Sam Shepard continues to struggle with alcohol addiction which he calls his “insidious disease”. Despite seeking treatment in the past, it is still something which clearly affects him to this day.
He is a seventy one year old playwright and actor known for his role in movies such as Mud, The Notebook, Black Hawk Down, Steel Magnolias, The Pelican Brief, Safe House and many more.
This past Monday night Shepard was arrested in Santa Fe, New Mexico under the suspicion of drunk driving. A security guard noticed a customer driving a pickup truck with the emergency brake on and phoned the police.
The actor refused to take a breathalyzer test and failed the sobriety test that the police officer conducted. In his statement he told the officer that he had two drinks of tequila and was just trying to get home.
Santa Fe police said that the officer on duty had clear indications of intoxication such as bloodshot eyes, watery eyes and that his breath smelled of alcohol. As a result he spent the night safely behind bars and was released Tuesday on bail.
The successful actor has run into the law before because of his addiction. He’s been arrested at least a couple times for drunk driving and even plead guilty to it in 2009.
Shepard gave an interview in the late nineties with the Paris Review and discussed his alcoholism. Below are two exerts from that meeting.
- “My history with booze goes back to high school. Back then there was a lot of Benzedrine around, and since we lived near the Mexican border I’d just run over, get a bag of bennies and drink ripple wine. Speed and booze together make you quite … omnipotent. You don’t feel any pain. I was actually in several car wrecks that I don’t understand how I survived.”
- “For a long time I didn’t think I had a problem, until I confronted it I wasn’t aware that it was creeping up on me. I finally did AA in the hardcore down on Pico Boulevard [in Los Angeles]. I said, ‘Don’t put me in with Elton John or anything, just throw me to the lions.’”
He is a true example of how powerful addiction can be. Even being an award winning actor doesn’t cure you of the terrible disease. We can only hope that he’ll seek the help he needs, like he has in the past, and take it one day at a time.