Popular Days of our Lives star Billy Flynn (Chad DiMera) was the guest star on a recent episode of State of Mind, a mental health series created and hosted by General Hospital's Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos), and he decided to use the opportunity to open up about a very serious issue he's been struggling with: drug and alcohol dependency.
During the 40-minute episode, Flynn first recalls some tough moments that he experienced upon landing his role at DAYS. He details an early scene in which he was asked to cry -- which made him extremely uncomfortable.
"I had never [done that before], and in front of other people, [it] seemed insane," he shares. "I couldn't get there, so I decided to fake it."
Unfortunately, his superficial performance didn't cut the mustard, and the show's producers decided to stop the take -- which rarely happens these days in the soap world. But even with a break and a bit of extra time to get to the necessary emotional point for the scene, Flynn found himself unable to deliver. "I thought for sure I was fired," he recalls.
From there, Flynn gets even more personal, sharing that the powers that be didn't sack him, but he still considers himself "a work in progress" because he's "an alcoholic and an addict." The actor has been in recovery for nearly three years, stating that he had to find a way through to the other side of addiction, "or I was going to die."
Flynn recounts some of his lowest points over the years, including a tough childhood that was made all the harder by an absentee father (who had his own issues with alcoholism), and a moment in which the actor's addiction was so bad, he was "willing to walk away from my wife and my job and everything else that I loved" to avoid facing the pain he was feeling on the inside.
"The drinking and the using really took over, even at work," he reveals, adding that he was consistently finding himself turning to a myriad of things -- "sex, love, alcohol, gambling, anything" -- to avoid sitting "with who I really am and the feelings I really have."
The death of Flynn's great-grandmother, who he calls his "soul mate other than my wife," caused the actor's addiction to spiral out of control.
"There were times when I would drink and use to a place where I thought I was going to die, quite literally, in the moment. And I would keep going," he shares, adding there were other times in which "I took as much as I could, and when I woke up, I was shocked... How I was treating myself, I didn't want to live."
In time, the death of his great-grandmother became less of a reason for Flynn to continue using and instead part of what inspired the actor to get clean and discover "a new way to live." Now, when he's feeling pain or the desire to use, he turns to spirituality, meditates, talks to anyone who will listen, and just remains open about his state of mind and his feelings.
Watch Flynn's full chat with Maurice Benard below and let us know what you think in the Comments section at the end of the article.
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