"I wouldn’t give this feeling up for anything," the 'Pretty Little Liars' alumna said
Lucy Hale is opening up about the many gifts sobriety has brought her.
In a candid conversation with Drew Barrymore on Thursday's episode of her self-titled talk show, the Pretty Little Liars alumna, 34, got candid about what she's learned about herself after living a life without alcohol or substances.
Her comments came two weeks after she celebrated her sober anniversary on Jan. 2. And for Hale, that milestone marked a turning point for her.
"Something happens at the two-year, at least for me I think," Hale said. "I feel like the first year I was like, ‘Okay stay safe, stay home.’ Certain elements of my life fell away, new people came into my life. But I felt like my second year I learned, I was having fun, I gave a new definition to fun."
"It just looks different these days," she added. "I was going out, I was going to the dinners, I was going to the events. I wasn’t avoiding anything."
Barrymore, who revealed in December 2021 that she had quit drinking alcohol over two and a half years earlier, could relate to Hal.
"When you have a behavior that you know is not serving you, I think we lose trust in ourselves that we’re never going to break that cycle," she said. "Somewhere around two years was when I started to trust myself maybe and I didn’t know it then. You saying what you’re saying is making me think maybe that’s a good time to put it out into the world to your peers, to other people, to plant that flag in the sand when you’ve earned time and trust."
Hale picked up from there — "and you can trust your choices."
"For me it was, ‘Oh I just feel safe in my body again,' " she noted. "I wouldn’t give this feeling up for anything."
Th actress — who was on The Drew Barrymore Show to promote her new rom-com, Which Brings Me to You — went on to thank Barrymore for her honesty about her own addiction over the years. "The fact that you talk so openly about this, there’s no telling how many people you’ve helped," she said. "You’ve inspired me."
"You’ve inspired me," Barrymore said back.
"It’s just amazing and then it’s just a ripple effect," Hale shared. "I think if more people in general, especially women can show like the dirty, gross ugly parts that we don’t want to talk about, I think that is beautiful and brave and so cool."
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In February 2023, Hale opened up about her struggles with alcohol over the years on an episode of The Diary of a CEO podcast, revealing that she had "been working on getting sober since I was 20."
"I just held on to that belief that the real Lucy came out when she was drinking," she continued. "It also quieted my mind ... my brain just doesn't shut off and it's exhausting. I was a textbook binge drinker, blackout, wouldn't remember what I did or what I said, which is scary."
The Katy Keene actress said she'd had a problem with alcohol since her first experience drinking at age 14, admitting that there was never a period in her life where she was a "normal moderate drinker."
"I was willing to go to this crazy dark place every time," Hale explained. "Of course I tried to be a moderate drinker, just having two. I have an allergy to alcohol. I cannot drink. I view it as an allergy; my brain doesn't work the same way as someone who can just have a glass of wine. It always wants more. It's craving that feeling."
Hale said it was up to her to actually want to get sober. She said she finally made that commitment on January 2, 2022, because she realized she "deserves more out of this life."
Speaking about her sobriety on her 2-year anniversary, Hale wrote on Instagram, “This continues to be the greatest gift I’ve given myself."
"I remain so grateful for another year of growth, growing pains, lessons, joys, and self realizations,” she said. "To be able to show up as myself and to be greeted with such warmth and acceptance is something I do not take for granted ♥️."
Hale also thanked every person she’s connected with before leaving a word of encouragement for anyone who is struggling. “Please know you are not alone and that you do not have to trek this path alone,” she said. “There is no right or wrong way to heal and it is deeply personal and unique to each of us.”
The Drew Barrymore Show airs weekdays in syndication on CBS (check local listings).
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