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Dennis Quaid calls cocaine addiction his 'greatest mistake'

April 11, 2011 |  1:41 pm

Dennis Quaid In a world where at least one guy considers "banging 7-gram rocks" a badge of honor, Dennis Quaid is owning up to a years-long cocaine habit as his "greatest mistake" but says dealing with the problem taught him humility.

What started as casual use in the '70s wound up with coked-out Quaid "a mess" by the time he was working on the 1986 film "The Big Easy," he recounted Sunday in Newsweek. With only about an hour of sleep a night, he couldn't focus on his acting and was "like a little squirrel on one of those treadmills" when it came to doing lines, he said.

It's not the first time the "Soul Surfer" actor has owned up to the habit that sent him to rehab in 1988, though in Newsweek he elaborated a bit on the moment of truth he'd mentioned to Larry King in 2002.

"I had a band then, called the Eclectics. One night we played a show at the China Club in L.A., and the band broke up, just like in the movie 'The Commitments,' because it all got too crazy," he wrote. "I had one of those white-light experiences that night where I kind of realized I was going to be dead in five years if I didn’t change my ways. The next day I was in rehab."

But rehab didn't magically fix things, leaving the actor struggling for years to get back on track. "If I hadn’t gone through that period, I don’t know if I’d still be acting," he said. "In the end, it taught me humility."

Quaid has relocated with his wife and twins to Austin, Texas, where he expects his mom to join them, he told the Ministry recently. "L.A. has been good to us," he said, "but at this point in my life I'm ready to try something new."

Someone who won't be joining them in Texas any time soon, however, is brother Randy Quaid, who's currently in Canada dealing with legal issues. "I love my brother and I miss my brother," Dennis Quaid told People recently while promoting "Soul Surfer."

"That's all I'm going to say."

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-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Dennis Quaid at the "Soul Surfer" premiere in Hollywood on March 30, 2011. Credit: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

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