LARA FLYNN BOYLE IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

Published on: March 17, 2003

Heartbroken Lara Flynn Boyle's drinking has spun horribly out of control -- and she's turned to Alcoholics Anonymous to save her.

The actress' devoted mother Sally has stepped in to stop her daughter's slide into a nightmare of wild partying and heavy boozing, say friends.

A drinker for years, the 33-year-old star of "the Practice" fell apart when she split from Jack Nicholson in January -- and she dulled the pain with alcohol, reveal concerned pals. But now she's determined to reclaim her life.

The talented brunette attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at the Womens' Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., on Sunday, February 16, with her mom Sally, The ENQUIRER has learned.

"Lara looked like she was in another world at the 10 a.m. A.A. meeting," revealed an observer. "She was staring into space and nervously drawing on her cigarette during a break."

The two women stayed for more than an hour listening to other people's sad stories about their battles against alcohol addiction.

Contacted by The ENQUIRER, Sally confirmed her daughter attends A.A. meetings -- but insists it's a family tradition!

"We've been going to A.A. since she was 9 years old. It's because of her father," she said. "We go like church."

The protective mom insisted her daughter was not having a problem with drinking and emphasized, "I'm her mother and I would know."

Yet several sources tell a far different story.

"Lara is an admitted alcoholic," said a source. "I've bumped into her at many A.A. meetings in the L.A. area recently.

And a friend disclosed: "Lara's always been a drinker, but her heartbreak and disappointment over her breakup with Jack had her drinking even harder.

"Thankfully, her mother was there. Lara's mom has always been Lara's rock. She visits her daily and still does her laundry! She's Lara's assistant, parent, guardian and maid. Once Sally detected a noticeable increase in Lara's drinking, she hustled her to A.A."

A neighbor of the star confided: "Lara is a very wild girl. Her partying was definitely out of control.

"Some nights, she came home in her black Mercedes, climbed up the stairs and went to bed -- leaving the car running! It sat there idling until it either ran out of gas or until she left for work in the morning.

"It happened so many times that she finally bought a second car."

A Hollywood insider revealed, "I've seen Lara drunk at a number of hot Hollywood watering holes.

"One night toward the holidays, Lara was drinking regular cocktails and pounding back shots as well."

The acclaimed actress is not alone in her battle -- her co-stars understand and have been supportive, said the source.

"Lara's co-star Dylan McDermott; who partied hard in his teen years, spoke at the A.A. picnic this year.

"And David E. Kelley, the executive producer of the show, is a big supporter of A.A.

"Lara has courageously faced her problem with alcohol head-on and is dealing with it."

Asked about Lara's drinking problem and attendance at A.A. meetings, her spokeswoman Karynne Tencer told The ENQUIRER: "I am unaware of the situation."

But an insider disclosed: "Thanks to the support of her mom and friends, Lara seems to have gotten a handle on her drinking. She's trying hard to get her life together.

"Everyone is praying for Lara."