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‘I Almost Extinguished That Fire’: ‘Full House’ Star Dave Coulier on Losing Bob Saget, Clinging to Faith, and Overcoming Alcoholism

Bob Saget, left, and Dave Coulier attend the 30th annual Scleroderma Foundation Benefit at the Beverly Wilshire hotel Friday, June 16, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Comedian and actor Dave Coulier’s lighthearted and family-friendly comedy has inspired joy in fans for decades. But while he’s known for sparking laughs, he’s also faced a string of challenging moments in recent years, relying on faith to help guide him through.

Coulier, 62, played funnyman Joey Gladstone in “Full House” and “Fuller House” and has a new Pure Flix show titled “Live+Local,” recently opened up to CBN’s Faithwire about some of his troubles and victories.

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From finding sobriety to dealing with the deaths of loved ones — including fellow “Full House” star Bob Saget — Coulier was candid. He shared how he and Saget met when Coulier was just 18 and how their friendship and “Full House” tenure sparked a lifelong bond.

“I had been doing standup comedy … I started when I was 18, and I’d only been doing standup a couple of weeks, but I thought I was pretty good,” Coulier said. “[Then] there was a club a comedy night … here in Detroit, Michigan.”

Saget walked into the venue that night with other comedians, and his performance was so good it stunned Coulier. The two chatted and exchanged numbers.

Later, when Coulier moved to Los Angeles, he called Saget, and the two reconnected. Saget let Coulier sleep on his couch — and their decades-long friendship began.

“Bob and I just became instant brothers, and then art imitates life,” Coulier said. “I end up doing ‘Full House’ with Bob. And [my character] Joey moves into [Saget’s character] Danny Tanner’s living room and sleeps on his couch.”

Watch Coulier discuss his friendship with Saget as well as his struggles with alcoholism:

Coulier said the on-screen scenes were “full circle” when put in context to the actors’ real-life history. Considering those deep connections, Saget’s January death rocked Coulier, as did several other losses he sustained over the past year. Through it all, he has looked to faith to cope.

“I grew up in a very Catholic community here in … the suburbs of Detroit, in a very large, Catholic family,” he said. “So the beauty of that is that I always had wonderful people to lean on through tough times.”

As Coulier grew older, though, he faced other struggles, including “a long period of alcohol abuse,” something he said endangered his faith and led to many struggles.

“I always equate my faith to a fire that’s burning inside of you, and I almost extinguished that fire because of my abuse with alcohol,” he said.

Coulier got sober before some of the most significant losses mounted in his life. His brother took his own life, he lost his father, and Saget died all in a 12-month period.

He called these deaths a “hat trick of losses” and a collective “heart punch.” But Coulier expressed gratitude he was able to process all that unfolded while finally sober.

“The only thing I could think was, ‘Thank goodness I don’t have alcohol in my life that is extinguishing that fire which is my faith,'” he said. “And I was able to feel those raw emotions, which I never would have felt had I been abusing alcohol — and I was in touch with myself spiritually.”

Coulier continued, “So, for me, it was allowing that flame to ignite again and to find my spirituality, and it helped me through all of that.”

The actor offered encouragement to anyone who might be struggling with sobriety or with helping someone else through that journey.

“Don’t forget to laugh,” he said. “Laughter is such an amazing gift. It can heal you. It can give you perspective.”

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