Antonio Banderas Talks About Substance Abuse In His Family

BanderasAntonio Banderas turned 51 this year. That puts him just above the cut-off for membership in the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). In a move toward showing a younger, more active membership, the association’s magazine recently ran an interview with the actor. He was open and honest about living with addiction – not his, but his wife’s.

Melanie Griffith, Bandera’s wife, has suffered an addiction to drugs and alcohol. She’s been in and out of rehab, and she’s at the three-year mark of sobriety. The magazine also did a parallel interview with her, giving us a husband and wife perspective on the problems of keeping a marriage together in the face of addiction.

The striking thing, when you read both interviews, is the different ways addiction is seen by those under treatment and their loved ones. While Banderas cites the experience of having his wife in rehab as making their marriage stronger, his wife sees it quite differently. Melanie says, “I’m sorry to say, that’s in his mind. I started on pain pills when I hurt my knee skiing and just kept taking them. The kids knew; Dakota and Stella called me on it. Antonio was in London at the time. I went away to rehab for three months; it took 10 days just to detox. We had two family weeks there, but we didn’t follow through. Antonio was supportive to the extent that he can be, but if you’re not an alcoholic or drug addict, and you find out that your wife is a bad one, it’s hard to deal with. As long as I’m okay, he’s okay. I wish he would go to a meeting with me or to Al-Anon, but it’s very foreign to him. Addiction runs in my family but not in his.

It points out a truism among addicts and alcoholics – while recovery is aided by loved ones, we each face our addictions alone. And while we do get better, there is nothing good about being an addict or alcoholic. The idea of “every cloud has a silver lining” seems naïve to us.

Still, it’s nice to see a celebrity being open about such a private and, some would say, an embarrassing matter. Perhaps we are moving more toward the ideal – addiction and treatment seen as no more than a medical condition. After all, who is shunned for talking about a heart attack or diabetes?

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