Ashley Judd opens up on her tormented family life to help others and break downstereotypes
That fight against co-dependency, a direct result of childhood grief and the presence of alcoholism within her family, will be her main topic at Thursday's event, which benefits the Council for Alcohol and Drugs Houston.
As a beautiful actress with a successful career and healthy finances — one with, as she phrased it, "no nights in jail, no public breakdowns" — Judd doesn't fit the stereotype of someone who needs treatment.
"One of our most important messages is to educate others about the overall impact and damage that alcohol and drug abuse has on the whole family," said Mel Taylor, the Council's president and CEO.
Judd acknowledges that those family members oftentimes need more help recovering than the addict himself.
She learned that the hard way, by suffering through years of depression and obsessive behaviors.
"No one had validated my pain before," Judd said. She enrolled in a 47-day treatment — one that involved learning about the core pain, the core dependency and the method for recovery — at Shades of Hope in 2006. She came out a different person.
"They offered me a recovered way of life that I never knew existed and never thought was available for someone like me," Judd told CultureMap in an exclusive one-on-one phone interview.
"I knew I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I had applied an arsenal of coping skills that really weren't working."
Now, Judd publicly speaks about her experience and her recovery at every opportunity.
"It reinforces my own joy in recovery and reminds me of how simple recovered life can be," she said.
Judd interacts daily with recovering people for fellowship and support, and often hears from others who have identified and sought treatment after reading about her journey in an interview or her book (All That Is Bitter and Sweet: A Memoir, which was published in 2011).
Perhaps Judd's status makes the issue seem less taboo. As a beautiful actress with a successful career and healthy finances — one with, as she phrased it, "no nights in jail, no public breakdowns" — Judd doesn't fit the stereotype of someone who needs treatment.
Judd believes that God uses her to carry the message to certain groups of people, and that there are millions of others like her who never suspected the cause of their issues.
The luncheon, chaired by Jonathan Avery, Krista Borstell and Pierce Bush, will be held at the Hilton Americas-Houston — more than 1,200 seats have been sold, and more than $400,000 raised for the Council for Alcohol and Drugs Houston.