Twilight actor Chaske Spencer has battled addiction; speaks to 900 at Plachta Auditorium

Chaske Spencer quickly gives autographs and takes pictures after his speech Wednesday night at Plachta Auditorium. Spencer spoke about growing up on the reservation, his addiction problem, and how his is trying to give back to his people. (Kaitlin Thoresen/Staff Photographer)

It felt like God kissed him.

But after trying his first hit of heroin, Chaske Spencer had a gun put to his head.

The actor, best known for his work in the “Twilight” saga, was thrown down a flight of stairs. He wanted to die rather than try to become sober.

“Let me tell you something about heroin,” Spencer told about 900 people Wednesday in Warriner Hall’s Plachta Auditorium. “It is the drug that kills. It will suck your soul, your life, it is no joke. I put myself in situations that I should have never been in.”

These encounters were before “Twilight’s” Sam Uley, leader of the Wolf Pack, was even heard of.

“I still didn’t think I really had a problem until one day I noticed that I couldn’t live without anything in my system,” Spencer said.

But Spencer’s stories of boozed-up, doped-up nights do not reveal how he found redemption, or the nonprofit he created in an attempt to change the lives of American Indians.

Spencer visited campus as the keynote speaker for Central Michigan University’s annual Native American Heritage Month.

“I am Chaske Spencer, I am a recovering addict-alcoholic,” Spencer said in his introduction. “I have been sober for two years, nine months and three days.”

Colleen Green, director of Native American Programs, said Spencer gave a great presentation.

“He opened up to everybody (and) I think that really hit home for a lot of students here,” she said.

Spencer weaved through stories of being born in Tahlequah, Okla. and how he came from a “pretty good home.”

During his childhood and teenage years, Spencer moved around a lot and later began drinking to fit in.

At 21, Spencer was severely drunk when he crashed his vehicle into an elderly woman’s house. At that point, he knew he had to get out of Lewiston, Idaho.

He decided to move to New York City and become an actor.

“I thought all my problems would go away,” he said. “Little did I know New York City is the Mecca for everything.”

As a 22-year-old with $50 in his account, he lasted only two days sober. Several years later, Spencer acted in his first film, “Skins.”

He then got involved with cocaine and later heroin, where he became a daily user.

Spencer had to enter into rehabilitation and find a solution.

“I did not know how to function like normal people do without anything in my system,” he said.

But after being sober for three months, Spencer went back to New York, and said “each day it got easier.”


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