photo credit: Peter Lindbergh for David Yurman
Talented, smart and gorgeous, Amber Valletta, a 17-time Vogue magazine cover model, actress and mother, is opening up about her struggle with the powerful disease addiction and her inspirational road to recovery.
Raised in Oklahoma, Amber can remember as early as 8 years old feeling like she wanted to get outside of herself. In an attempt to do just that Amber began sniffing things like markers, glue and finger nail polish to give herself a buzz. She recalls trying to sneak drugs that were around her home such as joints, and by 10 years old she had already gotten high.
When Amber was 15 years old she was discovered by a Tulsa modeling agency and her modeling career took off. It was only a few short years later, when she was 18, that Amber moved to Europe for work and it was there that she experienced cocaine for the first time. In an interview with CBS News Amber says, "The first time I tried cocaine I was, I was in it...first time." Amber ran with a high society party crowd and when the money and access began to flow, so did the drugs and alcohol. By her early 20's, Amber was at the top of her game and she admits to putting everything on the line for her addiction, including family, friends, and her even her job. She recalls showing up to multi-million dollar photo shoots high and drunk, and she didn't care. It wasn't it wasn't until she was 25 years old that she decided she did not want to die and got sober.
Amber credits her sobriety with honest and deep self-reflection. In a candid and raw conversation How I Live With Addiction Every Day with MindBodyGreen, Amber reveals, "I continually turn inward. I continually look at my disease because my disease shapeshifts...I had to seek out other support...I had to find a spiritual compass. I had to be willing to go out and help other people recover from addiction. I had to be willing to lift the veil off the shame and say, 'I'm an addict. I can't do this alone. I don't want to do this alone. I don't feel comfortable. Can you help me?'"
Knowing all to well the dark and ugly face of addiction, it was important to Amber to open up about her struggles in the hope that someone will hear her story, and it will in some way help them to get out of "the shadows and the darkness of addiction, and bring them to the light." As an addict Amber knows that addiction does not discriminate and it thrives when kept in the dark and it thrives on feelings of shame, fear and hopelessness. In her interview with CBS News she speaks to others suffering with addiction and says, "I want to tell people they have nothing to be ashamed of. Come out of the darkness. Come into the light. You can recover from this disease, and you don't have to be a prisoner to something."