“Glee” Actress Jane Lynch Says Alcoholism Began as Young Teen
Actress Jane Lynch recently surprised fans with a story from Oprah Magazine and in a forthcoming memoir revealing her struggle with alcoholism, a battle that began in her early teen years and spanned into her early 30s.
Like many teens that begin experimenting with alcohol, Lynch said the habit began as a way to cope with poor self-esteem and the belief that something within herself was beyond repair. Other symptoms of self-esteem problems as a teen included a tendency to thank people excessively and to apologize too often. Lynch, most recently known for her role as Sue Sylvester on the hit television show "Glee," said in the interview that portraying rule-oriented, angry Sue Sylvester on the show is not far removed from feelings she has carried in the past.
The actress has kept the addiction and her recovery separate from fans during her career, which has also included Christopher Guest movies "A Mighty Wind" and "Best in Show." During the long stretch of alcohol addiction from age 14 to age 31, Lynch said she doesn’t recall if she ever experienced sobriety. Lynch also reveals in her memoir that she struggled to reach her acting dreams, having left the high school play in which she earned a part as a freshman.
Jane Lynch’s memoir is scheduled for release in the fall of 2011 and will address her struggle to reach alcoholism recovery, as well as her struggles to overcome low self-esteem. Recovery, says Lynch, was extremely difficult but led her to become a stronger person and friend. She also said that having experienced addiction and recovery, she’s better able to set aside her own emotions and allow people to experience their own emotions.
In 2008, Lynch, who is a Golden Globe winner and an Emmy winner, earned a role in a sitcom about a man who gains sobriety and works to find his place in a different kind of life, apart from alcohol abuse. However, the sitcom wasn’t scheduled by any major networks and this allowed Lynch to be available for her now famous role in "Glee."
Facts About Teen Drug Abuse
Lynch’s story of early experimentation with alcohol is a repeated trend. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, teen binge drinking is rising in the U.S. Every year, around 5,000 teens lose their life in connection with alcohol consumption. A Monitoring the Future study showed that 75 percent of high school seniors, more than 66 percent of sophomores and 40 percent of eighth graders have experimented with alcohol. About 29 percent of seniors had admitted to binge drinking in the past 14 days.
Research indicates that the younger a teen begins to experiment with alcohol, the greater their likelihood of participating in other risky behaviors. In 2003, a teen’s average age at which they began to try alcohol was 14, compared to 17.5 during the 1960s.