Around the time of her big break in films like "American Pie" and "American Beauty," actress Mena Suvari was going through a secret battle with drugs.
In her new tell-all, "The Great Peace: A Memoir," Suvari reveals she tried meth for the first time during a family vacation to Colorado Springs. After snorting a line, Mena -- who was already a rape survivor and whose father just had a stroke -- said it felt like "everything I had ever known or even cared about was gone."
The drug "reappeared" in her life when she returned home to Burbank and "slowly but surely it became my life" and "took over my life," she wrote. "The hours I was at school were spent thinking about getting out of school and doing some lines. I stayed up until late at night, slept a couple hours, then repeated the day," she added, saying that, "Before long I was pulling out my small gold lacquered butterfly embossed compact mirror and snorting a line in the school bathroom during a break."
She said her health started to suffer, detailing acne breakouts and a loss of appetite. "I knew it was the meth," wrote Suvari, who then started getting into the rave scene and "started experimenting with other drugs" -- which including doing mushrooms and smoking meth instead of snorting it.
"I inhaled as deeply as I could, exhaled, and almost immediately my reality shifted. I'm surprised I didn't die that day," she recalled. "That moment. I had never been so high in my life. I felt like my brain had melted and I lost not just my sense of self, but my whole sense of being, like I was existing before I came to be."
"I was a drug addict," she continued, before detailing a relationship she got into with a 26-year-old she calls "Tyler" when she was just 17. Their relationship was one filled with emotional and physical abuse -- but it also got her off meth, because he didn't want her around him if she was going to use. She began to smoke more marijuana instead ... before trying out MDMA, mescaline and liquid acid. "My life would only become trading one bad habit for another," she said.
Around this time in her life, she was cast in "American Pie" and said rehearsals with costar Chris Klein were her "escape," saying they were "better than any drug I had ever taken" and adding, "instead of a high, they gave me normalcy."
"I was really a drug addict living a f---ed-up and twisted life," she added, before detailing some of the degrading sex and emotional fights she would have with Tyler, behavior which continued throughout filming "American Beauty." As the situation escalated, with threesomes and sex toys becoming her new norm, she was then cast in "Sugar & Spice" -- a gig which took her away from Tyler for an extended period of time. During production, she finally broke up with him.
"It's clear to me now that work saved my life, but back then I only sensed it. I didn't have the perspective of time," she said. "Without these jobs, I can only imagine where I would have ended up."