Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Brandon Novak started out like anyone else, but from a young age, it was clear that there were big things ahead for him. In many ways, Brandon Novak’s life was something to be envied. He was a professional skateboarder and celebrity who was making big money and traveling the world. Behind the scenes, his life was quickly crumbling because of addiction.
Brandon Novak’s Rise to FameNot too long after Brandon learned to walk, he picked up a skateboard; by seven he was a prodigy. Discovered by Tony Hawk, Brandon joined the Powell-Peralta team at fourteen, which catapulted him into stardom. He got to travel around the United States with the team, signing autographs and making media appearances. At just 15, he was the first professional skateboarder endorsed by Gatorade and got to star in a commercial with basketball legend Michael Jordan. He also showed off his skateboarding skills in the CKY skateboard video series.
Along the way, Brandon Novak also become an MTV celebrity. He starred in multiple shows and films including Viva La Bam, Bam’s Unholy Union, and the legendary Jackass movie series. His wild antics and ridiculous escapades with his friends made him a superstar. To his many fans, he seemed to have it all. He was getting paid to skate and hang out with his friends, but off-screen, Brandon Novak’s life was crumbling into several pieces.
From Kickflip to Drug TripsAlthough he was climbing to fame, his life behind-the-scenes was starting to spiral out of control from addiction. Off-camera, the skateboard legend was shooting up heroin, drinking alcohol, and abusing other hard drugs on a regular basis. He was in and out of jail and rehab, but his sobriety never lasted long. Brandon Novak’s addiction also began to interfere with his career. He lost his spot on the Powell-Peralta team and was absent from several episodes of the various MTV shows he regularly appeared on.
For Brandon, heroin was a means of escape and a way to become numb. He was struggling to cope with the death of his father, who died from addiction, as well as the fame that he was thrust into at such a young age. Everyone lost hope, including his mother who was convinced that Brandon’s addiction would be the end of him and even bought a premature cemetery plot for him. At age 35, after several years of being an addict, the once rising star burned out and finally hit his rock bottom. The former multimillionaire was now homeless, begging for money on the streets of Baltimore, and living under a bridge. With nothing left to lose, Brandon Novak went to his thirteenth rehab for help.
Over 25 years of addiction and after surviving several overdoses, the thirteenth time was the charm for Brandon Novak and his sobriety stuck. He finally realized that although he once had it all, he no longer had the answers. The heroin that he used to make him feel numb and to help him escape his troubles no longer had the same effect. He was forced to face the fact that he a was now a has-been heroin addict living on the streets whose mother was crumbling because of it. It was the first time in 25 years that Brandon truly understood the impact of his addiction.
Brandon Novak in RecoveryNow more than four years later, Brandon Novak is sober, living in Philadelphia, and has turned his life around. He is the author of the best-selling memoir Dreamseller and has returned to the spotlight to share his story of recovery with others. He does speaking engagements all over the world and regularly makes media appearances.
Along with speaking out about his addiction and recovery journey, Brandon has become a recovery advocate for Banyan Treatment Centers. He works with them to show others that recovery is possible, and it is never too late. He has also become a Certified Intervention Professional to help people who are struggling to get their addicted loved ones into treatment.
If Brandon Novak can get sober, so can you.