billy flynn chad gallery DAYS OF OUR LIVES -- Season: 51 -- Pictured: Billy Flynn as Chad DiMera -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)
Credit: Chris Haston/NBC

Chad’s portrayer has been to hell — and, thankfully, back.

In the May 30 edition of State of Mind with General Hospital star Maurice Benard (Sonny), Days of Our Lives MVP Billy Flynn (Chad) unburdened himself in a big way. First, he recalled an early scene in which he was called upon to turn on the waterworks. “In front of other people, [it] seemed insane,” he said. “I decided to fake it.”

It went so badly that the take was stopped — a rarity in modern-day soaps. Afterward, “I still could’t get there,” he admitted. “I thought for sure I was fired.”

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Flynn wasn’t pink-slipped. But that in no way meant that he was out of the woods. “I’m a work in progress,” he shared. “I’m an alcoholic and an addict,” one who’s been in recovery for coming up on three years.

The actor went on to say that he’d had to draw a line in the sand, that or “I was going to die.” Even on his way to getting better, he’d been “willing to walk away from my wife and my job and everything else that I loved” to not feel the way that he did.

Simply put, Flynn couldn’t continue on the way that he had. “The drinking and using even took over at work,” he said. But “sex, love, alcohol, gambling… ” he would’ve embraced “anything to make me not sit with who I really am.”

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Why? Good question — one with which Flynn has grappled. As his single mother sought love and acceptance via remarriages, he discovered that he could become the center of attention by getting in trouble, then working his way back into her good graces. The same pattern repeated with future bosses and his wife. “Once I would have something,” he marveled, “it was no longer appealing to me.”

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Finally, Flynn discovered “a new way to live” and, following the death of his beloved great grandmother, aka his “soulmate other than my wife”… well, first, he spiraled, using “more and more and more to be not who I was,” then at last getting sober. “There were times I didn’t want to live,” he said. “Certainly, how I was treating myself, I didn’t want to live.

“I mean, there were times when I would drink and use to a place where thought I was going to die quite literally in the moment,” he went on, “and I would keep going.” Hell, there were times when “I took as much as I could, and when I woke up, I was shocked.”

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Thankfully, Flynn did wake up. And now he is working toward being his best self. While he does so, check out the full interview above and stop off at the below photo gallery that revisits highlights of Days of Our Lives’ entire run.