“How close were you to dying?” Diane Sawyer asked Cameron Douglas during an ABC interview.
“Probably pretty close,” he said.
For the Douglas Family, addiction has touched almost everyone. Recently, Cameron Douglas, son of actor Michael Douglas and grandson of Kirk Douglas opened up about his past drug addiction in his new memoir, “Long Way Home.”
In the interview with Diane Sawyer, Cameron sat down with his infamous Father and discussed the details of his harrowing journey to sobriety and the impact his use had on his family.
They now hopes their story will inspire others.
“A Path Out of Loneliness”
Cameron, 40, recounted that his issues began at the age of seven when he realized his father was cheating on his mother and after watching his famous family members constantly involved in partying.
At age 13 he was regularly using marijuana. By the time he was 15, he was snorting cocaine, which led to crystal meth at 17, liquid cocaine at 19 and heroin at the age of 26.
“As I got older, I would creep from house to house on the compound, climbing balconies and seeing more than I was supposed to: beautiful grown-ups doing the things that beautiful grown-ups living lives of excess do,” Douglas said.
“Even as a really young kid, I remember running joints back and forth,” he writes in the book. “Dad would say, ‘Hey, bring this over to your uncle,’ and I would, not realizing until years later what it had been.”
His spiral into drug addiction ruined a promising career as a deejay and actor. Drugs were “for me, a path out of loneliness,” Cameron writes.
By his 20s, Cameron was carrying a gun and dealing methamphetamines to support his spiraling habit. At one point, Cameron said he was using IV cocaine every few hours, often pushing himself close to overdosing. He said “probably the lowest point” was robbing an elderly woman working at a motel, who only had $20. He had been in and out of rehab 11 times before hitting his mid-20s.
On July 28, 2009, he was arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration in a sting operation and later pleaded guilty to heroin possession and conspiracy to distribute drugs. He served seven years and was released in 2016.
The same year, Michael Douglas, who himself battled drug and alcohol addiction noted that prison was his son’s last hope for survival.
“A Chance To Start A New Life”
“My son has not been sober for this length of time since he was 13 years old,” he said at the time. “He was going to be dead or somebody was gonna kill him. I think he has a chance to start a new life, and he knows that.”
For years, his father encouraged him to seek help, once promising Cameron a starring role in a film alongside his grandfather, Kirk. Cameron starred in the film but eventually turned back to drugs.
In another attempt, Michael hired two men to kidnap his son and take him to rehab, but the job was called off after Cameron became too aggressive, he said.
“I think everything made me angry,” Cameron recalled. “I was so angry at myself.”
After that attempt, Cameron and Michael stopped talking for “quite a while.” Michael cut his son off, he said.
“We had reached a point where I thought I was going to lose him based on everything I’d seen,” Michael said. “And I was not willing to emotionally commit anymore.”
“There were moments when hope dwindled… and then it’s just a train out of the station,” said the Oscar winner. “You go from compassion for somebody you love and worry about and you balance that with your own hostility and anger as it begins to increase… I remember him looking at me and I said, ‘Listen, you know I love you but I am going to protect myself and the family.”
Today, free from jail since 2016 and sober, Cameron and his father have regained a tight bond.
“I’m very proud of him, not only for the book but for the way he conducts his life,” Michael Douglas noted. “He’s talking the talk and walking the walk.”
Douglas also says in his memoir that he credits his father’s second wife, the actor Catherine Zeta-Jones, for helping to repair the fractured relationship between him and his father.
“[It was Catherine] pushing him to extend his paternal love to me,” Douglas writes. “One day, we’re hanging out and he says, ‘I don’t know how you did it. How you went through the things you did.’ It’s the first time he’s ever acknowledged it quite like that.”
Today, Cameron is raising his 22-month-old daughter with longtime girlfriend Viviane Thiebes, a yoga instructor. He’s also working on restarting an acting career and carries deep gratitude that his family never gave up on him. He also hopes sharing his story will help other addicts “seek help – and maybe save a life,” says Cameron.