Steve-O, famous from MTV’s Jackass show, is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. He has been sober for well over nine years. He is also a role model for many drug and alcohol users seeking to turn their lives around. Steve-O gained fame for doing stunts that were both fun and crazy, all of which captivated millions of fans of the hit TV series. Like most people in the public limelight, Steve-O was struggling with alcohol and drug abuse.
Early Drug and Alcohol Abuse
He began drugs and alcohol recreationally when he was a teenager. So giving up something he was so accustomed to seemed impossible. His mother then forced him into rehab when he was 20, but he only remained sober for about two and a half months. This is a struggle many addicts face in their lives, often characterized by a sense of apathy, depression and lost hope.
Rise to Fame
Steve-O reputation as a daredevil was undisputed. His vast array of crazy acts, consistent with the attributes of an adrenaline junkie includes: piercing his butt cheeks together; tattooing an image of himself holding two thumbs-up on his back and stapling things to his body.
He was arrested multiple times for all kinds of offenses. In addition to being charged with cocaine possession, he once vandalized his apartment by busting a hole in the wall that separated his apartment from that of his neighbor. But behind all this rock-star lifestyle and out-of-this-world creativity for weirdly hilarious stunts, was a man grappling with an addiction that would surely have destroyed his career.
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Journey to Recovery
Now living as a vegan, comedian and author among other things, Steve-O is a huge inspiration to many. His memoir, Steve-O: Professional Idiot takes people on his journey through addiction and recovery. His memoir tells the story of how he met the crew at Jackass, His tough relationship with his mother and his illustrious career path. Steve-O decided to change more than just his mindset and diet but his entire lifestyle.
Looking back at his career at Jackass, not to mention acts such as pissing on the red carpet on the premiere of one of the Jackass movies, Steve-O remembers a time when he was in a dark place. His outrageous behavior which included the constant use of alcohol and drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, nitrous oxide, methamphetamines, and ketamine was more of a downward spiral.
In his book, Steve-O explains that he is thrilled to have that phase of his life over. After sending out an email to friends and acquaintances about his plan to jump off a building and being ready to die, his close friends and colleagues held an intervention that started him on his path to treatment.
Support from Friends
It goes without saying that addiction is a disease and the victim is rarely in a position to realize that they need help. Thanks to a strong support system, Steve-O faced his drug addiction and made a dedicated effort to seek treatment.
His unwavering resolve to put his past behind him was evident when after being released from treatment, he decided to check himself back into rehab for an additional two weeks. After about six months of being free from drugs and alcohol, he made more public appearances. He also starred in Dancing with the Stars.
The Big Step In Recovery
The first big step in Steve-O’s recovery which was an addiction intervention shows the critical role everyone has in helping an addict. Most addicts seek isolation and get into denial. They also become defensive.
This may lead to suicidal thoughts, which was the case in Steve-O’s case. But approaching the issue of addiction requires forethought and planning. There are cases where one has to be forcibly held for suicidal behavior. But that may not always be the case. You should always approach an addict in a loving and non-confrontational manner.
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Challenges with Sobriety
Steve-O’s interviews regarding his challenges with sobriety highlight a major challenge most recovering addict’s face. When shooting the third Jackass movie, Steve-O was already sober. But he still had to be around members of the crew with whom he had previously spent so much time partying. Well, most addicts in recovery find themselves in situations or environments that are considered to be triggers for a relapse. To prevent the second relapse, Steve-O avoided situations where he would have to watch his former friends and colleagues using drugs or alcohol.
In 2011, Ryan Dunn, Steve-O’s friend, and co-star died in a fatal car accident. After a night of heavy drinking, Dunn lost control of his Porsche and rammed into a tree at over 120 mph. He and a friend died instantly. Toxicology reports later determined that Dunn’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was at .196, which is way above the legal limit.
In many of his interviews, Steve-O acknowledges the existence of temptations, but he has not allowed them to control his life. After all, temptations come and go. On the path to recovery, addicts are likely to be faced with challenges. But it’s important to stay strong and never lose hope. Even more important is that a relapse does not signify the end of the road. Steve-O has been to rehab in his 20s and relapsed. However, he still managed to face his demons and stay on the path to recovery.
Making the Choice for a Better Life
It is true that Steve-O was forcibly restrained in a hospital for suicidal behavior. But he made a choice to make things better. He has since become an active member of the recovery community and enjoys advocating for animal rights. His leap of faith and impressive turnaround is really admirable. Indeed, recovery is a journey with all kinds of hurdles, but it all starts with the first step.
Steve-O is without a doubt living proof addicts can still recover and lead productive lives. This is despite the obstacles and seemingly endless roadblocks. Currently, Steve-O is involved with numerous projects and still leading a productive life in the entertainment industry.
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