Actress Amber Valletta: I've Been an Addict Since I Was 8 Years Old

"I sniffed markers, I sniffed glue, fingernail polish, anything," she says.

— -- "Hitch" star and former model Amber Valletta, 40, has decided to open up about her bouts with alcohol and drug addiction.

She spoke with an audience for MindBodyGreen for a piece called "How I Live With Addiction Every Day: Amber Valletta" and revealed her battle with addiction has been ongoing since she was 8 years old.

"I'm coming out to you today," Valletta told the audience. "I coming out to you today as an addict. ... I've had it for as long as I can remember."

"My hope is that someone, somewhere in this room, out of this room will hear something that will help them and perhaps get them out of the shadows and the darkness of addiction and bring them into the light," she said of why she decided to reveal this addiction.

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Valletta said she started with drugs and alcohol because she was "predisposed for it" and that it's genetic.

"Once you kind of feed the monster, there's a switch and it takes hold," she said, saying that at 8 years old, she started trying to get outside herself. "I sniffed markers, I sniffed glue, fingernail polish, anything that could give me a buzz ... then I found drugs that were around the culture of my family."

The actress added that she had been high from marijuana by age 10, but that she only blames herself.

"I'm not a victim, I do not blame my parents," she said. "I'm uncomfortable, I'm uncomfortable being a human being."

By the time Valletta was 18, she moved to Europe "and I found cocaine and alcohol and I was good to go."

Valletta added that she's from Oklahoma and as a full-time model she said she was socially inept and "I couldn't manage my feelings, so I had to take something to manage my feelings."

She explained how she could have lost everything at 22 years old, at the top of her game and a big-time model.

"I had a multi-million [dollar] deal and I showed up the first day to shoot this campaign high and drunk," she revealed. "Addiction takes you to the worst places. I showed up to my uncle's bedside and he was dying and I was still high, still drunk and looking for a place to go do another line."

Valletta said she got sober at 25, because "I didn't want to die."

Valletta stressed that addiction doesn't discriminate and that you can't just "buck up" and not drink that beer or do drugs.

"It doesn't allow you to stop on sheer will power," she said.

She's sought out programs, support, along with being "humble" and praying to stay sober 15 years later. She's also helped other people recover from addiction.

"I had to be willing to lift the veil off the shame and say, 'I'm addict, I can't do this alone, I don't want to do this alone, I don't feel comfortable, can you help me?'" she said, breaking down a bit. "I needed help from other people, so that's the way I stay sober."