IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Dennis Quaid Talks 1980s Cocaine Habit: "Basically I Just Had My Head Stuck Up My Ass"

Great balls of fire! Dennis Quaid is more than a veteran actor with a great smile. He's also a former addict who kicked a cocaine habit 20 years ago.
/ Source: E!online

Great balls of fire!

Dennis Quaid is more than a veteran actor with a great smile. He's also a former addict who kicked a cocaine habit 20 years ago.

"By the time I was doing The Big Easy, in the late 1980s, I was a mess," Quaid writes in a personal essay for Newsweek, noting that he started using casually when he got to Hollywood in 1974. "I was getting an hour of sleep a night. I had a reputation for being a 'bad boy," which seemed like a good thing, but basically I just had my head stuck up my ass."

And bent over a table, apparently...

MORE: Dennis Quaid sues over twins' near-fatal overdose

"I'd wake up, snort a line, and swear I wasn't going to do it again that day," Quaid continued. "But then 4 o'clock rolled around, and I'd be right back down the same road like a little squirrel on one of those treadmills. The lack of sleep made it so my focus wasn't really there, which affected my acting. Addiction just keeps you from living; you're basically hiding from life."

After a night when he realized he "was going to be dead in five years" if he didn't stop, he checked into rehab.

Quaid says that his recovery years in the 1990s--he married Meg Ryan in 1991 and their son, Jack, was born the following year--finally "chiseled [him] into a person."

And since Quaid says he doesn't know if he'd still be acting if he hadn't gone through such a transformative period postrehab...

Well, then we're doubly glad he did.

WATCH: Quaid's Soul Surfer costar, Carrie Underwood, discusses making the true-life story