While speaking to PEOPLE, the 59-year-old actress confessed that her addiction was so bad she's lucky to be alive today. "I was ahead of the curve of the opiate epidemic." she said. "I had a 10-year run, stealing, conniving. No one knew. No one."
Curtis shared that the first time she was prescribed opiates was after she had minor cosmetic surgery for her "hereditary puffy eyes" in 1989. After that, she became so dependent on the pills that for the next decade she would steal them from friends and family. Curtis' sister Kelly was the first person to find out about her secret addiction, after the actress stole some pills from her.
In 1999, she went to her first recovery meeting, and then finally told her husband — actor/director Christopher Guest, whom she has been married to since 1984 and has two children with — about her addiction.
"I'm breaking the cycle that has basically destroyed the lives of generations in my family," Curtis added. "Getting sober remains my single greatest accomplishment… bigger than my husband, bigger than both of my children and bigger than any work, success, failure. Anything."
Curtis is not the only member of her family to suffer from substance abuse issues, as her father — Some Like It Hot star Tony Curtis — was said to be an alcoholic, and also regularly used both cocaine and heroin. Curtis' brother, Nicholas Curtis, died from overdosing on heroin in 1994.
Today, though, Curtis says she is 20 years sober and continues to attend recovery meetings so that she can help people who are in the same situation she was in.
"In recovery meetings, anyone who brings up opiates, the entire room will turn and look at me, because I'll be like, 'Oh here, talk to me. I'm the opiate girl,'" she said half-jokingly.
Curtis has plenty more to celebrate these days, as she recently broke box-office records with her new Halloween reboot/sequel. The films $77.5 million domestic opening weekend is officially "the biggest opening ever for lead actress over the age of 55."
OK. I’m going for one BOAST post. Biggest horror movie opening with a female lead.— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) October 21, 2018
Biggest movie opening with a female lead over 55.
Second biggest October movie opening ever.
Biggest Halloween opening ever #womengetthingsdone @halloweenmovie pic.twitter.com/DhUBy82z3U