“Twilight Saga’s” Chaske Spencer – who plays wolf pack leader Sam Ulrey – is opening up about his past struggles with drugs and alcohol – something the actor says he blew millions on and which almost cost him his life.
“I tasted my first drink at 15,” Chaske, who grew up on numerous Native American reservations around the country, recently told People. “It took about three cans of beer to get drunk, and that was it. I was sold. I thought, ‘This is the best thing ever.’ My Parents were starting to separate at the time, so I was very angry.”
At 21, the he moved to New York to study acting, where he was first exposed to cocaine.
“Next thing I know, my heart’s pounding, and I’m up all night. I think I’m gonna die, but I still did it again and again,” he recalled to People, explaining that he was then introduced to heroin through a girlfriend. “I started smoking it, then snorting it. Three months in, I was doing it every day. I’d never memorize my lines; I couldn’t function to audition. My work ethic went out the door.”
After multiple attempts to stop, Chaske was arrested after attempting to buy marijuana from two undercover cops and he landed behind bars. After getting out of jail, he sought help at a rehab center in Washington state that specialized in treating Native Americans.
“It was appealing to me because I came from the same experiences and I could relate to a lot [of the other people seeking treatment].They had us make a list of how much you’d spent on drugs. I’d blow $2 million,” the 35-year-old actor told the mag.
After just one year of staying clean, Chaske landed his role in “New Moon.”
“I got pretty tight with the wolf guys. I took each of them aside and told them I’m an addict and an alcoholic and that’s why I don’t drink,” he explained.
As part of his sobriety, Chaske now spends time giving back to his community through work with United Global Shift, a nonprofit organization that works with Native Americans