Former Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Eliza Dushku opened up about her struggle with substance abuse and addiction in a speech to students in New Hampshire.

ELIZA DUSHKU SPEECH ON DRUG ADDICTION

Dushku, 36, gave an impassioned speech about addiction and its consequences to the students, who were attending a Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness. “I’m an actress sometimes, I’m a Bostonian, I’m an auntie, I’m a sister, and I’m a daughter,” she began. “Something a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’m also an alcoholic and I was a drug addict for a lot of years,” she said. “You hear people say ‘I am that because I am that and I’m always going to be that,’ but the difference between me and an alcoholic or a drug addict that still drinks and does drugs is that I am sober.”

Eight and a half years sober to be exact. Dushku started using at 14-years-old. She began acting on Buffy at 17, nearly 20 years ago.

She then explained what made her what it was that finally made her seek help, what she says was the hardest thing she had to do. “I loved the first time I took a drug because I loved how it made me feel, I loved the way it made me not feel, I didn’t have to feel,” she said. “It was fun and I loved it until it wasn’t. Drugs didn’t love me, they didn’t love my family. They definitely didn’t love my friends that died, I have a lot of friends that are dead.” Her speech got more emotional when she described some people she lost and crying with their parents.

But then she became more hopeful. “I still dance on table tops,” she said to applause from the crowd. “I still have such amazing times and I connect with people. And I’ll be honest, I got sober at first for my family, because I got to a point where I felt so sick about myself, I was depressed, I didn’t like myself. But I love my family.”

She finished up by spewing hope and confidence to the youth in the group. “Today I have a really good time. I get to be an actress, I’m back in college, I’m a college student at 36-years-old. Something I always wanted to do and I didn’t get to do for a lot of years because i was on a different path,” she said. “I got sober for my family, but today I’m sober for me and I’m sober for you because drugs and alcohol are powerful, but we’re more powerful, you guys.”

Watch her powerful 9-minute speech below.

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