Jodie Sweetin, Stephanie from Full House, shares her struggles with abuse

Hosted by the Great Issues Committee, Jodie Sweetin, best known for her role as Stephanie Tanner in the television show Full House, spoke at SLU last night to hundreds of students. Known for her witty one-liners on the show such as “How rude!” or “Well, pin a rose on your nose,” Sweetin talked about her struggles with drug and alcohol abuse after the show ended in 1995.

Before the event, Sweetin sat down with The University News and talked about Full House: “The family that I gained from it that I’ve had for almost thirty years now, you can’t get any better than that.” She had many favorite memories from the show, but what stood out to her was “shooting on location was always fun because it was like a big family vacation that was sort of like work. I also got my first bike on the set, I spent all my holidays and birthdays with them.”

Her favorite episode was when Stephanie crashed the car through the Tanner’s kitchen: “It was so ridiculously absurd that Stephanie backed a car through the kitchen wall, but it was really funny, and I was so little.” She said, “[The show] allowed me to do a lot of things with my life I wouldn’t have normally gotten to do, but it’s a challenge to lose your private life at a very young age.”

During her speech, Sweetin brought listeners through her life and mental issues with substance abuse. She shared her low points, times when she felt alone and dependent on alcohol and drugs. When she first left Full House, Sweetin had a self-identity crisis. She knew who she was in that moment, but not what she wanted to do with her life. To combat her feelings, she started drinking, and that lead to a serious problem and years of hardship.

Sweetin revealed that her parentage made her susceptible to her substance abuse issues. Her mother and father were in prison for drug addiciton when she was born. Sweetin’s father was killed in a prison fight when she was just nine months old.

Throughout her addiction, Sweetin managed to graduate with honors from high school, but had to take a break from college to recover. She had a 0.9 GPA and described herself as “defiant.”

Sweetin said that it takes work to defeat an addiction. Her advice to college students or people struggling with substance abuse is: “It’s never too late to turn things around. I think the really hard part with people that struggle with substance abuse is that you feel like you’ve gone so far that what’s the point of turning back now once you’ve done so much damage. You can always rebuild and repair, and no matter what has happened or what you’ve done, you can get back to where you want to be.”

After several years of substance abuse and several marriages, Sweetin is five years of sober. She wrote her memoir “unSweetined” and has been sharing her life story with groups across the country. She has even been on Dancing with the Stars: “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. It was so much fun, and my partner and I have become such good friends, he’s like part of the family now, but it was definitely one of the most grueling and exhausting, physically and mentally challenging things I’ve ever done in my life.”

Sweetin wanted SLU students to take away the importance of the human element being shared with others: “We all have things that we’ve been through that maybe we’re not proud of or things we wish we had done differently. When you share those things and they’re no longer secrets that hold this power over you, you can laugh about them and look at them and grow from them. I think that’s the most important thing we can do for ourselves and for each other.”