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Dennis Quaid Says Faith Saved Him From Cocaine Addiction

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Dennis Quaid found fame — right alongside drugs — a long time before he found God.

The “Frequency” actor, a household name for decades, told People in an interview published Wednesday that cocaine addiction almost ruined his career. Quaid, 69, said he has since found salvation in religion, and believes he would be “death or in jail” without it.

“I remember going home and having kind of a white light experience that I saw myself either dead or in jail or losing everything I had, and I didn’t want that,” he told the outlet. “I was in a band, and we got a gig … They broke up the night they got it.”

Quaid continued: “And they broke up because of me, because I was not reliable.”

After his starring role in “Breaking Away” (1979), Quaid said he was using up to 2 grams per day.

“Cocaine at that time was considered harmless,” Quaid told Larry King in 2002. “You know. I remember magazine articles in People magazine of doctors saying, it is not addicting. It is just — alcohol is worse. So I think we all fell into that. But that’s not the way it was.”

The “Dragonheart” star previously admitted he “never liked the feeling of being drunk” and only used alcohol “to come down” from his cocaine binges.

Quaid checked into rehab in 1990 — or “cocaine school” as he called it this week — and said he found lifelong sobriety.

Quaid is anticipating Friday's release of his new album, “Fallen: A Gospel Record For Sinners.”
Quaid is anticipating Friday’s release of his new album, “Fallen: A Gospel Record For Sinners.”

Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press

“I’m grateful to still be here, I’m grateful to be alive really every day,” he told People. “It’s important to really enjoy your ride in life as much as you can, because there’s a lot of challenges and stuff to knock it down.”

Quaid started studying religious scripture of all sorts and began by rereading the Bible before taking to the Quran and the Hindu Bhagavad Gita. He told People the journey gave him a “personal relationship” with a higher power.

“Before that, I didn’t have one,” he told the outlet, “even though I grew up as a Christian.”

Quaid was raised as a Baptist and wrote “On My Way to Heaven” in 2018 as an ode to his renewed faith. He returned to the “self-reflective” hymns of his childhood to do so, he said, and is set to release a new album on Friday: “Fallen: A Gospel Record For Sinners.”

“It’s a struggle,” Quaid told People. “We’re all looking for the joy of life, and drugs give that to you and alcohol and whatever it is for anybody give that to you really quick. Then they’re fun and then they’re fun with problems, and then they’re just problems after a while.”

“I’m the happiest I’ve ever been,” he added.

Need help with substance use disorder or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.



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