Michael J. Fox Admits Parkinson’s Diagnosis Led To Him Becoming An Alcoholic

After being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease back in 1991, Michael J. Fox is admitting that he became an alcoholic.

It’s been 32 years since Michael J. Fox of “Family Ties” and Back To The Future fame was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease back in 1991. Now, Fox is opening up about how receiving this devastating diagnosis led to him becoming addicted to both alcohol and pills. 

Fox’s Issues With Alcohol 

Fox, 61, told USA Today that he popped dopamine pills “like Halloween Smarties (candy)” to hide his symptoms, and he would often hold props on film sets to disguise his tremors.

“Therapeutic value, comfort – none of these were the reason I took these pills. There was only one reason: to hide,” Fox explained. “I became a virtuoso of manipulating drug intake so that I’d peak at exactly the right time and place.” 

Fox went on to say that he turned to alcohol so that he could forget all the feelings that came with being diagnosed with Parkinson’s. 

“I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know what was coming. So what if I could just have four glasses of wine and maybe a shot?” he said. “I was definitely an alcoholic. But I’ve gone 30 years without having a drink.” 

“As low as alcohol had brought me, abstinence would bring me lower. I could no longer escape myself,” he continued. “You can’t pretend at home that you don’t have Parkinson’s because you’re just there with it. If I’m out in the world, I’m dealing with other people and they don’t know I have it.” 

Related: Michael J. Fox Gives Sad Update About His Health After Battling Parkinson’s For Over 30 Years

Fox’s Documentary

Fox opens up about his fears for his future while suffering from Parkinson’s in the new documentary Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last Friday. 

“To me, the worst thing is restraint. The worst thing is to be confined and to not be able to have a way out.” he said, adding that in the early days, “there are times when I went, ‘There’s no way out of this.'”

Sadly, Fox’s disease has gotten to the point where he often falls when he tries to walk, and he was injured multiple times while making his documentary.

“I’m in intense pain,” he said. “People around me are going, ‘Be careful, be careful.'” And I’m like: ‘This has nothing to do with being careful. This happens.'”

The documentary isn’t all somber, however, as it also touches on how Fox has raised over $1.5 billion for Parkinson’s research through his Michael J. Fox Foundation. 

“Some people would view the news of my disease as an ending,” he stated. “But I was starting to sense it was really a beginning.” 

Related: Michael J. Fox Shares Hug With ‘Back To The Future’ Co-Star Christopher Lloyd As They Reunite 37 Years After The Film’s Release

Fox’s Standing Ovation

Variety reported that the documentary was such a success that it received a standing ovation at Sundance. Afterwards, Fox credited his wife Tracy Pollan, who he’s been married to for 35 years, and their four children with helping him get through the tough times in life. 

“When I look at the film, the thing that screams at me with how lucky I’ve been and how successful my life has been is the stuff with my family,” he said. “It’s such joy.”

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie will debut on Apple TV+ later this year. Be sure to check it out to find out more about what an incredible person Fox really is! 

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