While the MTV hit reality show "Jersey Shore" may have been known for excessive partying and drunken debauchery, one star is celebrating an important milestone on his sober journey.
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino took to Instagram this week to celebrate five years of continuous sobriety, admitting that "he has been through some situations in life, addiction being one of them."
"I have grown a lot as an individual, overcome a lot of obstacles, and one of my proudest moments so far has been celebrating 5 years of continuous sobriety this past December," he wrote in the caption. "Receiving my 5 year medallion made me feel like I won a gold medal, and it is a badge I am honored to wear!"
The 38-year-old reality star said he was sharing his experience to hopefully break the stigma and shame that comes with addiction.
"I share my journey of addiction, because it is so important to break the stigma of addiction," he said. "People are suffering out there because they are afraid to speak out about needing help. If I can help just one person find their voice, I know it was all worth it!"
He concluded his caption pointing people who may be in need of help to call a hotline associated with the Banyan Treatment Center, a group of rehabilitation centers located across the country. (He seems to have an on-going partnership with the company.)
According to the Asbury Park Press, Sorrentino's addiction to opioids began when he was in college.
“I didn’t realize I had an obsessive personality,” Sorrentino said in a 2018 interview with the New Jersey based newspaper. “And everything I did had to be done to the max. And I went down this road for many years. Of experimenting, partying, making bad decisions because, when you’re addicted, everything is affected by that substance. You don’t eat correctly, you don’t sleep correctly. Your relationships are affected and you don’t even realize that.”
In March 2012, Sorrentino checked into a treatment program to deal with his addiction issues.
"I have voluntarily taken steps to get control of a prescription medication problem I had due to exhaustion. I have spent the past several weeks getting treatment for this problem and recuperating from my work and appearance schedule," he wrote back in 2012. "I appreciate my fans support and love you guys."
One month later, he successfully completed his program. "He is now stronger and better than ever, and excited for this new amazing chapter in his life," according to a statement released at the time, which also said that Sorrentino had "a whole new outlook on life."
But the reality star relapsed after that. “I ended up getting sober for about a year and was doing all the wrong things because I did the recovery myself,” he said. “I didn’t get a sponsor. I didn’t have a recovery network. I didn’t go to meetings. I didn’t take the suggestions. I was going to try to do it my way. And obviously I was wrong.”
In 2016, he committed himself to sobriety once again, on the heels of reuniting with his "Jersey Shore" family for a reboot of the popular series titled "Jersey Shore: Family Vacation."
“I was concerned but every single week I sit back and sometimes I get a tiny bit emotional,” he said. “I really just took it one day at a time just like I did with my recovery and everything worked out. I come from a different role where I'm now watching out for my friends. Now I’m giving them good advice. Now I’m just helping.”
Today, Sorrentino is sober and seems to be happy. In 2018, he married his college sweetheart, Lauren Pesce. After suffering a miscarriage in 2019, the couple are expecting their first child together in May 2021.
In December of last year, they announced they're having a baby boy.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or substance abuse, please call SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or text TALK to 741741.