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Oprah's first Samuel L. Jackson experience was seeing his convincing portrayal of a drug addict in the 1991 Spike Lee film Jungle Fever. Samuel says his character in the movie wasn't very far from what had been his reality. Samuel says he used drugs for 23 years and had just left rehab two weeks before filming started. "I didn't need a lot of makeup—I was still kind of detoxing," Samuel says.

How did he kick the habit? Samuel says he made the decision to quit using drugs once and for all when he hit rock bottom—his wife and daughter found him passed out on the floor with cocaine still cooking on the stove. "There is no formula," he says of recovery. "You just have to kind of make up your mind that you're sick and tired of doing what you're doing and you want to change your life." Samuel spent 28 days in rehab, completing a 12-step program and attending Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

Fortunately, he's been clean ever since—not to mention that he's become a huge success. "As soon as I came out [of rehab] and I did Jungle Fever, my life changed," Samuel says. "I became this person ... I'm a much better actor than I was then because I can see."
FROM: Oprah's Embarrassing Night with Legend Neil Diamond
Published on January 16, 2006


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