'The Hills' star Jason Wahler talks sobriety journey and why he doesn't blame show for addiction issues
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Jason Wahler has been sober for the better part of his adult life but his journey with addiction has been anything but a straight line.
The 34-year-old was first featured on the reality TV show “The Hills” in 2006 and later returned for its reboot in 2019. He was open on the revived series “New Beginnings” about how he relapsed in 2018 and 2020 and what motivates him every day to stay sober.
Wahler spoke to Fox News in honor of September being National Recovery Month and the long road he’s taken to reclaiming his life.
Fox News: What do you think the biggest misconception about recovery is?
Jason Wahler: I think the biggest misconception about recovery is people don’t think that you have a life when you attain sobriety. Most most people look at being sober like it’s boring or somber but it’s not. I have gotten to know my genuine, authentic self through recovery. I’ve been able to find a purpose. I’ve been able to find what I truly love in life. I was so blinded by alcohol and drugs. It robbed me for so many years of getting to know myself and it took me to a very dark place.
Jason Wahler said he doesn’t blame reality TV fame for his addiction issues.
(Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Janie’s Fund)
FN: Looking back to when you were in the throes of addiction, was there anything anybody could have done to help you?
Wahler: I was 18, 19, 20 years old. I think everything that my parents could have done, that family could have done… they did everything they possibly could. But I think I had to go through the motions of [addiction]. But today with all the education and knowledge out there, I think [my family] would have been much better equipped on how to approach or deal with me when it came to setting boundaries or how to even approach somebody with addiction. There’s not one person out there in the country that does not know somebody that is struggling with addiction or mental health.
I don’t blame the shows or anything for my addiction. It was all there before. I think it definitely added fuel to the fire. I mean, being such a young age and making a lot of money and again, having access and having a lot of leeway with stuff… it added fuel to the fire but I don’t blame the shows.
I’m grateful that it happened at a young age and I was a lot more aware and attentive. I mean, look what it’s brought me to today and look at the work I get to do and look at the people I get to connect with.
FN: You’ve been on a sober journey for over a decade. What new things are you discovering every day about yourself?
Wahler: Something that I still struggle with sometimes is giving myself grace. Just because you’re sober doesn’t mean that everything becomes perfect. I think it’s still just navigating life as it comes at you and looking at the areas to improve. Something that I do like on a daily basis at the end of my day is look at my defects of character. Look where I went wrong. I identify the areas that I did really well and make amends where I need to make amends. But that way I prepare myself for a better day tomorrow.
FN: How will you talk to your kids about addiction?
Wahler: I definitely believe my family is genetically predisposed to addiction. Half my family struggles with it in some way, shape, or form. So my kids have a fifty percent chance of inheriting this and it’s something that’s scary. But I do know this, while our kids are under our roof, there is going to be no drinking or smoking weed, or experimenting. Until they’re at least 18, there is a no-use policy under our roof.
Ashley and Jason Wahler married in 2013 and share two kids together: daughter Delilah, 4, and baby boy Wyatt.
[At the same time] I also want to create a huge safety net for both my kids so that they can trust in me no matter what. If something does happen, I want them to be able to come to me. So it’s going to be a very fine line of balancing and navigating those waters when it does become to that.
FN: Your “Hills” co-star, Brandon Thomas Lee, also speaks openly about his sobriety. Have you two bonded over common struggles?
Wahler: Brandon, both on and off-screen, is a very dear friend of mine. I mean, look at where he’s at in his early 20s is so admirable and commendable. It’s great to have another brother in sobriety alongside you, especially, you know, doing a show like “The Hills.” It’s definitely helped as we were able to share and communicate on a very personal and intimate level.
One thing Wahler hopes to emphasize through speaking out about addiction is that it’s never too late to ask for help and you’re never alone.
He was recently named as an ambassador for CLEAN Cause, a sparkling yerba maté beverage company, with 50% of profits going directly to fund sober living scholarships across the country.
Wahler said it’s truly “humbling” to know that he’s making an impact on a cause he cares so deeply about.
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