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Edie Falco on the moment she knew she had to stop drinking

The "Sopranos" actor shared the moment she knew she needed to cut back.
Edie Falco
Edie Falco explained why she took up drinking — and why she stopped. (Photo by Francis Specker/CBS via Getty Images)CBS via Getty Images

Edie Falco was a talented actor from an early age, but she was reticent to be in the spotlight — and ended up using alcohol to compensate. Falco, 58, found that while drinking could help alleviate some of her issues, it also led to many more, she told The Guardian.

When asked if she used drinking to help deal with her shyness when she began acting, she replied, "Totally."

"I was a non-drinker for years, then I had my first drink at college and I found nirvana," the "Sopranos" actor continued. "It was the answer to all my problems, and the cause of all my other problems."

Falco said she didn't use other substances the same way. "But only because I didn’t have any money," she explained. "I was a big fan of cocaine if it was around, but I could never afford any, and marijuana just gave me anxiety." Alcohol became such a big part of her life that it even impacted her dating choices: "I’d wait to hear how quickly they’d mention alcohol, and that’s how I knew they were the next guy," she said.

But she clarified that it wasn't her idea for her titular character on "Nurse Jackie" to deal with a drug addiction because the subject was "way too close to me, and I had a hard time with the idea of a comedy about addiction," she told The Guardian. In fact, Falco urged the show's writers to end the show with Jackie either getting help for her substance use issues or dying "so people know what it’s like."

Falco gave up drinking at age 29 when she woke up one morning to find that she had left her apartment door open after a long night of drinking. At that moment, Falco knew it was time to cut back and make some changes.

From there, she began to land larger roles. Just a few years later she landed her acclaimed role as Carmela Soprano. Most recently, Falco played Hillary Clinton in "Impeachment: American Crime Story."