- (Photo: AP / Matt Houston)
Michael J. Fox opened up about the early years of coping with his devastating Parkinson's disease in an interview this week.
Diagnosed in 1991 during the peak of his acting career, Fox admitted his shortcomings when it came to dealing with the condition while speaking to Howard Stern.
"I just felt helpless," he said during the Sept. 25 SiriusXM radio interview. "It felt unfair in a way… it's hard to explain."
Making matters worse, Fox turned to alcohol to help deal with news of the degenerative disorder of the central nervous system.
"My first reaction to it was to start drinking heavily," he admitted. "I used to drink to party, but then I was drinking alone… Every day."
As a means of "self-medicating," Fox's habit continued for several months before he sought professional help.
"It was about a year of a knife fight in a closet, where I just didn't have my tools to deal with it," the Canadian-born actor recalled. "But then after that I went to therapy, and it all started to get really clear to me."
Fortunately, the counseling taught the actor to take things "one day at a time," and it even helped his now 25-year-long marriage to Tracy Pollan.
"My marriage got great," Fox told Stern. "And my career started to [take off again]."
Today, his new television series, "The Michael J. Fox Show," incorporates the actor's disease into the plot line. The sitcom is coming to NBC this Thursday, Sept. 26.
Meanwhile, Fox's career has spanned four decades, including his role as Marty McFly in the "Back to the Future" trilogy. The actor also appeared on "Family Ties" as well as "Spin City" in roles that garnered him several awards.
Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1991, but the actor did not share his condition with the public until 1999. He was forced to retire from acting in 2000 when his symptoms became severe, which led the actor to establish The Michael J. Fox Foundation. The organization advocates and raises funds for a cure to for Parkinson's.