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'Nurse Jackie' Star Edie Falco On New Season, Sobriety

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NURSE JACKIE EDIE FALCO
"Nurse Jackie" star Edie Falco says her own sobriety struggles help her understand her character. | Getty Images

On April 8, Edie Falco returns for Season 4 of the critically acclaimed Showtime series "Nurse Jackie," in which she plays an ER nurse who's married with children but is also a raging prescription drug addict.

The 48-year-old actress, who has two adopted children of her own, talked candidly to The Huffington Post about her own onetime addiction -- she’s 20 years sober -- and what’s currently playing on her iPod.

What can viewers expect this season on "Nurse Jackie"?
Let’s just say it gets worse before it gets better.

Where do you see the show going?
I don’t know. That’s the great part of my job, I can let [the writers] do all that stuff. I sort of love reading the scripts and going, "Oh wow, what a great idea. I never would have thought of that." Anyone’s life, and certainly the life of an addict, can take many twists and turns. Some people can live for a very long time taking drugs.

You’ve talked openly about your sobriety. Does that make you more understanding of Jackie?
I believe it does. If you aren’t an addict, chances are you don’t really understand the part of an addict that continues behaving that way. You can see how awful it is and the awful things it does to their lives and the people they love. And you think, why would they continue? If you’re an addict you understand completely -- because you have to. You have to do it, that’s why. So for sure, it’s helped me understanding that, having gone through my version of that.

What was your moment of clarity?
It was after a particularly debauched night. I lived in a walk-up apartment in New York City and I just remember I couldn’t get into my apartment door and I couldn’t figure out why it was so cold. It turns out I was on the roof of my apartment. I woke up the next morning on my bed, the front door wide open; I had all my clothes on. It was very clear to me that I was done. It was not the most dramatic story of mine. It just happened to be the one where I reached my bottom as they say.

Is your sobriety responsible for your successful career?
I don’t know that sobriety is completely responsible for my success in this industry. I can tell you it's completely responsible for the success in my life, being able to have a free afternoon and being thrilled instead of years ago when it filled me with panic. Just being able to spend time alone, being able to live my life in a way that I’m proud of, that’s all about sobriety. Unstructured time used to be very dangerous for me. Too much was going on in my head to just sit calmly. I always wound up getting into trouble.

You’re a single parent to a boy and a girl.
It’s exactly what I wanted and it turns out to be 5,000 times better than I imagined. Yes, it’s hard, but parenting for anyone is hard, no matter if you’re single or not. Nobody really knows what they’re doing and it’s hard for me to say I’m doing it by myself. I have a million people in my life, friends, family and sitters. It’s my belief that back in the day kids were raised by everybody, by extended families and friends.

You like to sew.
I love to hand sew. I sometimes make clothing for my children, which of course they grow out of in a matter of minutes. I thoroughly love it.

Ever sew on set?
No, I really have to have a big chunk of time with nothing going on. I listen to music and go into my little zone.

What music do you listen to?
Dave Matthews, Bjork, Joni Mitchell, Radiohead.

So nothing embarrassing.
No I’m afraid not, at least I don’t think so. There’s no Barry Manilow or any such thing, with all due respect to him. He’s just not my cup of tea.

The fourth season of "Nurse Jackie" premieres on Showtime Sunday, April 8, at 9 p.m.