Eleven months clean from a two-year addiction to crystal meth, Jodie Sweetin, 24, once the perky middle child on Full House, talks with PEOPLE’s Ruth Andrew Ellenson about her battle with drugs and the toll it took on her three-year-old marriage:
So, how did your drug habit start?
It’s not one of those things where you can say, “Well, on Jan. 21, at this time, I became an addict.” The drugs were around, I had friends who used them on and off, through high school and college. Then I tried it and it was one of those things where you try it and you think, Well, that was fun, but this won’t be a problem for me.
How quickly did you get hooked?
It took six months from the first time I tried it to doing it all the time, all day every day.
What was so seductive?
When you’re on [crystal meth] you have the most energy in the world. You think, Oh, I could do anything. You’re just flying around. You’re organizing stupid things, like your sock drawer, over and over again. You have this feeling of total power and ability.
If that was the delusion, what was the reality?
When you come off of it, you feel hollow, like someone scooped out your insides. The only thing that you know might fill you back up, because you’ve isolated yourself so far from your family and your friends, is taking more drugs. It becomes this vicious cycle of doing it, feeling horrible afterwards and then just wanting to get high again so you can escape feeling so low.
Your husband, Shaun Holguin, is a Los Angeles police officer. Did he know?
He had no idea. The amount of lying and covering up was insane. I would be doing drugs in the bathroom and Shaun would knock on the door, asking me if everything was okay and I would just lie to him. I lied about why I wasn’t sleeping, why I’d lost 30 lbs. I got down to about 100 lbs.
What finally convinced you to deal with your addiction?
There just finally came a point where I thought, I can’t do this anymore. It was an accumulation of two years of disappointing myself and disappointing everyone around me. And it was so exhausting. I went to my parents and my husband and said, “I need help and I can’t do this on my own. I need to get sober.” They were hurt, but incredibly supportive. They said, “We’ll do whatever you need.”
Where did you do your rehab?
In Malibu. I was an inpatient for six weeks and then I moved into a house with people from rehab for six months. For the first time in a really long time—maybe ever—I was with just myself. I’d gone from living with my parents to being married and living with my husband. I hadn’t ever spent any time on my own figuring out what I wanted.
What’s become of your marriage?
My husband and I went through some definite trust issues because of all the lying. He and I are going through a divorce, but we’re still really good friends. It’s not ugly.
Who do you lean on now?
My Full House family has been really supportive. People always ask me, “If you could go back in time and do it over again, do you wish you hadn’t been on a TV series?” Not at all. I had the best experience ever. I was surrounded by a second family of people. All of us—John [Stamos] with his divorce, Mary-Kate and Ashley [Olsen], me—we’ve all been through public things. It makes us more empathetic and supportive of one another. And my real family has been amazing. I have a list of people I can call at 3 a.m. and say, “Can you come over and bring hot chocolate?”
How do you feel now?
Life is so good. I’ve had so many people say to me, Your light is shining again, it had been out for such a long time. I am in this amazing acting class right now, five days a week for four hours. I hope this [experience] is a side note for me, and the start of another career, a new beginning.