Beliefnet

How did your faith life change during this period of time?

I started listening to Him, really listening to that inner voice that God is speaking through and realizing that I had choices to make. Most of them were about straightening out my life and getting my life together. I couldn't continue to stay with hate and anger in my heart because God is not full of hate and anger. God's full of love and joy. I just realized that things in my life had to be different.

Can you explain the title of your book "Killing Willis"? Some may get the impression that you resent the character you're best known for.

No, I don't resent Willis. The reason why [the title is] "Killing Willis" is because I was trying to kill me, and trying to kill me is killing a part of me, which was Willis. And because I was so known for Willis, I was trying to destroy Todd Bridges. That's not something I should have been doing, but that's what I was trying to do. I was trying to also to kill Willis, so I was killing Willis.

You had a very close relationship with actor Corey Haim, who recently passed away, and attempted to help him get sober. It seems he's just the latest in a string of celebrities who are dying from drugs—he battled a very public addiction. What do you think is happening in Hollywood?

We can't blame Hollywood. It's not Hollywood. If you look at the obituaries, you're going to see a lot of people dying of drugs or dying of drug-related incidents. But we want to pinpoint Hollywood or ex-child stars. It's a very small percentage [of celebrities dying from drugs].

I always tell people for every child star you name who has gone wrong, I will name you 20 who haven't. But it seems like the media focuses only on child stars that are doing bad. And it's a very small percentage--maybe 2 percent. In my era, there was only like eight, nine of us who had problems, and there were a lot of child stars back then.

Do you think that for a lot of the former child stars in the media who have "fallen from grace" it is more than just a drug problem? Is it depression from going from being at the top of the game and popular to then not being in demand anymore?

No, because all the ones who were at the top of their game are [still] at the top of their game right now. Look at Robert Downey Jr., Christian Slater, Charlie Sheen, Drew Barrymore. Those people are working like crazy right now.

So, obviously, it wasn't that. It's other things. It's not having the love you need from the right kind of parents. It's going through a lot of things in your life at an early age that you would experience either way it went, whether you were famous or whether you were not famous.

People have got to realize, when we were out there using drugs and buying drugs, we weren't buying it from The Brady Bunch. You're buying it from everyday normal people. And there are people with those other kind of problems. You read the obituaries; you don't read about child stars dying every day, but you read about other people dying every single day. Have you ever heard of a child star going and shooting up a school? Of a child star going crazy and killing his friends? The only thing that we ever hurt is ourselves. I think that that's something that has to be told.

What advice do you have for others struggling with addiction?

If you're struggling with addiction you have to somehow find out how to stop. When you find out how to stop, you have to learn how to forgive yourself. That's why "Killing Willis" is important for people who are addicted and people who are not addicted, people who want to learn how to stay sober, people who want to learn how to get somebody off of drugs and alcohol.

There are all kind of addictions in America. And we seem to want to focus only on drug addiction. There are other addictions that are killing people just as fast. But it just seems like we always focus on the negative aspect of people's problems. We never focus in on the solution.

How do you expect someone to get help if all you're focusing on is the negative? "This guy has a drug problem, that guy has a drug problem." Why don't you help the guy solve his drug problem? Why don't you help him through it? Why are you making him torture himself more by the things that you're saying and the ridicule?

I think, not just Hollywood, but America is great on building people up and tearing them down. We love that. An ordinary person on the street could have had a really bad drug problem when he was a child, but no one would ever know. But, with [child stars], everybody knows because [the media] puts it out there so much.

I've got 17 years of sobriety, but people think I was sober [just] yesterday because the media has made it seem like that's all I've been doing is doing drugs for the last 17 years, and I've been sober for the last 17 years. I really think that the media does us an injustice.

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