“It was a bad presence in my life,” recalled Romano, who is now five years sober.
Christy Carlson Romano is recalling how alcohol “almost ruined” her life — and how she overcame her struggles with drinking.
On Tuesday, the actress shared a video to her YouTube channel in which she opened up about her past battle with alcohol, which she said began when she was just a teenager.
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“I started drinking when I was 16 and I had an older sister who I thought was so cool,” Romano, 37, began. “A lot of times, she would be going out to places and I would sort of tag along. New York City, a lot of times I was already in the city. I was able to kind of spend the night or sleepover. I would go out with her, just getting exposed to nightlife culture. … It was like some wild dream. And you got to be a part of it. You know, it was this fantasy. It was this allure of empowerment, so you thought, and just a complete disconnection from the outside world.”
“When you’re young, you’re like, ‘Wow, this is a safe space,'” she continued. “You don’t see all the bad things that happen behind closed doors. You don’t really think about that. You just think about the music and dancing and dressing up and looking good.”
“The thing is that once you lock in a habit, a habit can become something that becomes a part of your personality, especially when you’re young,” Romano added. “So what I wasn’t realizing was that I had a little bit of shyness from being sort of an awkward preteen and tween. What was happening was I was learning how to have fun as long as alcohol was involved.”
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The “Even Stevens” alum explained that she wasn’t “waking up and drinking,” but was “binge drinking,” which she said she did “for many years.”
The following day after she would go out drinking, Romano said she experienced “more than just a hangover,” sharing that “it got to the point where [she] would sleep until it was time for [her] to wake up to get ready to go out to drink” again.
“It’s just really not fun when you kind of lose yourself to a lifestyle,” she added.
The “Cadet Kelly” actress revealed she also became “really depressed.” She explained, “As I wasn’t working and I was depressed and I would have breakups, I would want to go out because that would help me get out of the mindset of wherever I was, the depression, so that I could just go straight somewhere and maybe I could meet someone new and have a new relationship, or maybe I could have this false sense of self when I go out and feel good.”
The “Kim Possible” star said she learned her depression stemmed from her drinking, due to the fact that alcohol itself is a depressant.
“So compound regular alcohol usage with everything else that life gives you. And then you’re really looking at the perfect formula for somebody to stay down,” she explained, adding that she wasn’t eating healthy or exercising.
While Romano said went on a “very low dose” of an antidepressant “for about a month,” it wasn’t effective since she “couldn’t stop drinking,” noting that alcohol was “so embedded” into her lifestyle.
“Having alcohol in my life influenced a lot of the negative thought process that I had,” Romano explained. “I wasn’t understanding my self-worth, I wasn’t very accountable for my actions, and I was quite numb about what I was doing to people.”
“I wasn’t thinking clearly about the future,” she added. “When I was drinking, I was never thinking about being a mom. In fact, it was the furthest thing from my mind. I could barely take care of myself. I didn’t really have any goals. I didn’t have any dreams. I didn’t have a lot of feelings. A lot of those things were just pushed down. Alcohol kept pushing them down for me. It wasn’t helping me. It wasn’t giving me anything I could grow from. It was a bad presence in my life.”
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The “Deadly Daycare” actress — who shares daughters Isabella, 4, and Sophia, 2, with husband Brendan Rooney — went on to recall that she made the decision to stop drinking after she discovered that she was expecting her first child.
“Something about finding out that I was pregnant changed everything for me,” said Romano, praising Rooney for being “so patient” with her and for being “a support system.” She also added that her daughters ultimately “saved [her] life” and “save [her] life every day.”
The singer noted that she’s “not actively in a 12-step program,” but she went to “several years of Al-Anon meetings” and “learned all about the 12 steps.” Romano shared that she thinks drinking “shouldn’t be glamorized the way that it is by our society.” She also said she drinks mocktails and revealed there is “no alcohol” in her house.
Romano — who is five years sober — concluded her video by discussing sobriety.
“I can see the benefits of not drinking and being sober. I look younger, I feel happier — obviously, more consistently,” she shared. “I can grow and learn more about myself and my emotional journey. I can do so much more. It’s a better way of life to not have alcohol in your life.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.