To learn more about Novak’s House and Brandon’s addiction services, call him today at (610) 947-5587. Skateboarding and drug abuse have always been associated with each other. In movies and TV shows, skateboarders are often portrayed as heavy drinkers and drug users. But that’s just one of the many stereotypes attached to the skateboarding community. As addiction awareness continues to expand, more skateboarders and other professional athletes are turning their lives around. As a professional skateboarder who’s in recovery from addiction, Brandon Novak is sharing some of the pro skateboarders that are sober.
One of the most common misconceptions about skateboarders is that they’re all delinquents who use drugs and drink. While this isn’t always true, this stigma has inadvertently fed into the idea that drug and alcohol use is part of the skateboarding culture. Especially on channels like MTV, drinking and using drugs have been viewed as common and almost expected characteristics of a skateboarder. As society continues learning more about the dangers of addiction, more awareness of the need for addiction treatment is being spread. Because skateboarders often get a bad rep for being addicts, we’re sharing a list of 7 professional skateboarders that are sober.
Andrew Reynolds’s drug and alcohol use began in his teens and progressed as he got older. By the age of 19, he was frequently drinking and smoking at parties and other events. He was eventually caught up in harder drugs, drove under the influence of alcohol, smoked weed frequently, and even went to jail a few times. It wasn’t until he was 24 years old that he officially quit.
Like many others, Guy Mariano’s substance abuse started as recreational and eventually became self-medicating. In an interview with Thrasher, Guy claimed that he realized he had a problem when he began using different substances at different levels. He also shared that he used certain achievements in his career to validate his behavior.1 It wasn’t until his friends intervened and he found an addiction treatment center that he got sober.
Like other skaters, Elissa Steamer’s skateboarding role models also engaged in substance abuse. Growing up, she felt as if she had to do the same thing to fit in and be cool. Misconceptions in the skateboarding community also enforced the idea of using drugs and alcohol as a way to fit in and keep up with a certain culture. Elissa didn’t realize how bad her behavior had gotten until her therapist told her she had a problem and decided to get help.
Arto Saari’s drug and alcohol abuse began after he turned 18, which is the legal drinking age in Finland. As with many others, his drinking and drug use began recreationally and then became an attempt to fill a void and an insatiable need. It wasn’t until he was 25 and his finances, relationships, and contracts were deteriorating that he realized he needed help. With the help of friends, family, and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Arto was able to recover. He now lives in Hawaii with his kids and wife, Mimi.
One of the most well-known pro skateboarders in recovery is Chad Muska, who began smoking weed and drinking alcohol in elementary school. While he experimented with other drugs at certain points in his life, his two main substances of choice were alcohol and marijuana. It wasn’t until his skating and relationships were affected by his substance abuse that he realized he needed help. After a suicide attempt involving a toxic amount of alcohol, Chad quit cold turkey.
As far as sober skateboarders, Neen Williams is well-known for his complete change from addict to recovery advocate. Neen would often drink alcohol before and during his skating sessions, then he would party all night and repeat the process the following day. Like all skaters, he would sustain various injuries while practicing and in competitions; his drinking habits only made injuries more likely and recovery more difficult. When he realized his skating was suffering as a result of his substance abuse habits, he decided to get clean and begin rebuilding his body. He’s now an Onnit-certified kettlebell instructor and nutrition connoisseur. He even has a line of spices and seasonings called N.A.D.C.
And last, but not least on our list of pro skateboarders in addiction recovery – Brandon Novak. Brandon’s skating career began when he was chosen to be on the Powell-Peralta team. He eventually became an actor as well and performed the craziest stunts on Viva La Bam, the Jackass series, CKY, and more. He was often in the presence of friends like Bam Margera and Jason “Wee Man” Acuna, who also have their own histories of substance abuse. The combination of his friend group and the skateboarding culture fed into much of his drug and alcohol use. Brandon struggled the most with heroin addiction, to the point where he was homeless. After 13 attempts, he finally got sober. He’s now a recovery advocate, certified intervention specialist, and community outreach coordinator for Banyan Treatment Centers. This year in May he’ll be celebrating 6 years of sobriety.
As a certified intervention specialist, Brandon has also helped various families get their loved ones help.
Thrasher - Over It – Skaters, Drugs and Alcohol