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TV personality Jason Wahler, from “Laguna Beach” and "The Hills,” went through a very public addiction battle after years of partying, drinking and doing cocaine and he got sober on “Celebrity Rehab.” Jason shares with The Doctors that while life looked good – he found the love of his life and began working in the field of substance abuse and mental health – he was harboring a secret. Jason had relapsed.
Jason’s wife Ashley says a year and a half into their marriage she noticed a decline in Jason’s recovery. Jason stopped working at the program and going to meetings. He tells us a therapist prescribed him Adderall and says he soon became hooked to the drug, taking more and more every day. When he couldn’t sleep, he turned to alcohol.
Jason says he got to the point where he was drinking at least a fifth of alcohol per day and consuming a minimum of 300mg of Adderall. Ashley thought once their daughter was born it would be better, but it wasn’t. Eventually, Ashley kicked him out. “It got so bad, I was calling Ashley saying I don’t want to live anymore,” shares Jason. Luckily, Jason went back to treatment and when he joins The Doctors he is newly sober once again.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork asks why this time with sobriety is different. Jason explains that the first time he got sober, he had been partying and out with friends but this time, it was in isolation that he was drinking. “I’ve had a taste of sobriety and I know what it feels like to have recovery and I wanted that back,” explains Jason.
Jason says addiction is a disease of denial. “I’d be lying to myself saying I could do this, but I can’t.” Jason knew when he started taking Adderall he was in trouble. He thanks his wife Ashley for her support with his recovery.
Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra wants to shed a different light on addiction and asks Ashley what this experience was like for her.
Ashely explains how the addict becomes very good at manipulating loved ones into thinking a certain way and they often lose themselves over the years. She explains there is the addict and then the codependent. “We just kept doing the dance. The manipulation, the lies, I just always wanted to believe he would change.”
Ashley had her breaking point when she saw Jason holding her daughter after he had been drinking. Ashley registered that if she couldn’t do it for herself, she had to do it for her child. Ashely realized Jason wasn’t going to change unless she put up some boundaries. It was after Ashley kicked Jason out that things finally changed.
The Doctors invite two people who are part of Jason’s support network to join the conversation. Jason’s friend and addiction specialist Daniel J. Headrick shares that sometimes when you are so close to an addict, you can’t see it. Addiction is his specialty and even Daniel missed the signs with Jason. Dr. Batra asks if this type of relapse so far into sobriety is normal and Daniel shares that it, unfortunately, is typical.
The second guest is Jason’s sponsor and life coach Tim Storey. Tim shares he is working with Jason on going through both recovery and discovery at the same time. The discovery zone is where living life and enjoying all that he has, like his family, exists.
Jason shares that his faith in God, his family and his friends all keep him strong. “It’s natural highs, life has so much to offer. Your brain produces more potent chemicals than heroin, you just got to let it work.” Jason explains that he and Ashely wake up every morning and do a gratitude list, a prayer meditation, and then both go to their meetings.
Ashley wants to note that they strive to do this every morning but it doesn’t always happen. “Progress not perfection,” she says. Ashley talks about how important it is to take one day at a time and stay in the present.
Jason explains addiction is “a primary chronic progressive and often fatal disease.” If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction call the Substance Abuse National Help Line at 1800-662-HELP. Jason is a reminder that it’s never too late to ask for help.