BOOK JASON WAHLER
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Jason Wahler is a Host, Actor and TV personality who appeared on Laguna Beach, The Hills, Celebrity Rap Superstar, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, after battling through a public struggle with addiction. Sober since July 2010, Jason has dedicated his life to raising awareness towards addiction and hopes to one day change the public’s negative perception of this deadly disease. Through his hard work and dedication the E! Network did an E! True Hollywood Story highlighting Jason’s remarkable new life.
Currently, Founder and Owner of Widespread Recovery in beautiful Laguna Beach, Ca. Jason’s goal is to set the standard in aftercare. He continually uses his personal experience and presence in the public eye to inspire people struggling with addiction and alcoholism. His direct involvement with the recovery community changed his life and allows him to be a resource for thousands of individuals who need help but don’t know where to turn.
On a regular basis Jason works with various media outlets, celebrities, young adults, schools, law enforcement, churches, and athletes in order to promote addiction education and prevention.
This led him to create Speaker’s In Recovery, a speaker’s bureau that brings together high profile individuals to speak out on addiction.
Jason, also, serves on the honorary boards of The Prism Awards, Entertainment Industry Council, The Los Angeles Mission, and The Brent Shapiro Foundation as well as contributing to the highly respected Huffington Post.
“Looking back over the course of the past 5 years I never thought I would be where I am at today. If you told me I would find my passion and motivation working in the recovery industry, I would have thought you were crazy. Today, I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
I have always been athletic and crazy about sports. I loved being outdoors surfing, skiing, snowboarding, water skiing, and just about anything else you can imagine. However, my heart and my passion was, and still is, baseball. I remember as a young boy dreaming of becoming a major league pitcher. Plus, throughout the time I played I won numerous awards for Most Valuable Player, highest batting average, and rookie of the year. In high school I was attracting the attention of major league scouts and the dream of playing in the big leagues was beginning to look like a reality.
I came back to Laguna Beach for my senior year in high school. I had some close friends talk to me about doing a reality show based on the young privileged crowd I had grown up with. My first reaction was absolutely not. I wouldn’t be caught dead doing something like that. They had already run the first year and I just couldn’t picture myself being involved in the show. However, through close friends and family I was convinced that it would be cool to have my senior year documented. I could never have imagined how that decision would change my life.
Once the show began airing my life went crazy. All of a sudden I was recognized everywhere I went. People stopped us on the street for autographs and pictures. We were stalked by paparazzi and it seemed like everything I did ended up in the tabloids. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the attention, but at times it was overwhelming. I felt horrible for my parents who had people bothering them and standing outside their house trying to get pictures. It was fun, crazy, out of control, scary, and I wouldn’t have changed any of it.
During the filming of The Hills is when my addiction really started to kick in. I had everything society said was amazing: cars, women, access, houses, celebrity friends, etc. When all my friends were looking for fake ID’s, I was being paid to travel the world and party. I had gone from high school senior to tabloid bad boy in a very short time. I was living every 18-year-old boy’s dream life and loving it. Though, I was soon to learn, it came with a serious down side.
As the party lifestyle ramped up, I began to sense something wasn’t right. There was a nagging inside me that indicated the life I lead wasn’t going in the right direction. However, I couldn’t stop the party train, and frankly, didn’t really want to. However, by the age of 22, I had been arrested nine times, incarcerated for well over a hundred days, attended seven treatment centers from Florida to Hawaii, been 5150’d, and hospitalized over a dozen times.
I became so defeated that I not only contemplated suicide, I attempted it. However, the man upstairs kept me alive.
Thank God I have an amazing family. I am completely blessed to have the family I do. My parents are still married and I have three siblings I absolutely love to death. In fact, it’s the bond and love I have with my parents that finally made the difference. I remember being in my therapist’s office for the millionth time when I saw exactly how my drinking was affecting my parents. My dad, who is my hero and in my mind walked around with a Superman “S” on his shirt, sat in his chair a defeated man. He related how my behavior was destroying their marriage and that he and my mom were like two planks of wood waiting for the call that let them know I was dead. This is where the light came on and I had a moment of clarity. At that moment, I had seen my parent’s age ten years in the past two and I realized that if I couldn’t get sober for myself, I needed to do it for them. This is when I went to treatment for the last time.
I entered into Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew just over 60 days of sobriety. I did this for two reasons. First, I truly wanted to change the public’s negative perception of who I was as a person. Secondly, I believe that it’s not hard to get sober; it’s hard to stay sober. I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to work with two of the top professionals in the field with Dr. Drew and Bob Forrest. I knew working with and learning from Drew and Bob would be the best thing for my long-term recovery. Little did I know at the time, that both men would become mentors and their influence would help me discover my true passion in life.
I thought I had experienced every emotion you could feel, from the highest highs to the lowest lows and everything in between. None of those experiences could compare to how I felt when I walked down the aisle and married my best friend.
As I took my place at the altar, I was overcome with emotion as the bridal procession started. Ashley and I poured our hearts into our vows, which came so effortlessly as the love we felt, and still feel for each other, continues to fill our lives together. Ashley still says it felt like a fairy tale. For me, that feeling still persists.
For Ashley, being with me has been a learning experience. She never expected to marry someone who is a recovering alcoholic. In fact, she had very little experience with addiction before she met me. Now, she has learned to adjust her own life in ways that allow me to be better version of myself. According to her, this whole process has allowed us to form an unbreakable bond. From day one of dating, I told her that my sobriety was the most important thing in the world to me. Since then, she has done nothing but support my sobriety and been my rock. I am truly blessed to have such an amazing wife.
I could never have imagined the life I have today. The gift of sobriety allows me to live a life beyond my wildest imagination and I hope to pass the gift on to as many people as possible.
It’s a trip looking back knowing I used to be paid to party. Today, however, by surrendering and taking direction, I have found what I truly love; working in recovery. I have gained extensive knowledge about and a profound respect for my disease. Moreover, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn from the top professionals in the recovery industry.
Dr. Drew once told me, “Some people have old souls, you’ve lived one.” I’ve been able to use that to my advantage. My life and experience allows me to relate to anyone struggling with addiction whether they are a 16-year-old still living with mom and dad or a professional at the top of their career.
I’ve discovered there is nothing more gratifying than helping someone without looking for anything in return. My heart is overjoyed when someone comes to me destroyed by drug and alcohol abuse and I am able to help them walk through to the other side to live an amazing, full life. I understand the struggle and difficulty people go through because I went through it myself. I have been able to help thousands of people so far and hope to continue to help thousands and thousands more.
If you told me six years ago I would find my passion and life’s work helping people recover from addiction to drugs and alcohol I would have said you were crazy and taken you out for shots. Now, I dedicate my life to raising awareness and smashing the stigma surrounding addiction.