Mena Suvari: “Slowly but Surely Meth Became My Life. And Then It Took Over”


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The nineties it-girl Mena Suvari, who you know from the very popular films American Pie and American Beauty, is coping with her double life. In her new memoir, The Great Peace, the award-winning actress reveals intimate, moving, and sometimes shocking details about her world outside of the camera - including her teen struggles with drug addiction, emotionally destructive relationships with older men and men like the #MeToo movement ultimately leading her to it inspired to share her experience with the dark side of young Hollywood fame. Read below the “Meth Month” chapter from Mena's debut memoir, released today.
At home, I met Gabby one day in Burbank. She had another group of friends from Burbank High that I had never met before. I suspected things had changed with her while I was making the movie and hanging out with Geoff and Franny because instead of being in a casual atmosphere where we'd smoke, we ended up with a friend of hers and the darkness came back up.
There it was again. I could not believe it. How did it find me here in L.A.? Slowly but surely it became my life. And then it took over my life. I spent the hours I was in school thinking about leaving school and writing a few lines. I stayed up late at night, slept a few hours, and then repeated the day. It wasn't long before I took out my small, gold-lacquered compact mirror with butterfly embossing and snorted a line in the school bathroom during a break. Later I sat up all night playing eclectic indie rock on a big old-school boom that Gabby had given me.
Part of meth made me hypersensitive, but the other part was like the dark side of the street and led straight to paranoia. I spent much of the night waiting for someone to knock on my bedroom door. While I was holding my grades, my health suffered. My whole back broke out in acne. I always had perfect skin. I knew it was the meth. And just like before with birth control, which was offered in exchange for no questions, I was given antibiotics to "go away".
Years later, when I talked to my mom about that time when she was leaving, she said I told her I hated her. Maybe I did. At the time I felt that nobody cared about me. The medication certainly didn't help. But I hadn't wanted to hear the things she'd told me about my father and I absolutely couldn't handle the situation we were in right now, so I probably hated her for leaving me in that situation, although I didn't want to.
I didn't want to be home.
I didn't want to see my father as he was then. I wasn't even sure who he was or had ever been.
I stayed outside as best I could. And stayed up as best I could.
I still did everything that was asked of me. School work. Audition. Sex. I just had to know how shitty I got every day. I thought I could and should suffer in silence. That was obviously my fate. I prayed someone would throw me a lifeline. I was ready to be saved every day. It never happened.
One day I did some shit and went back to the apartment. I sat on my carpeted bedroom floor in front of the mirrored sliding cupboard doors and looked at the bag. There was a small amount of powder in it, but it had a slight gray tinge to it that made me question. Even so, I cut it open, exhaled, and then abruptly breathed it into my nose. It had that burning sensation that I was pretty used to, but as I sat there I realized it hadn't done anything. And I thought what the hell did I stick my nose in?
Part of me was pissed off because I had spent money on it and felt cheated on. Then part of me was scared because only God knew what the hell I was sniffing. Fuck it - I threw the bag away and promised to be more careful with what I bought next time. That was good money that went nowhere.
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