Drug Addiction: Todd Bridges' Story Video

Todd Bridges, former child star and recovering addict, shares his story of drug abuse and addiction in his book, Killing Willis: From Diff'rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted.
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Drug Addiction - Todd Bridges' Story Dr. Travis Stork: We do know the dangers of drugs and you yourself admitted your journey has not always been easy. Todd Bridges: No, it wasn’t. I'm 17 years over on October 23rd 1993, and I did a lot of stuff. I will have my bag. I've been to a lot of poverty and killed a lot of people, and at one point in my life, I was trying to kill myself. But my journey was very different. I had a lot of things happened as a child growing up that’s retold in my book that explains why I made those choices because I didn’t like myself very much. I thought that that would help me, and during that era, drug addiction really wasn’t explained very well. It was like, “Just don’t do it.” Your parents say, “Don’t do it because I said don’t do it.” They didn’t explain to us why not to do it or the health risks or what could possibly happen but what I went into, I went into it and get addicted. I went into just try to fill that pain gap that I was going through, and I got addicted, and I couldn’t get out of it. The more and more I tried to quit, the more and more I've got deeper and deeper involved in it. Dr. Jim Sears: We’ve done several shows like this talking about to kids about drugs and everything, something I always want to ask them thinking about my kids as a father, “What can I do to maybe prevent my kid from going down that road?” Todd Bridges: Well, I have two kids also, 11 and 13. The best thing that you could do with the kids is tell them the truth. And actually treat them--I always say, “Treat your kids like mini adults.” Be respectful to them also. Give them respect, treat them with the dignity. Don’t just say, “Don’t do something.” Don’t explain why not to do something. What I explain to my children I tell them why not to do something, I take them through the steps of why they shouldn’t do it. And also, I tell them not only the dangers of drugs, I tell them what’s going to happen when you do it, “You're going to lose this, you're going to lose that.” So with me, it’s different. I've got pop in the video tape and saying, “This is going to be your life if you use drugs and alcohol”. You know what my son said, “I don’t like that.” I'm like, “No, you don’t.” Dr. Travis Stork: What advice do you have for someone who has already started to spiral down that path? Todd Bridges: Well, first of all, it’s going to take two people to help them quit drugs and alcohol: themselves and it’s going to be their parents. Most parents are very code dependency. Most parents want to really--they keep their kids addicted because they don’t want to believe their kids are doing drugs or they don’t want to really help their children. They want to keep giving them money. My mother caught me off. The last year of my drug addiction, my mother told me, “I will no longer help you do anything. If you want to call me to get into a treatment place, call me. If not, do not call.” Dr. Drew Ordon: You cannot be an enabler. Todd Bridges: No, if you enable your child, your child will die. That’s the bottom line. Do you want to be responsible killing your child? That’s the question you’d have to ask.

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