(LOS ANGELES) — Melanie Griffith says her family saved her. In a revealing new interview, Griffith, 54, told the Los Angeles Times, “My daughters really sat me down and said, ‘Look Mom, this is what it is. You really need to get help.’”
Founder of Full Circle Intervention Kristina Wandzilak explained, “Often times it takes for an addict to hear from the people that love them most, exactly how they’re being affected by the choices of the addiction.”
Griffith, mother of four, credits her two daughters for opening her eyes. “I couldn’t have done it without them. I really couldn’t have. And I’m so grateful,” she said. “I see now, I just didn’t get it before. It doesn’t mean that I’m stupid. It’s just that that’s what the disease is.”
Daughters Dakota, 22, and Stella, 15, were the determining factors for getting clean. Dakota is Griffith’s daughter from her previous marriage to actor Don Johnson. Stella is the only child Griffith and long-time husband Antonio Banderas have together.
Griffith’s 2009 stint in rehab was the third time for the Academy Award nominated actress. She has struggled with alcohol and cocaine addiction in the past, first seeking help after the success of her breakout film, “Working Girl.”
Banderas told AARP The Magazine they’ve never hidden Griffith’s addictions from the children.
“The pretending is the worst, because kids are so smart,” Banderas said. “They can see through all of those things, and if you don’t talk openly about problems, it creates a very dark place. They carry that through the rest of their lives, to their marriages, to their kids,” he explained.
In 2000, she went back to rehab for a painkiller addiction. Two years later, she spoke to ABC’s Diane Sawyer about that difficult period alongside husband, Banderas.
“It was horrible, Diane,” Griffith said. “I never tried heroin, but they say that it’s like that. You detox and it’s like you’re out of control. Your body physically is a different entity from your soul. It was so…” Griffith had a difficult time putting it into words.
“Potent,” Sawyer suggested.
“Scary and potent,” Griffith agrees. “You don’t have any idea. You need help. You really do.”
Now clean for three years, Griffith says life is better. On July 8 she wraps up the play No Way Around But Through at the Falcon Theatre in Los Angeles.
And while her return to acting is not on the big screen, she says she is at peace.
“I’m not desperate anymore or feeling weird about myself because I’m not working in this business. I’m older and wiser and there’s a lot more to life,” said Griffith.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio