When asked if he “credited his two rescue dogs, Walter and Bernie, with helping him to maintain sobriety,” as it is stated on his page, Steve-O replied, “I credit them with contributing to it, sure. It’s said that alcoholism and addiction in general is driven mostly by selfishness and self-centeredness. It’s a disease that’s centered in the mind. And selfishness and self-centeredness is at the root of all of our problems.”
He added, “So to have rescued my first dog, it was a meaningful exercise in dedicating myself to a priority which wasn’t me. So caring about something other than me is fundamentally helpful for recovery.”
Hitting Rock Bottom
Steve-O committed to recovery in 2008 following a dramatic hospitalization that became the starting point of his journey.
“When I got to the hospital, I was spitting on people, I was just generally so unlovely,” he told Loudwire in a separate conversation. “They had me for two weeks… It was time. My life was a disaster. I decided about seven days in that I not only wanted to go into treatment, but that I didn’t want to waste my time in treatment.”
He expanded on this moment in a 2011 interview with The Fix: “Basically, I took an honest look at myself and at my actions, and was horrified and felt like I couldn’t forgive or live with myself. The answer was to stop doing the shit that made me feel bad and create a new history.”
Since then, Steve-O has been consistent in his recovery. Last year he celebrated a decade sober, and thanked his Jackass family including Johnny Knoxville for pushing him to get help.
“Hard to believe it’s been an entire decade since I’ve had a drink of booze or any drug stronger than Advil,” he said on social media. “I just can’t put into words how grateful I am for @johnnyknoxville and the rest of the guys who locked me up in a psychiatric ward on March, 9, 2008, where this journey began. Thank you, dudes, I love you.”
It’s not always easy to stay the course, Steve-O admitted. “Certainly, I’ve had plenty of periods of discomfort,” he told Loudwire. “It’s always pretty scary, but you’ve just gotta stay plugged in and do the deal.”
These days, Steve-O is active on his YouTube channel and is currently on tour in the U.S. and Canada until late November.
He and fellow sober Jackass alum Brandon Novak have been vocal about supporting their friend Bam Margera, another member of the Jackass family, who has garnered a reputation for his erratic behavior amid a reported battle with bipolar disorder and substance abuse. As of Thursday morning, Margera was back in a treatment facility after being arrested in Los Angeles early Wednesday.