napalm, completely bombed. In retrospect, however, Quaid credits his post-recovery time for giving him "the resolve and resilience to persevere in life." (Lindsay? Charlie? Are you listening?)

Quaid's life and career are back on track now, but sadly, his big brother isn't doing so well. Randy Quaid, 60, once an Oscar nominee ( for 1973's The Last Detail), is now a fugitive on the run from felony vandalism charges. Dennis hasn't commented publicly about his brother's legal troubles -- until Sunday, when he made a brief but heartfelt statement to People.

"I love my brother," Dennis said while promoting Soul Surfer in Los Angeles. "That's all I can say. I love my brother and I miss my brother. That's all I'm going to say."

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