Jamie Foxx: Overcoming Alcoholism & Losing His Mind At 18

Jamie Foxx: Overcoming Alcoholism & Losing His Mind At 18

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(Photo credit: Instagram.com)

By Carter Higgins, BDO Contributor

Jamie Foxx is best known as the talented singer, actor and writer. In his many roles, Jamie always adds a little something extra that shows his incredible work ethic like in Any Given Sunday, or his comedic side as “Wanda” in the In Living Color series, or his award-winning serious acting in the biopic, Ray about the life and trial of Ray Charles.

But it was that during that time after playing Ray, that Jamie was almost about to lose it all due to his extreme partying and alcoholism.

It was Oprah and other members of the Black Hollywood that told Jamie he was going down the wrong path. Oprah told Jamie that he was ruining his career, and that it was high time that he straightened up, and said, “All of this gallivanting and all this kind of s**t that’s not what you want to do. I want to take you somewhere.” She then took him to a party where it was really an intervention that involved Quincy Jones, Sidney Poitier and a few other actors, who helped Jamie sober up, and pushed him towards living a more responsible life.

This wasn’t the first time that Jamie used alcohol to cope with different things going on in his life. When filming another role, Jamie reflected on something that happened in his teens that nearly took him over the age of insanity.

“I was in a bad place because I felt like I might be literally losing my mind,” Jamie says. “I’ve always had a childhood fear of losing my mind. I needed someone to help bring me out of it.”

That someone was a psychiatrist, whom Foxx started seeing midway through filming one of his lead roles. What he explored in the therapy sessions was a deep-seated dread of mental illness that was exacerbated by an incident when he was 18, when his drink was spiked by the hallucinogenic drug PCP (phencyclidine) at a college party.

Foxx had been playing piano since he was five years old, and at 18 he won a music scholarship to study at the United States International (now Alliant) University in San Diego. One night, at a party in the dorm, he was sipping a glass of whisky when he suddenly felt “terrible – the room was moving, the faces of the other people were contorted”. Someone had slipped PCP into his glass as a ‘practical joke’.

“I know who it was, but he wasn’t a friend. I was drinking whisky and it didn’t taste funny, so I had no idea. It took about 15 minutes and I knew something was wrong. I said to my room-mate … Read more on BDO