NEW YORK – Tatum O'Neal was distraught over the loss of her dog when she was arrested in a drug investigation on Sunday in Manhattan, and she's happy that cops "saved" her.
"I'm still sober!" the Oscar-winning actress, who has publicly battled drug addiction, told the New York Post on Monday, two hours after being sprung from a night in jail. "Just when I was about to change that and wreck my life, the cops came and saved me!" she said.
O'Neal, 44, was released without bail after her cocaine-possession arrest. She was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on a misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance and entered no plea.
Despite an earlier report that she allegedly was buying crack cocaine, according to the Manhattan district attorney's office, O'Neal was found in possession of two yellow Ziploc bags of cocaine.
"There's no excuse for what I did," O'Neal told the Post. "I lost my Scottish terrier, Lena," three weeks ago. "That seemed to set me off.
"I have the disease of alcoholism. It's lifelong. I treat it every day by going to my 12-step program," she said.
Asked about reports, which later were disregarded, that she was trying to buy crack as well as cocaine, she said, "It's both? I didn't even know what I was buying!"
Police found the two bags of cocaine in her right front pants pocket when she was arrested around 7:30 p.m. Sunday on the Lower East Side, according to a court complaint. Officers saw O'Neal accept the drug from a man during a routine drug sweep, police said.
She is due back in court July 28.
Prosecutors are recommending drug treatment for O'Neal, who detailed her dependency on heroin and cocaine in her 2004 memoir, "A Paper Life."
O'Neal, daughter of Ryan O'Neal, was 10 when she won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for 1973's "Paper Moon." She is the youngest person ever to win an Oscar.
The former child star struggled for years with drug abuse and publicly feuded with her father and her former husband, John McEnroe. In recent years she has rebuilt her acting career, playing the hard-drinking Maggie Gavin in the FX channel's "Rescue Me."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.