"I tried heroin," Brolin admits. "That sounds so horrible when you put it like that. But yeah, I tried heroin. I mean, I never got into it and I never died from it, which is a good thing. I've had 19 friends who died. Most of those guys I grew up with, they're all dead now."
Brolin was part of the California surf gang Cito Rats in his teens and admitted to robbing cars for drug money. "It was Santa Barbara," he says. "It was the '80s. It was punk rock. You either had the children of rich, neglectful parents or children of poor, neglectful parents, so it was a mix. But we basically grew up the same way. I've never seen a group like that before or since."
Brolin's struggle with alcoholism is well-documented. The actor spent the early part of New Year's Day 2013 in jail after being arrested for public intoxication. One month later, his marriage to Diane Lane ended after nine years.
"Well, it was another turning point," Brolin says of 2013. "It made me think of a lot of things. My mum dying when I was in my 20s. All the impact that had on me that I hadn't moved past; I was always such a mama's boy. But I realized that I was on a destructive path. I knew that I had to change and mature. It was like I stepped back and saw the hamster wheel."