From the Podcast: Jodie Sweetin – Her Public Road to Recovery, Motherhood, and Growing from Full House to a Full Life
Playing the classic middle child and melting our hearts with her classic catchphrases like, “Hot dog” and “Well, pin a rose on your nose,” Jodie Sweetin shares her battle with addiction on episode 57 of The Courage to Change: A Recovery Podcast. On this very special episode, Jodie speaks with Ashley about what it was like growing up in the limelight, her battle with addiction, and being a mother in recovery. You can listen to how Jodie faced her demons, found herself and told her truth here.
Growing Up in the Limelight
Jodie was a very bright and smart kid from an early age. She landed the role of Stephanie Tanner on “Full House” at the age of five and from there her world exploded. She no longer just did commercials and dance recitals, but worked alongside big-time actors who became like family to her. The show ended in 1995, and at the age of 14 Jodie began drinking.
While many would attribute her addiction to being a child star, Jodie explains, “No, not in my situation at all.” Her first 14 months of life were very traumatic and although she has no memory of it, she acknowledges that it had a deep-rooted effect on her relationships later in life. She always knew she was adopted, but at the age of 12 she learned the full story of her biological parents. She also believes she would have struggled with addiction regardless of her fame, largely due to a very strong biological predisposition to alcoholism and addiction.
She struggled with her identity, stepping into the shoes of her television character, Stephanie Tanner, for so many years. She didn’t know if she was a reflection of her loving adoptive parents or her long lost biological parents. She realized early on, that this was in large part due to her using alcohol and drugs.
Getting Sober in the Limelight
In 2011, Jodie was prescribed muscle relaxers that she began taking recreationally. On the relaxers and in the midst of a severe relapse, Jodie got into a car accident that gave her the clarity she needed to really get sober. Choosing to enter a treatment program, her addiction was leaked by someone she was introduced to and from there her recovery journey was made public. While she hoped she could recover privately, she believes that because her journey was so public, she is stronger by it.
Jodie went through the 12 Steps and rigorous therapy to work on her trauma. While on her recovery journey, she took an eye-opening solo trip to Thailand that gave her the sense of freedom and peace she needed to know that she could carry on life sober. She let go of her “perfectionist” tendencies and just lived in the moment. She describes the trip as, “the starting point of a very new way in which I treated myself.”
As the world navigates addiction during a pandemic, Jodie is now faced with attending virtual meetings where she doesn’t know if what she says is off the record or being recorded. Because of who she is, she gets a lot of inquiries to be a sponsor but never knows if the intentions are truly genuine or if people are just using her for her fame.
During her early years of recovery, Jodie took some time away from the film industry to focus on herself. She went back to school, got her degree and worked in treatment centers for about six years. Working her way up as the director of operations for large-scale facilities, she learned things about herself that set her up for success to go back into the film industry. The experience let her know that she was capable of doing other things.
She got a second chance with “Full House” when the concept of “Fuller House” was introduced. Juggling Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, parenting and reconnecting with the “Full House” family, Jodie began pitching “Fuller House” to networks with her old co-stars. Eventually the show was picked up by Netflix, and after five incredible seasons, it ended on June 2nd.
Being a Mother in Recovery
Jodie has two daughters and, like the rest of the world, she is wearing many hats as a mother in recovery and a mother during a pandemic. Along with teacher, chef, driver, nurse, therapist, and the many other roles she is now playing, Jodie works hard to ensure she takes small moments to herself to focus on her recovery.
With her youngest daughter drawn to performing arts and her oldest drawn to sports, she goes above and beyond to give her kids the avenues they need to express themselves, but is cautious to push them further knowing her past and what she’s gone through.
She is open about her addiction with her children. They know she attends meetings and that she doesn’t drink. The 12 Steps have largely influenced Jodie’s parenting style and she places the principles and spiritual elements to the 12 Steps in front of her children. Whether they realize it or not, she hopes that should they ever find themselves in her situation, that they’ll realize the tools were always right in front of them.
Jodie is now nine years sober and spreading her story through a variety of platforms. To get a real, raw and unedited version of Jodie’s story you can purchase her memoir Unsweetined. Jodie also co-hosts an awesome podcast, Never Thought I’d Say This, with her best friend. Together they tackle parenting taboos by sharing war stories from the frontlines of single motherhood, talking to special guests about the issues all parents face, and giving unfiltered, and sometimes hilarious, advice to listeners.
You can tune into September 22nd’s National Online Recovery Day panel to hear Jodie’s perspective on Getting Clean and Staying Connected. Tune in at 2pm PST on www.facebook.com/LionrockRecovery.