Former Disney star Christy Carlson Romano is opening up about alcohol "almost ruined" her life, following the end of "Even Stevens" in 2003.
In a YouTube video posted to her channel Tuesday, Romano, 37, revealed that she began binge drinking at age 16 to help cope with feelings of shyness. Soon, she was a regular in the New York City nightlife scene where consuming several glasses of wine in a few hours was “socially acceptable.”
“As I wasn’t working and I was depressed … I would want to go out because that would help me get out of the mindset of whatever I was in,” Romano shared. But the next day, she would wake up feeling even worse and just sleep until it was time to go out again.
“Alcohol is a depressant,” Romano explained. “Compound regular alcohol usage with everything else that life gives you and you’re really looking at the perfect formula for someone to stay down.”
At one point, Romano went on a low dose of antidepressants, but they didn’t work because she was still drinking heavily.
“I didn’t really have any goals, I didn’t really have any dreams, I didn’t have a lot of feelings. Alcohol kept pushing them down,” she said. “It wasn’t helping me. It wasn’t giving me anything I could grow from. It was a bad presence in my life.”
The "Kim Possible" alum, who shares daughters Isabella, 4, and Sophia, 2, with husband, Brendan Rooney, stopped drinking after she learned that she was expecting her first child. In July, she celebrated five years of sobriety. Though Romano is not in a 12-step program, she practices the same principles and doesn't keep any alcohol in her home.
“(My daughters) save my life every day,” she said. “I know I have something to fight for and stay sober for.”
Romano noted that it’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.
“I look younger. I feel happier,” she said. “I can do so much more.”
Romano first opened up about her journey in a 2018 essay for Teen Vogue.
“While many witnessed my co-star Shia LaBeouf struggle publicly, I have largely suffered in silence,” Romano wrote. “Nothing could have prepared me for fame and the responsibilities that came with being on television screens everywhere.”