“The Hills” Jason Wahler on how living the Dream became his Biggest Nightmare

Host, Actor, TV personality/ Reality Star and Philanthropist Jason Wahler had a very public and infamous struggle with alcoholism and addiction during his time on reality television series, “The Hills” (2006) but has since taken control of the narrative that is his life and dedicated his life to addiction recovery activism. 

“You know, I was living in this false reality almost,” Wahler said. “Society says if you have money, if you have access, notoriety, fame, girls, whatever it may be… You kind of made it to the top. And I remember being like, ‘okay I have all these things that society says is amazing but why am I so miserable.’”

Having been thrown into the world of elite Hollywood parties, Wahler found himself among a crowd that did not introduce him to many of the best influences. And along with it all, he was getting paid for it. 

“It was a very treacherous road,” Wahler said. “And you have to remember at 17/18 years old, I thought I was living the dream. Being paid to party, travel the world and was on a hit TV show, but little did I know, it was going to become my biggest nightmare down the road.”

While it is not unheard of for cases of addiction to drive wedges between many relationships, especially child-parent relationships. Unique to Wahler’s experience, his parents’ emotional reaction to his addiction was his final wakeup call to seek help. 

It was during one specific therapy session directly following his receiving a DUI, Wahler recalls, his father cried in front of him for the first time aside from when Wahler’s grandmother passed away. 

“He looked at me,” Wahler said, “and he was just like, ‘Jasonn, we don’t know what we’re gonna do anymore. Our marriage is suffering, we’re like two planks of wood lying in bed waiting for the phone call that you’re dead.”

For Wahler, his family’s dynamic and relationship with his parents is where he gives credit to finally jumpstarting his journey to recovery. Still, he admits that his addiction ruined every relationship that he had. He describes that it “literally robbed him from everything.” 

Over the course of time, Wahler’s addiction progressed and he found himself progressively digging himself deeper down a dark hole. 

Since having been sober for many years, Wahler still has since relapsed. This experience regarding his relapse he explains is not part of the recovery process. In fact, he explains that it is only the opposite. 

“There have been a lot of people who relapsed and died. So how is that part of the recovery journey?” Wahler said. “They’re no longer here. And for me, when I was in that relapse mode, there are things that I could have done, resources that I had. Still, I chose not to.”

He states that recovery is a daily, consistent and life-long process. For this reason, he owes his success to his created routine and he thanks his sobriety for his motivation in establishing this routine involving prayer, working out, gratitude, and ultimately, safety. 

Having experienced all that comes with addiction, alcoholism and the journey that is recovery, Wahler has acquired a life of a happy marriage, children, rejoining the show which started it all, on the reboot “The Hills: New Beginnings” and a newfound outlook on life. 

“I think it’s important especially for people that are reading this that wherever there’s an alcoholic or an addict there’s a codependent and they’re just sick if not sicker,” Wahler said. “And that’s what me and my wife were able to discover and and and work on together. And that’s why it was cool to be on the show this last year, you know, ‘The Hills’ and talk about, our trials and our tribulations to show people what it’s like as the addict but also the codependent walking through a journey of recovery. And today, it’s like, you know, the beauty of sobriety is that I get to know myself. God, just how beautiful my life is to be able to be fully present with my kids and have the means to be able to take them on trips and be able to travel and the time that I have my wife, I mean, I am so grateful for her. Because she’s a big part of why I’m here today.”

Jason Wahler and family (Source: Ashley Jenaé)

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