Robert Munsch recovering from cocaine addiction
Published Monday, May 17, 2010 11:04PM EDT
Beloved Canadian children's author Robert Munsch shocked many of his fans by announcing this weekend that he has been battling addictions to cocaine and alcohol.
In a message titled "Note to Parents" posted on his website, the bestselling author Robert Munsch, 64, admitted he's been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and manic-depression (also known as bipolar disorder).
He suggested addiction was not new to him and said he had attended 12-step recovery meetings "for more than 25 years." He said the challenges of coping with his mental health conditions had led him to make some "big mistakes."
In a Saturday TV interview, Munsch admitted he had recently grown dependent on cocaine and alcohol in a bid to help him with his mood swings. He said when he was drinking, he would sometimes "do stupid things," including cocaine.
He said he had moved past the addictions and had been sober for about four months.
In his note to parents, Munsch says his mental health and addiction problems are not a secret to his friends and family, who have supported him over the years.
"They have been a big support to me over the years, and I would not have been able to do this without their love and understanding," he wrote.
He said he hopes "everyone will talk to their kids honestly, listen to them, and help them do their best with their own challenges."
Munsch's publisher, Annick Press, applauded the beloved author for going public about his addiction. The company released a statement saying their respect for Munsch in his personal life matches that for him in his professional life.
"We know Bob will be successful in his recovery. We commend him for being so open, for reaching out to others, and we wish him continued strength," Annick Press Director Rick Wilks said in a statement.
A spokesman said Munsch's upcoming shows will go ahead as planned.
This is not the first time the author of such classics as "The Paperbag Princess," "Mortimer," and "Love You Forever" has had health problems. In August 2008, Munsch suffered a stroke that briefly affected his ability to speak properly and left him unable to write new stories.
He said while he was recovering, he would be editing a whopping 51 drafts for new books that had been on the shelf before his stroke. He still has some trouble searching for words and has an occasional stutter.
Munsch was born in Pittsburgh, Penn. and studied to be a Jesuit priest before deciding to work in preschools, where he got his start as a storyteller.
He moved to Canada in 1975 and four years later wrote his first book titled "Mud Puddle". He's since written more than 50 books, which have gone on to sell more than 30 million copies worldwide and become staples of many Canadian children's libraries.
His book readings over the past three decades have drawn thousands at a time, as children flock to watch the author's manic energy as he reads from his beloved stories.
The Guelph-based writer's latest books are "Down the Drain" and "Put Me in a Book."
Munsch was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1999 and was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame last September.