From 1974 to 1983, Little House on the Prairie was considered a top family drama. During the late 180s, the series portrayed life in the rural Midwest, based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
In the film, one actress spoke of her battle against drug and alcohol abuse and her path to sobriety. The “Little House” alum remembered an experience with music icon Dolly Parton while seeking to get on the road to recovery by living at a wellness center.
“After “Little Home, Charlotte Stewart had difficult times.
In the first four seasons of “Little House on the Prairie,” Charlotte Stewart, who played Walnut Grove School teacher Miss Eva Beadle, was involved in drug and alcohol issues before she left the series.
After moving to San Francisco from Los Angeles, Stewart’s downward spiral began.
In her book Little House in the Hollywood Hills: A Poor Girl’s Guide to Being Miss Beadle, Mary X, and Me, Stewart recounts: “I remember drinking so much one night at a restaurant that a waiter had to escort me home.” When I got there, I couldn’t get my key in the lock, and I stood there unsuccessfully scratching at it. He took the key kindly and gently, opened the door and helped me in.
For the sake of her health and well-being, the “Little House” alum knew she had to do something.
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“I moved to San Francisco to get away from L.A. “To be closer to my family,” wrote Stewart. “But I was drinking myself into a kind of blindness at the same time. My family worried about me a lot. Somewhere in my haze, I knew I’d like to quit. Or slow down at least.’
Star ‘Little House’ sought spa stays in order to get sober
Stewart opted for a wellness spa in hopes of getting on the right track instead of going to a detox or rehab facility.
“I went to a health spa in the South Bay to try to get a handle on things,” she explained. “The place offered transformation through meditation and a vegetarian diet – and, of course, drugs and alcohol were not on the menu.”
Stewart obtained some surprising results after engaging in an examination that led her to doubt the validity of the evaluation.
I was asked to fill out a personality profile as part of the intake,” she recalled. “The next day, the director asked me to discuss the findings in his office.
The replies, he said, showed I was suicidal. Which I thought was nuts. How can that be? There was something ridiculously wrong with their research.
With that, Dolly Parton had no issue.
Stewart later attempted another one outside San Diego when the first spa didn’t yield the desired results.
Stewart participated in a small group skit during her stay that involved some suiting.
She wrote, “The staff asked all of us to perform a skit.” So I asked Dolly Parton, the country singer who was staying there at the time as well, if I could borrow her wig. She was more than happy to send me one, a big blond thing, and I did a Holly Spartan skit.
Stewart did not get the support she wanted, in her efforts to recover, and her career started to suffer.
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My issues were not solved by spa stays,” explained Stewart. “I can’t blame Hollywood for that. For having a built-in disinterest in actresses over 35, I can’t blame the industry.
That was fine, old-fashioned abuse of substance working its magic of profession.
Luckily, in the ’80s, Stewart effectively forged a course to sobriety.
How to get help: Call the Department of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services helpline at 1-800-662-4357 in the United States.