'It's kind of been a push and pull through my life,' the actor says

In Kiefer Sutherland’s new song “Can’t Stay Away,” from his debut album Down in a Hole, the actor-turned-musician sings about a tumultuous relationship that has brought him both pleasure and pain. But counter to many people’s first impressions, he’s not referring to a woman who broke his heart — he’s talking about alcohol.

During a recent episode of The Jess Cagle Interview, the Designated Survivor star opened up about his complicated relationship with drinking and why he ultimately chose not to give it up.

“I was never the guy, if something was wrong in my life or something wasn’t right, I didn’t go drown my sorrows,” Sutherland said. “One of the things I love to do is go out with my friends and tell stories and have a bunch of drinks. That’s true. Having said that, I can also look back on my life and tell you very squarely that the only bad things that have ever happened to me in my life have been because I like to go to bars and have drinks with my friends. I would be lying if I told you that there weren’t moments where I felt I let it get away from me. So it’s kind of been a push and pull through my life.”

Watch full episodes of the Jess Cagle Interview, available now, on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to people.com/PEN, or download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS and Android devices.

Asked about the notion of quitting alcohol, Sutherland said he “enjoy[s] the times too much, and the memories.” He added, “I have, at times, for stretches of time. But at some point, I’ve made a decision, right or wrong, for myself that I would rather work really hard so I could still have some of those times. Than to just simply stop. That’s a choice I’ve made and I live with that choice.”

Watch the video above for more from Sutherland.