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Jenifer Lewis opens up about substance abuse and sex addiction past

Black-ish star Jenifer Lewis battled substance abuse and sex addiction early in her career.
The 60-year-old actress has previously opened up about her struggles with bipolar disorder and she now reveals her un-diagnosed mental illness led to other issues in her 20s.
In her new memoir, The Mother of Black Hollywood, she reveals her issues with sex addiction started when she was starring on Broadway.
“(It) was a rush,” she writes in an excerpt obtained by People magazine. “The applause coming over the footlights was like a tsunami in slow motion. The crash after the show, I assure you, is just as intense. Let’s just say that post show I had a sort of habit of sex serving as a night cap.
“I was Cleopatra, Pam Grier, Marilyn Monroe, and Jezebel rolled into one. For me, nothing could extend the thrill of a standing ovation like great sex with a gorgeous guy.”
Lewis’ bipolar symptoms continued for several years and she also started to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. She was subsequently diagnosed with the disorder, but was shocked because she believed people with mental illness couldn’t function.
“I had been crazy all my life,” she adds. “When she (doctor) said, ‘Mental illness’, I thought, ‘B**ch, you crazy’. I associated mental illness with people who couldn’t function, with straitjackets. I certainly knew what a depressive mood was, but this other ‘manic’ part was new…”
Lewis now manages her disorder with medication and therapy, but she admits she was initially reluctant to take prescription pills because she didn’t want to turn into “a zombie”.
“I have peace of mind now; I’m in my skin,” Lewis tells the publication. “It took years to get to that place, but I did it – and I have a smile on my face.”

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