Thursday, May 07, 2009

Paula Abdul: Getting off painkillers was ‘the worst’

“American Idol” judge Paula Abdul admits she was addicted to painkillers for 12 years until a tragedy prompted her to go cold turkey.

“I could have killed myself,” she tells Ladies’ Home Journal in a new interview.

Last November, days after an obsessed fan killed herself outside Abdul’s home, Paula went to a health spa where she weaned herself off the prescription pain meds she’d popped for various ailments.

Dancing injuries, a 1992 car crash and a 1993 plane crash that required 15 spinal surgeries all contributed to a diagnosis of reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, she told the magazine.

The condition left her with disabling pain, chattering teeth and shingles-like lesions. In order to relieve the ever-present symptoms, Abdul said she popped muscle relaxers in addition to wearing a patch that delivered extremely strong pain medication.

The withdrawal process was “the worst,” she said.

“I was freezing cold, then sweating hot, then chattering and in so much pain. It was excruciating. But at my very core, I did not like existing the way I had been.”

Abdul claims that she never filmed an episode of “Idol” while under the influence. However, she has appeared far more lucid this season than in years past.

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