The 33-year-old actor – who battled drink and drugs addictions until he entered entering rehab to combat his problems in 2003 – says portraying troubled ex-Marine Tommy in new movie 'Warrior' allowed him to draw on his own "personal experience" of alcohol abuse.
He told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: "I felt very much at home with the sadder side of Tommy, but it's not a territory I need to dwell in. I don’t need to discuss or work around the abuse that surrounds alcoholism and dysfunction in families who suffer from that disease because it's something I can draw on from personal experience.
"It was actually quite cathartic, and I felt a responsibility to those who understand that world and those who don't and to open a window on it."
Tom – who has a three-year-old son Louis with his fiancee, actress Charlotte Riley – can relate to a number of the issues in the movie which affected his own life, including "the loss of a father figure".
He added: "The dysfunction of an alcoholic family, the issues of abandonment. I have all kinds of things from separation anxiety and abandonment, the loss of a mother's gaze at a certain age, the loss of a father figure, manhood, forgiveness, amendment.
"And recovery – natural recovery. The evolution of a family and moving on. Tommy is not a very happy person, so I spent a lot of days unhappy. It had its toll."