Douglas Family Problems

10/15/1998 AT 12:00 AM EDT

Michael Douglas isn't the only member of his clan in the news. His youngest brother, Eric Douglas, 41, and their father, Kirk Douglas, 83, are working to mend their rocky relationship that is, in part, a result Eric's longtime substance abuse problems. "We're talking," Eric Douglas told New York's Daily News, adding that he and his father are being drawn closer to one another because of speech impediments they now both share. Kirk's is a result of a 1996 stroke; Eric's developed after he overdosed on pills last year (he slipped into an eight-day coma that reduced the flow of oxygen to his brain). "We're much better," says Eric. "My father says, 'You don't have a speech impediment. I do.' " Eric, who had a failed acting career, is currently in a half-way house in Southern California. As for how Kirk views Eric's personal problems, the son says, "I think he blames himself for a lot of what has happened to me."

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