“What a burden it is to believe that we can do this alone. It’s a burden that I don’t want," the 'General Hospital' actor, who died Tuesday at the age of 50, said during a March 2022 podcast appearance
Speaking on former costar and longtime friend Maurice Benard’s podcast, State of Mind, in March 2022, the actor detailed his journey to sobriety. During the hour-long conversation, Christopher revealed how his addiction impacted every aspect of his life ever since he took his first sip of alcohol in third grade.
“You become an addict at nine years old. Fast-forward 40 years, at some point you cannot survive it,” he explained on the episode. “At some point it will kill you, and it has. Three times I have flatlined, and nobody knows that, I’m saying it right here for the first time.”
For over 20 years, Christopher starred on daytime soap opera General Hospital, where he said his bipolar disorder diagnosis interfered with his day-to-day life.
“Every time I finish a scene, I go down, I sit in my dressing room, and I tell myself how terrible it was and wish I could go up and do it again,” he said.
After he lost his role on the hit show, Christopher said he felt like he was losing his biggest outlet of happiness.
“It was devastating for a myriad of reasons,” he explained. “One, the thing I loved the most was taken away. Two, I threw it away. Nobody took it away from me. I dropped it. And having to walk out of those doors under that circumstance was surreal.”
Three years later, in 2019, Christopher suffered a fall that resulted in a traumatic brain injury. He told Benard that the fall was caused by alcohol withdrawal.
“I was going through delirium tremens by myself completely alone, which is deadly,” he shared. "I fell. I hit this part of my head on the edge of a bathtub, and my skull exploded.”
After waking up from his life-saving brain surgery after the fall — his family had been told he wouldn’t survive — Christopher said he decided he was going to overcome the injury. Along with his bipolar disease, the Days of Our Lives star said his doctor warned him about the risks of returning to alcohol after surgery.
“He said, ‘Compound the fact that you’re already an addict, if you decide to go back to that part of your life again, your brain can't handle it,’” Christopher explained.
At that point, Christopher was put under medical conservatorship of his sister, with whom he lived in Ohio for two years. Noting that isolation is “a trigger” for his bipolar disorder, he said he got on a train to Los Angeles to pick his career back up, but things didn’t go according to plan.
“I showed up at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, and I called the gentleman I was supposed to stay with,” he recalled. “For whatever reason — to this day I still don't know why — he said, ‘I'm sorry but you can't come here.’ So I'm standing at Union Station saying, ‘Where do I go?’ A lot of my friends had left me after my injury — I had no one to call.”
After living on Skid Row and roaming L.A. with no place to stay for several weeks, Christopher said a call to God led a friend to find him sleeping on a bench in Toluca Lake.
“What a burden it is to believe that we can do this alone,” he said. “It’s a burden that I don’t want.”
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At the opening of the episode, Benard, who announced the late actor’s death on Instagram Tuesday, praised his friend during his introduction, saying: “A lot of people love him. I swear to God, every time I mention I’m doing Tyler on State of Mind, they’re like, ‘Can you tell him I love him?’ Finola Hughes, Laura Wright, Frank Valentini... Maura West. Now I’m going to get emotional.”
He continued, “You’re a warrior, but you’re also a survivor.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
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