It wasn’t easy being Alec Baldwin in the ’80s. The decade that became infamous for its addictive excesses nearly consumed an endless list of celebrities, including Baldwin, who just won a Best Actor Golden Globe award on Sunday for his role as GE/NBC suit Jack Donaghy on my current favorite sitcom, 30 Rock.
Actor Christopher Kennedy Lawford just released a new book, Moments of Clarity: Voices from the Front Lines of Addiction and Recovery, a compilation of stories from addicts from all walks of life. One of the sad tales comes from Baldwin, who often drove down the Santa Monica Freeway “with a plastic take out container filled with ice and wine” between his legs. And after partying until the wee hours of the morning, he’d head to an arcade to unwind with Galaga:
“I would play video games from, like, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and I would wind down. Then I’d go home and go to bed,” Baldwin writes. “This was the only way I could go ‘beta’ and go into that state I needed to be, where I could calm down and take my mind off everything. I didn’t want to see anybody, talk to anybody, deal with anybody.”
A “moment of clarity” came when he saw pity in the face of Julian, the person who ran the parlor.
“I was doing a show then [Knots Landing], making tens of thousands of dollars a week, which was part of the problem,” he writes. “Julian would put the key in the lock and open the door, and he would just kind of look at me like, ‘Wow, I’m glad I’m not you.’ ”
Baldwin agreed. “You got no idea, Julian. Julian, I need you. I need you to get that key and open the f---ing door and let me in. I got to play Galaga.”
He refers to rock bottom as “the Sixth Sense phase” -- “when you’re dead but you don’t know it,” and a month and a half before his 27th birthday, he finally joined a support group. Kudos to him for freeing himself from the mystifying allure of the tractor beam.