Jane Lynch grew addicted to cold medicine after giving up alcohol


In February, Jane Lynch revealed that she was penning a memoir (called Happy Accidents) that would detail her struggles with alcoholism and sexuality, and she also recently did a promotional interview with Vogue that revealed some further tidbits as well as her desire to come back as Jon Hamm in her next life. Now, Jane’s releasing another teaser that I find a bit strange, not for the subject matter but in the way that she presents the information. Apparently, Jane was once addicted to NyQuil syrup, which isn’t a massive confession by any means, but the wording here is quite odd:

“Glee” star Jane Lynch has revealed how she was addicted to cold medicine.

The 51-year-old actress said she was so depressed that she sought “happy oblivion” by downing bottles of the NyQuil syrup.

The over-the-counter medicine contains alcohol and if taken in sufficient quantities has the same effect as drinking.

Lynch said she turned to the medicine after giving up drinking when she was 31-years-old, amid fears she was becoming an alcoholic.

The actress, who plays snarly gym teacher Sue Sylvester in the hit TV series, writes about her addictions in her upcoming biography Happy Accidents.

She said she had managed to kick her addiction to alcohol, but couldn’t give up trying to get drunk by downing bottles of the cold medicine.

“I found myself eating about a gallon of chocolate ice cream daily to replace the copious amounts of sugar my body was used to from my daily beer intake,” Lynch writes in her book. I did, however, continue my habit of taking NyQuil before bed. Though no longer drinking Miller Lite I was in need of something to soothe me. The fact that NyQuil had alcohol in it was not something I acknowledged at all. I still considered myself on the wagon.”

Medical experts have said drinking large quantities of the cold and cough medicine can cause liver and other organ damage.

Lynch said her addiction the cold treatments worsened during a 10-month stay in New York when she was appearing in a play about the TV family The Brady Bunch.

“I was miserable the whole time,” Lynch writes in her book, according to the New York Post. “I’d close the drapes, take a swig of NyQuil, toast with a simple ‘bye bye’ and go into a deep sleep.”

Lynch said she eventually sought help from Alcoholics Anonymous after a night getting high with her cast mates. “I smoked myself into oblivion that night. I still felt like crap and even lonelier that I had felt before.”

Lynch said she finally found happiness with her wife Lara Embrey; saying she was “smitten” with her within a minute of their meeting.

[From Daily Mail]

Kaiser, CB, and myself have already discussed this story a little bit, and the general consensus is that a NyQuil addiction by itself is an odd declaration, and it would be more believable if she was addicted to say, Sizzurp, which contains codeine. Further, if Jane was drinking NyQuil for the alcoholic content, well, it’d take more than just a nightly swig to get any sort of buzz comparable to that of habitual drinking. Really, the addictive substance contained within NyQuil is DextroMethorophan, but maybe Jane (or her ghostwriter) just didn’t do enough research on this part of the book. Further, the ice cream binges she describes as necessary to replace the (almost nonexistent) sugar content in Miller Lite seem sketchy too.

Overall, this story just seems slightly “off” to me. While it’s possible that Daily Mail has misquoted Lynch’s memoir, it’s doubtful that they could legitimately excerpt her words to this degree and completely misplace the context. So perhaps this memoir, which comes out on September 13, will be a very poorly written one, but it’s too soon to tell. Meanwhile, I am glad that Lynch has finally found happiness in her personal life. Here’s a photo of Jane with her wife Lara Embry, and daughter (step-daughter to Jane) Hayden in West Hollywood in mid-March. They look really happy, right?



Photos courtesy of Fame

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24 Responses to “Jane Lynch grew addicted to cold medicine after giving up alcohol”

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  1. WillyNilly says:

    This is actually very common. Just google nyquil abuse. (I’m not even speaking about the raver kids)

    I too have abused it…but because I am an insomniac, not the trivial amount of booze. I preferred liquid Benedryl. Mmmm.

  2. *bRaZiLiAn* says:

    I have seen her and her wife few times at the Trader Joe’s in West Sunset. She seems super cool…people recognized her but weren’t like “OMG its the lady from best in show and glee” lol

  3. *bRaZiLiAn* says:

    WILLYNILLY : i totally agree with you.

  4. Stacia says:

    I loved her character in the short lived “Party Down”…that show was sooo funny. Hate that it was cancelled after 2 seasons.

  5. mia girl says:

    It’s the article that implies she was drinking massive quantities of Nyquil at a time and addicted to it like alcohol. But Lynch’s quotes only allude to her using smaller quantities as a sleeping aid:

    “I did, however, continue my habit of taking Nyquil before bed” “I’d close the drapes, take a swig of Nyquil, toast with a simple ‘bye bye’ and go into a deep sleep.”

    It only takes a shot of the stuff to knock me out. I only use it when I am really sick, but I know that lots of people abuse Nyquil as an ongoing sleeping aide.

  6. boo says:

    Nyquil is a no no if you are trying to stay sober. No alcohol means no alcohol, no matter the source. I commend her on her sobriety, it’s not an easy road but a worthwhile one. One day at a time.

  7. ladyballz says:

    Oh the gallon of icecream thing is for real. It’s more that alcohol has a crazy amount of calories that the body misses. Every time my dude quits drinking he seems to go on sugar-benders.

  8. Kiks says:

    Abuse of sleeping aids and cold medicine are very common among recovering alcoholics. A lot of alcoholics drink to numb/avoid their feelings. Taking a sleep aid is another type of avoidance. Hello Nyquil…goodbye problems… At least until tomorrow.
    Also – sugar cravings are very prevalent among recovering alcoholics. This has been documented in various recovery literature.
    I am glad that she has beaten her addiction and seems to be very happy!!

  9. zephyr says:

    A comment on this site:

    states that Nyquil contains a significant amount of acetominophen (Tylenol).

  10. Leonie says:

    Regarding Miller Light not containing much/any sugar – alcohol (especially heavy drinking) affects your blood sugar levels and the ability of insuline to function as it ordinarily does. I’m no doctor, but it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that quitting alcohol as an alcoholic would create a craving for sugar.

  11. dread pirate cuervo says:

    The sugar for alcohol is true. It’s recommended by AA to newcomers to eat something sweet to fight cravings. The NyQuil thing might’ve been more of a ritual thing if she wasn’t getting high. I took NyQuil for a particularly bad chest cold & don’t consider myself to have fallen off the wagon. Of course, I only took it for one night out of a 2 week cold & don’t even like taking Robitussin as it reminds me too much of doing shots.

  12. Lindsay says:

    There is a common misconception that alcohol converts to sugar, which could be why she said that. Alcohol does cause unique blood sugar reactions. It is the only thing that can cause blood sugar to go way up and way down and it’s effect changes due to circumstances apart from the alcohol. The liver plays a role in regulating blood sugar but when a toxin (alcohol) is present it solely focuses on eliminating the toxin. It seems more likely that someone with an addictive personality just changed addictions. The chemicals released in the brain while eating fat and sugar do provide a type of high. It is why people can have food addiction.

    If you quit drinking and turn to cold medicine or mouth wash seek help. At the very least go back to what you were drinking before it is undeniably better for/easier on your body. But realistically is you consider drinking a bottle of cold syrup or Listerene you need help.

  13. Roma says:

    After my alcoholic father quit drinking he became diabetic after eating chocolate and sweets pretty much non-stop. I have also seen someone who struggle with nyquil when their family had them on lock-down away from booze.

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but it is clear by the way this article is written that the CB team hasn’t been very exposed to addiction.

  14. Alice says:

    That is so frickin’ nasty. NyQuil is the worst tasting thing I’ve ever put in my mouth, which I have only done like twice. I’d rather stay sick than drink NyQuil.

  15. Blergh says:

    I agree with the other commenters about the sugar thing. I believe when you drink alcohol it actually metabolizes into sugar, hence the sugar cravings.

  16. coucou says:

    Glad she’s sober and in love…she is so rockin’ that long black dress in the first shot, i WANT that dress, who’s it by?

  17. lucy2 says:

    I didn’t know she’d been through so much, glad she’s happy now and can enjoy all her success.

  18. sam says:

    Dependance/ritual/comfort/phobias/compulsion can all lead to ritualistic behaviour or dependence.

    I used to take paracetemol every morning for fear of a headache starting. When i tried to stop I would get anxious and … get a headache!

    Sometimes its not the quantity of the substance but the act of taking the substance itself that provides comfort.

  19. the_porscha says:

    It doesn’t have to be a comparable feeling to alcohol, it just has to be somewhat numbing. In high school, at the height of some of my problems, I was taking 5 Benadryl a night and several throughout the day. Did it get me as wasted as some of the other things I was doing? Not really, but it felt “good” to me at the time and I thought it worked. The point is not that Nyquil was a substitute for alcohol point-for-point, the point is that she gave it up and needed another fixation, which is very common.

    Also, the sugar thing: though Miller Lite doesn’t have a ton of sugar in it, alcohol withdrawal can make your blood sugar levels fluctuate and can cause sugar cravings. This happens a lot with addicts who give up alcohol; they get a big sweet tooth or they get cravings for salty things. Their bodies have been thrown out of whack.

  20. Jenni says:

    I like this actress so much. She was one of my nicest customers at Starbux when I worked at one in W. Hollywood, and she was one of the only female celebs to ever tip me! And she’d tip every single time. Generous, and sweet lady. 🙂 It’s fun seeing her on “Glee” now.

  21. Miss Kitty says:

    To Roma (commenter !3) This was MY first thought too after reading this page. I guess…lucky for them.

  22. theaPie says:

    NyQuil has all sorts of yummy things that when all mixed together can pack quite a punch. Alcohol, benedryl and dextromethorophan.

  23. the original bellaluna says:

    Yeah, well, I remember when NyQuil (and Vick’s Formula 44D) was 80 proof. The “coughing, sniffling, sneezing, stuffy-head, fever, so-you-can-rest medicine,” INDEED! (With the extra-bonus nasty black licquorice taste, to boot!)

    Suck on that, newbies…Ain’t nothing like 1980’s Nyquil to beat you down!

  24. Cherry says:

    Yeah I gotta say it’s obvious CB, Kaiser and Bedhead have been blessed not to have dealt with an addiction or addicts personally. Replacing alcohol with Nyquil is very common, as is the sugar craving when giving up alcohol. I’ve been through it personally. Glucomannon helped me get off the sugar rollercoaster.