Tatum O'Neal
Credit: Scott Wintrow/Getty Images

(FROM THE NEW YORK POST) ? Oscar-winning actress Tatum O’Neal told the New York Post that her arrest on Sunday for buying cocaine ”saved” her from ruining her life. ”I’m still sober!” she told a Post reporter. ”Just when I was about to change that and wreck my life, the cops came and saved me. I was saved by the bell, by the guys in the Seventh Precinct.” The actress says the death of her 16-year-old dog sent her into the downward spiral that ended with her hitting Manhattan’s Lower East Side on Sunday night in search of drugs. ”It triggered that my mother passed away [from addiction] in ’98. My father [actor Ryan O’Neal] and I are estranged.”

O’Neal, 44, was arrested at around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor, and arraigned Monday. The panhandler who sold her the drugs has been charged with a felony. Police say that the actress, who in 2004 published A Paper Life, a memoir about her struggles with addiction, bought both crack and powder cocaine, but O’Neal told the Post that she didn’t even realize she was buying crack. ”It’s both?” she asked the Post reporter. ”I didn’t even know what I was buying!” She added, ”I’m eternally grateful, as sort of grim as the situation was, that I didn’t get to do what my disease was telling me to do.” (NY Post)