DRAKE & JOSH star Josh Peck opened up about his past drug and alcohol addiction after dropping 127 pounds.
The 35-year-old actor – who is nearly 15 years sober – detailed his weight and substance abuse struggles in his new memoir.
In an interview with PEOPLE ahead of the book’s March 15th release date, Josh admits “I was always looking for something outside to fix my insides.
“But eventually I realized that whether my life was beyond my wildest dreams or a total mess, it didn’t change the temperature of what was going on in my mind. I knew that nothing in the outside world would make me feel whole.”
The former child star has been sober since 2008, but reveals his addictive behavior started with his unhealthy diet growing up.
Beginning his acting journey on Nickelodeon’s The Amanda Show alongside Amanda Bynes, he managed to get his breakout role on the comedy Drake & Josh opposite Drake Bell.
“I spent most of my life dying to be typical but I grew up with a single mom, I was overweight and I was a musical theater kid who really had no social status.
“Comedy was my natural defense mechanism,” he explained.
Weighing nearly 300 pounds, Josh decided to focus on his health with 18 months of diet and exercise that led to the over 100 pound weight loss.
However, he recognized that his weight was not his only obstacle as he soon turned to other vices to cope with his feelings.
“It became clear that once I lost the weight that I was the same head in a new body. What is really clear is that I overdo things,” he said.
“And then I discovered drugs and alcohol. And that became my next chapter. I used food and drugs to numb my feelings.”
Battling his own insecurities and being in the public eye at a young age, Josh said he leaned more towards drugs and alcohol as a means to fit in.
“I had this illusion of becoming more confident and attractive when I was partaking. I was trying to quiet that voice that woke me up every morning and told me I wasn’t enough,” he confessed.
The reputation his partying ways was creating in Hollywood was a fear for the How I Met Your Father star as he reflected on those troubling times, calling his behavior “unstable and erratic.”
“I had worked so hard for this thing and I was getting very close to losing it,” he said.
‘HEALTH, PEACE & CONTENTMENT’
After joining a treatment center, he was able to kick his unhealthy habits, which later followed with a slew of career success.
Josh added a number of film and TV show credits to his already impressive resume in his 20s including a role in the 2012 action film Red Dawn and in the Marvel hit Captain America in 2016.
More recently he had a starring role in the reboot of Disney’s Turner & Hooch and he’s part of the cast of How I Met Your Father, which premiered on Hulu earlier this year.
“By walking through discomfort and by doing my best to break down the false identity I had for myself, I was able to get to the place that I was always seeking,” Josh told the publication.
“I’m just trying to do good work that makes people happy.”
Josh also went on to marry film director Paige O’Brien and became dad to their three-year-old son Max.
“It took me a really long time to love the 15-year-old version of me,” he confessed.
“But now I understand how strong he was. And I feel like everything in my life set me up to find this chapter of health, peace and contentment.”
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