Isaacs, best known for his portrayal of Lucius Malfoy in the JK Rowling franchise, spoke candidly about dealing with substance abuse issues from a young age.
He told The Big Issue’s Letter to My Younger Self, “I’ve always had an addictive personality and by the age of 16 I’d already passed through drink and was getting started on a decades-long love affair with drugs.”
The actor recalled the first time he got drunk at 12-years-old and how the experience instigated an addiction problem. “The barman, who we thought at the time was a hero and I now realise belonged in prison, sneaked us a full bottle of Southern Comfort,” he said.
“I vomited, fell on and pulled down a giant curtain, snogged a girl – God bless her – ran out into the street, vomited again, tripped, smashed my head open on the pavement and gushed blood all over my clothes.”
The OA star continued, “The next morning I woke up with a splitting headache, stinking of puke with a huge scab and the memory of having utterly shamed myself.
“All I could think was I cannot f****** wait to do that again. Why? I’ve no idea. Genes? Nurture? Star sign? I just know I chased the sheer ecstatic joy I felt that night for another 20 years with increasingly dire consequences.”
Isaacs revealed the extent of his addiction, saying that “every action was filtered through burning need I had for being as far away from a conscious, thinking, feeling person as possible”.
The 57-year-old actor also shared a painful memory of the moment when he decided to get clean. He said, “I thought I was broken. I remember there being a moment, not long before I got clean when it occurred to me that if everybody I knew died … I probably wouldn’t mind that much.
“In fact, I might like it, because then it would be an excuse to sit in a room by myself and take drugs and everybody else would say, ‘Well you know, fair enough, you heard what happened didn’t you?’”
Since his role in Harry Potter, Isaacs has starred in A Cure of Wellness, Star Trek: Discovery, The Death of Stalin, and Netflix’s The OA.