Before he was Buzz Lightyear, Tim Allen recalled being an “eff up” during his in in his early .

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The 67-year-old was arrested in 1978 with over a pound of cocaine in his luggage. He was sent to federal prison for two years and four months aged 23 after he pleaded guilty thinking the wouldn’t be harsh. 

“We were a bunch of college kids — a bunch of the kids who overdid it,” and “two of us took [the punishment] for about 20 guys,” he recalled on the “WTF” podcast with Marc Maron

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“I was very contrite,” after he was arrested as he had been living a “terribly stressful existence,” but made goals in the months leading up to sentencing for when he would come out of prison.

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“I don’t say this lightly and anybody who has been incarcerated [knows], it’s surprising what the human being will get used to,” shared. “Eventually after eight months, I got used to it. There were OK times. Saturday we got better food. Eventually, I went from a holding cell arrangement to my own cell.”

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After he got his own cell he called his mom on Thanksgiving in an “embarrassingly funny to me,” call that was “was interrupting dinner.” Allen filled her in on “how proud I was I got my own cell. And you’re really proud of it. She goes: ‘Oh, that’s good. Steve graduated from Purdue. Jeff‘s on his way to Michigan State. One of my oldest sons got his own cell.’”

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“After my old man died, I really just played games with people and told adults what they wanted to hear and then stole their booze,” the Wildhogs star said. “Really I was Eddie Haskell [from Leave it to Beaver]: Yes, Mrs. Cleaver. No, Mrs. Cleaver, I knew exactly what adults wanted — make your bed, be polite, use a napkin — and then I’d go steal everything in the house.”

He had his first drink aged ten after “every cowboy movie I saw as a kid” showed men having a shot of whisky and riding off on their horses. “That stuff’s gotta be pretty damn refreshing,” he thought at the time.

“I went down to a friend’s house and just poured Jim Beam into a jigger, not a shot glass, [it was] two and half shots actually, and downed it — just like the TV. It was like I drank a bottle of gasoline… Any normal person would have said: ‘That’s it,’ as in no more. However, I said, ‘Well, maybe I needed more water,’ I got used to it.”

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“Alcohol for me… I’m going on 23 years sober and clean of everything… Alcohol never affected me like the other guys. I could drink copious amounts even [as] a young kid.

“I look back on those things, this is sober guy stuff, I had so much shame at the things that I did … especially driving people around. Coming from a dad that was killed that way, it’s difficult to get past it.

“Grateful is the word. I love my life,” he said of sobriety. “I’m not any more mentally stable, I have the same issues I had. Now, I can’t hide from them.”

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