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December 10, 2014 04:30 PM

Columbus Short, who lost his job on ABC’s Scandal and has faced a number of legal woes, admitted Monday that substance abuse was to blame for his problems.

“I’ll be candid. I was struggling with drugs,” Short, 32, told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover on Access Hollywood Live on Wednesday. “I had a lot on my plate, and you know, I was using unhealthy ways to kind of self-medicate and deal with a lot of heavy duty stuff in my life.”

When asked what types of drugs he was using, Short said “real drugs” like cocaine. He said he was also drinking a lot to “balance a 16-hour work schedule a day, and a family, and, I just lost myself back then.”

Shorted admitted that his old boss Shonda Rhimes, as well as the Scandal cast, knew about his problems with substance abuse.

“They protected me and they held me down,” he said. “And that was one of the real reasons … they just wanted me to get my stuff together. Sometimes the bottom has to be dropped out for you to really get it. So I moved to Atlanta. I’ve been living there for the last five months, five-and-a-half months, and it’s just been great. It’s been life-changing.”

Most importantly, Short would like to return to Olivia Pope and Associates – even though his character, Harrison, was killed in last season’s finale.

“I’m really ready to get back to work,” he said. “As far as Shonda’s shows, I would love nothing more to go back to Scandal. It’s my family.”

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