Lifestyle Health Lucy Hale Recalls 'Dark Place' Being a 'Textbook Binge Drinker' Before Her Sobriety “One of my best friends died of alcoholism and that still didn’t make me want to get sober,” the actress said on The Diary of a CEO podcast By Vanessa Etienne Vanessa Etienne Twitter Vanessa Etienne is an Emerging Content Writer-Reporter for PEOPLE. People Editorial Guidelines Published on February 23, 2023 01:08 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Lucy Hale. Photo: Daniele Venturelli/Getty Lucy Hale is speaking about her journey to sobriety for the first time. On Thursday's episode of The Diary of a CEO podcast, the Pretty Little Liars alum opened up about her struggles with alcoholism over the years. "I have never talked publicly about being sober – I have a little over a year of sobriety," she said. "I have been working on getting sober since I was 20; I'm 33. It took time. It took patience with myself." "I just held on to that belief that the real Lucy came out when she was drinking," she continued. "It also quieted my mind… my brain just doesn't shut off and it's exhausting. I was a textbook binge drinker, blackout, wouldn't remember what I did or what I said, which is scary." Hale said she's had a problem with alcohol since her first experience drinking at age 14, admitting that there was never a period in her life where she was a "normal moderate drinker." "I was willing to go to this crazy dark place every time," she added. "Of course I tried to be a moderate drinker, just having two. I have an allergy to alcohol. I cannot drink. I view it as an allergy; my brain doesn't work the same way as someone who can just have a glass of wine. It always wants more. It's craving that feeling." Lucy Hale Celebrates 1 Year of Sobriety: 'You Are Not Alone and You Are Loved' Lucy Hale Opens Up About Going Through a 'Dark Time' After Pretty Little Liars Ended in 2017 Host Steven Bartlett then asked the actress if any of her loved ones staged an intervention or gave her ultimatums. Hale said addressing her addiction wasn't something others could force her to do. "I tried to change for boyfriends, I tried to change for my mum, I tried to change for my career, I tried to change for vain reasons – 'I'll look younger and look skinnier. I'll stop drinking for that.' One of my best friends died of alcoholism and that still didn't make me want to get sober," she said. "None of that s— works. Alcohol isn't the problem. The problem is this feeling inside of me." The Hating Game star said it was up to her to actually want to get sober. She said she finally made that commitment on January 2, 2022 because she realized she "deserves more out of this life." For Hale, finally sharing her sobriety journey after so many years is "freeing" and she said being alcohol-free feels "peaceful." Lucy Hale celebrating one year of sobriety with a cake. Lucy Hale/Instagram Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Last week, Hale celebrated her first year of sobriety on Instagram with a picture of a festive round cake, the words "1 Year!" written in yellow on top of the lavender frosting, lined with multi-colored sprinkles. "Bear with me, this is an alternative Valentine's Day post," she wrote of her personal journey. "This is a post about self-love and about the greatest thing I've ever done. On Jan. 2, 2023, I celebrated one year of sobriety." "While this journey has mostly been private," she continued, "I felt compelled to tonight to let anyone who is struggling know that you are not alone and you are loved." If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.