Kiefer Sutherland gave up riding motorcycles, won’t give up drinking

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I first saw this story over at Lainey Gossip, because People Magazine is harder to read after their redesign and the new stories get buried fast, right? They changed their format and I have better luck just reading their Twitter feed. People has an interview with Kiefer Sutherland, which they parceled out over a few days. He’s promoting his country album and his new ABC show, Designated Survivor. Kiefer’s character, the US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is the lone survivor and President after an explosion kills the President and all his cabinet during the State of the Union Address. The show is doing incredibly well in the ratings and it’s getting decent reviews as well. My mom watches it and while she’s not enthusiastic about it she says that it’s decent, if you like Kiefer Sutherland.

In Kiefer’s interview he discusses his well known drinking problem. (Recap: this, this, this or this.) He knows that alcohol causes most of his problems but he insists that he doesn’t “drown his sorrows” and says he’s not giving it up. In another part of the interview, which People published later, Kiefer said that he gave up riding a motorcycle when a cop said something to him one time. Makes sense. Kiefer wrote this song, “Can’t Stay Away,” about alcohol, not a woman, and it’s quite revealing as People’s Jess Cagle points out.

On alcohol
It’s something I’ve always enjoyed. I was never the guy, if something was wrong in my life or something wasn’t right, I didn’t go drown my sorrows. One of the things I love to do is go out with my friends and tell stories and have a bunch of drinks. That’s true. Having said that, I can also look back on my life and tell you very squarely that the only bad things that have ever happened to me in my life have been because I like to go to bars and have drinks with my friends. I would be lying if I told you that there weren’t moments where I felt I let it get away from me. So it’s kind of been a push and pull through my life. One of the nice things about writing was that was a nice way to confront that for me… I want to be a certain person too and I have found at times I have let [alcohol] stop me from being that person. So it’s a battle.

Cagle: Clearly you’re very high functioning. If it’s hard to manage why not just get rid of it?
[I] enjoy the times too much, and the memories. I have, at times, for stretches of time. But at some point, I’ve made a decision, right or wrong, for myself that I would rather work really hard so I could still have some of those times. Than to just simply stop. That’s a choice I’ve made and I live with that choice.

Cagle’s Prompt: “I think I’m really bad at…”
Not a great motorcycle rider. I do [like to ride and] go on long trips. I was riding a motorcycle in San Francisco and the cop pulled up next to me, looked over and said, ‘Looks like that bike’s riding you,’ and I said ‘Yeah, it’s pretty big isn’t it?’ I remember ‘I should probably get rid of this.’ And I did.

[From two articles on People]

So Kiefer has multiple publicized incidents in which he’s so drunk he’s tackling a Christmas tree, headbutting a guy, going shirtless (which isn’t that bad but still) and generally getting into trouble but he’s not about to quit. One day, he’s out riding his motorcycle and a cop tells him he’s not riding properly and he gives it up. As someone who used to drink and still rides a motorcycle – it’s a lot easier to ride when you’re not hungover AF from the night before. Plus, it sounds like his bike was just too big for him. Those large heavy bikes can be really hard to maneuver so maybe he just needs something that’s easier and more responsive. I get it though motorcycle riding is dangerous and booze is too but it’s harder to give up. Plus drinking is fun until it’s not and some people can drink moderately. I don’t think Kiefer is one of those people, but we haven’t heard about him having an incident in a while so maybe it’s working for him.

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photos credit: FameFlynet

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19 Responses to “Kiefer Sutherland gave up riding motorcycles, won’t give up drinking”

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t usually like him, but I’m really enjoying Designated Survivor.

  2. Esmom says:

    Well he’s certainly being honest. It doesn’t seem like he’s in denial. I don’t know. My friend’s ex was vey similar, loved drinking and got into some trouble when hammered and went to therapy but never gave it up completely. I always thought abstinence was the only effective treatment for alcoholism but he said that working towards moderation is another legit school of thought. I guess the problem is when you can never quite achieve moderation, no matter how long and how hard you “try.”

    • MI6 says:

      He’s not in denial, is he? I have a certain amount of respect for that. And him.
      I’ve been an admirer of his talent since The Lost Boys. He’s an incredible actor and a troubled soul, which likely brings more dimension to his craft.

      • Itchyandweird says:

        I love his voice—and his honesty. I think the moderation approach is interesting because in America it seems the philosophy is all or nothing.

        Plus, when he recently spoke about Julia Roberts dumping him he was very gracious.

        And at the shallow end of the pool, why don’t more men do the black-vest-with-crisp-white-sleeves-rolled-up?? Oh. My.

    • t.fanty says:

      I guess at the end of the day, if he’s high-functioning, happy, and not hurting anyone with his addiction (Christmas trees notwithstanding), is it any of our business? Under those circumstances, is this any worse than smoking?

      • Esmom says:

        I think the key is “as long as he’s not hurting anyone.” Unlike with smoking, he’s still always a step away from potentially hurting someone or worse if he makes the decision to drive while drunk, for example.

  3. Psu Doh Nihm says:

    Alcoholism is such an insidious disease. It really has a way of making you believe you are in control when really it is in control. My mom had 5 very good years of sobriety. Then she a few months after she retired the demon whispered in her ear that she was stronger now and could control it…that a few drinks wouldn’t hurt. That was 4 months ago and now she is drinking every day. Yet she completely denies it. It really becomes a crutch to some people. Sounds like it’s his crutch.

    • lightpurple says:

      Sorry to hear your mom has this problem.

      My sister-in-law has lost two jobs in the past two years because of drinking at work. Both employers gave her multiple chances but she claims they’re discriminating against her disability, not accepting that she should not have a flask of vodka with her at all times and she shouldn’t be drinking it in the workplace. She has had multiple inpatient hospitalizations for her alcoholism. My brother, also an alcoholic, makes excuses for it.

    • Lilly says:

      Very well said, and I’m so sorry for your mother.

      I enjoy a drink myself, but limit myself to a few glasses of wine on a weekend. I grew up in a house of daily drinkers (7pm was wine or gin o’clock!) and I have a very high tolerance for spirits (never get hungover or fall down drunk) but I didn’t like the idea of a drink being the highlight of my day.

      I think it’s so a part of our culture that even when it messes up our lives, we think of it as harmless. And we romanticize it, associating it with all the good times.

      I live in a flat across from student housing, and every night they smash bottles, scream at each other, and someone is outside crying. It starts younger and seems to get worse every year.

      • Naya says:

        Yes to the romanticising. Apparently you are not fully living your college years if you are not flat out drunk every weekend. In Keifers case, his generation grew up idolising Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, guys whose legend stem from hard partying. No wonder so many of Keifers generation like Depp and Sheen, think it makes them cool and interesting.

    • Naya says:

      I have seen a family member relapse using that same reasoning so I recognised it too. I’m so sorry you have to walk that road with your mum again. I hope she is back on track soon.

    • tmot says:

      I think in most cases it is self-medicating for anxiety or other things. The stigma attached to treating those kind of issues through medical channels (for both the patients and the MDs) definitely contributes to people drinking and scoring drugs on the street.

  4. lisa says:

    i’m loving jack bauer as accidental president so stay safe!

  5. Sullivan says:

    As long as he’s not drinking and driving or causing physical/emotional harm to anyone else.

  6. Alix says:

    I hope his drinking/moto driving doesn’t endanger anyone else. As it is, this interview makes me fear that he won’t be one of our longer-lived celebs…

  7. NeoCleo says:

    High functioning is just another phrase for “waiting for the fall from alcohol” (or name your drug of choice here). The man is an alcoholic. I’m glad he’s not on a motorbike anymore and hopefully he extends that to driving autos while under the influence.

  8. Val says:

    I agree with the previous comment about his denial on alcoholism.
    Having said so, Designated Survivor is a great tv show !!
    (At least, at last, when all my favorite ones are not currently running :-) I need a Viking or 2 !)
    When getting older, K Sutherland reminds me so much of his father…

  9. raincoaster says:

    The Kiefer Sutherland subplot was the only redeeming feature of Zoolander 2.

  10. Trashaddict says:

    Yup, it’s a White Boy’s world. How else do I explain that Kiefer Sutherland and Charlie Sheen can be addicts, get so thoroughly F’d up in the public eye, and still get work? With a gazillion other talented people who could easily take their places?