A number of people fall into addiction thinking that the substance and alcohol could somehow make life more fun, craving to let loose and add that certain spike to life. However, English and American TV personality Jack Osbourne realized, after spinning out of control into drug addiction, that he could have more fun sober. In this episode, he joins Rob Hannley and Mike Diamond to share with us his journey—from being exposed to the rock 'n roll lifestyle at such a young age and falling into addiction to recovery, going to almost 18 years of being sober. He also talks about the things that have been keeping him busy and what lights the fire inside him. Now, Jack is a father, TV host, Producer, Explorer, Paranormal Investigator, Climber, Surfer, and an MS Awareness Advocate all under his belt. He takes us to his many sides while sharing some tips and insights on leading a healthy life.
Into Addiction And Out To Recovery: Having More Fun Sober With Jack Osbourne
We're joined by another badass guest. He is a father, a TV host, produce, an explorer, a paranormal investigator, a climber, a surfer, MS awareness advocate, seventeen years sober, a media personality, and son of heavy metal singer, Ozzy Osbourne. He starred, as everybody would have seen, in reality TV series, The Osbournes, along with his father, mother Sharon, and his sister, Kelly. Jack, thanks for taking a minute to jump on. I appreciate it.
Thanks for having me. It's an honor to be here Thanks for the invite.
We're going to go round table on this with a little bit of questions. I get to be the first guy here. I always start my interviews with the same question to get a background. People who are watching American television have seen you out there. You're well-known. The stuff that you've been doing in recovery over the last years is kickass. I want to get into some of that stuff. Everybody knows their own story better than anybody. Start out and tell us a little bit of your story and recovery and whatnot.
It's funny that whenever I shared a meeting, I always say there's nothing particularly extravagant wild about my drug use. I'm not one of those people that was like, “I was on skid row. I had to cut my own arm off because it'd gotten fat.” That's not me. My drug use is short but aggressive. I was exposed to too much of an adult lifestyle at too young of an age by nature of going on tour with my dad. My personality is I like to push boundaries. One thing led to the next. I was going off by myself to numerous festivals. My dad's playing at all these festivals, started smoking pot, and drinking at fourteen, and then it escalated quickly. At seventeen, I had a healthy addiction to OxyContin.
It was fast and aggressive. Everything goes along with having addiction, mental health stuff and physical health stuff. I was suicidal. 04/20 was my last day of using. I'm not going to get sober on 04/20. 04/21 is my first sober day of 2003. I initially got sober to get the heat off my back from my parents because they become aware of how bad I was. At the time, there was no facility that could detox an adolescent from opioids or benzos. I had to go to a child psychiatric facility for ten days, and then transferred to a treatment center in Malibu, which was an awesome experience. Often people think, "Treatment center in Malibu, you're getting your hair and makeup done every day." This was an adolescent facility. You have no rights. Your parents sign you over to the facility and they can literally make you do whatever the hell they want. They mount punishments. It wasn't a breeze, walk in the park kind of treatment center but it was fantastic. It was my first genuine introduction to what the program was other than meetings. For me, it was the fellowship that kept me coming back early on. I fell into a solid group of young guys. We all had similar backgrounds or had similar drug use behavior. It was that weird bond. I became a full-on AA nerd over a long while, but I can't say that.
It's something to be proud of though. It was meeting every day for 90 days type of deal.
I did 90-90. I did six meetings a week for about 2.5 years. I had the big book study in there. I had the meeting at my house. I did outpatient for 1.5 years. I lived and breathed it.
Was there no resistance at all? What made you so ready for that? It sounds like your parents intervened a little bit to say, "You're fucking up." Why were you so ready? It doesn't sound like you even relapsed with that amount of time.
I didn't. There was that time where I was going in just to get them off my back. I was like, "I'll do the 28-day vacation treatment, then I’ll come out.” I remember saying this to a friend, "I just want to be able to drink beer and smoke pot.” That's all I want to be able to do, but something clicked. My sponsor now wasn't my sponsor then, but he was a staff of the treatment center. I told him about my drug use, my drug history. He's like, "You got a real shot at turning your life around. You're heading in a not great direction. You're going to be washout. Why not give it a shot? Something's kept you here for a reason." I was drinking and taking oxy, which is the potent combination. The defining moment is that I realized I could have more fun sober. That was it. I can do everything I could do when I was getting fucked up, but I can do it longer. I can stay up for three days hammering red bulls at an AA convention, hanging out with chicks, going to meetings all day, having the best time ever, or face down in some dingy little apartment in Venice. I found a way to have great, awesome sober fun.
It's funny you said 04/20. I'm 04/16. I had fourteen years, so congrats. I went through the same stuff and then I kept going back and forth. When you were sixteen, did you ever think, "I'm too young. I can figure this out," or did you just like, "That's it?"
In my use, I never had a moment of like, "I've got to handle this. My life is good enough to where I can lean back out and see how this goes." My addiction never went away because I stopped drinking. For me, it's transferred numerous times into numerous categories, whether it's video games. I'll go through a bout of building Legos obsessively. There's been sex addiction stuff. There's been gambling. If you can get addicted to it, I'll find a way to get addicted to it. That's for me why it was never worth because I was like, "If I'm sober and I'm still finding myself experiencing these strange little bottoms in different categories, I'm not even going to roll that dice."
Jack, I've watched you throughout your sobriety. There was a period of time when I was your grand sponsor. I have watched you grow. I'm honored to have witnessed it. I had an experience in my own life where I have an uncle who's a judge. Growing up, he hated my guts because he was a judge and I was the polar opposite. I got his son drunk for the first time, my cousin. There came a time around ten years of my sobriety when my mother got ill, and we all meet together at the judge's house to decide what was going to be done with my mother. My uncle, the judge, stands up in front of the whole family and says, "Everybody, here's the deal. Rick is in charge." That was a mind-blowing experience for me because my position in the family had changed. What I'm wondering is in your progression in your sobriety, has your position in your family has changed? Are you treated any differently now and with more respect?
Get your gut health under control, do stool sample tests, and find out what bacteria you've got.
It's weird. When it comes to my position, I'm the youngest. My parents and sisters, when they ask advice and I'm trying to get stuff done with family business, this and that, they will respect and listen, but they have a hard time getting through the fact that you're the youngest. That's the biggest issue for them. As far as being the wild kid, my sister started getting sober after me. I'd already been sober and she was the one that started going down her own path with her own demons. It shifted the spotlight to her a little bit. She's got to rein things in a little bit. We can't trust this and that. I was elevated to a position during that time period where I was trusted a lot more.
I know that Mike has something to bring up. Mike is a Guinness World Record holder and extreme athlete. I know he wants to ask you some stuff about your adventure stuff. Go ahead, Mike
We're annex. You said video games, running and mountain climbing. You've done the thing I've done. You've transferred that energy.
What got me looking at adventuring was I’ve been sober for about 2.5 years. I had this realization of, "I didn't get so good to be sober. Where can this take? I've got a great launch pad. Let's launch the rocket." I went on a climbing trip to Europe randomly with some friends and it caught the bug.
Ten years from now, where do you see Jack?
Ten from now, I'll have a 12-year-old, a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old. It’s totally fucking hell. There's going to be that. That's going to take up a lot of energy. I'd like to see myself transitioning into some other career path. I've been working in TV for many years. I'd like to see what else I could try and make inspiration.
What are you most passionate about outside career-wise? Did you ever watch something and go, "I'd like to do that, I should chuck all this shit, that would be kickass to do that?" Is there anything like that?
I want to go back to school.
You're interested in a lot of cool things. I saw paranormal and MS. I saw in reading some of your stuff and learning about you for the interview. What lights your fire?
I would probably go back to school for history or criminal justice, one of those. I think they are great subject matters. Law and history are great foundations for so many things.
When you mentioned history, criminal justice and law, I think of a prison system, which is amazing. Number one, most people think that it's run by the state when it's a corporation or a shitload of corporations. Also, a little bit of the conspiracy side. I've heard that judges invested sometimes into these corporations as well, which is totally wrong. You can't sentence people and then you're making money off of this thing.
Did you see that documentary about that juvenile court judge? I think it's on HBO. This judge was in Michigan or somewhere Midwest. He was getting paid to sentence kids to crazy juvenile court sentences. When a kid would get in a fist fight at school, he would get eighteen months in a detention facility.
No, I wouldn't go into practicing law. If anything, I've been around reserve law enforcement for a while. I probably would lean more into that so I can do more.
Do you ride along and things like that when you say reserve law enforcement?
I still ride along as I go. I can go on patrol.
Have you seen some hairy stuff?
Yes. I've seen some amazing things, wonderful experience, and wonderful things through this. Some shady things I'd say. It's all that. For me, my experience with it hasn't been overly crazy or terrifying. I've had some rewarding moments doing it.
Jack, you got MS, right?
I've got ulcerative colitis, I’ve got septic shock stomach surgery. With MS, it flairs like my colitis and I'm totally immune. How do you manage those symptoms? When you got the MS, were they prescribing a massive amount of drugs for you? How did you deal with that process?
I got diagnosed with MS in 2012. Because of the flair ups, they instantly threw me on IV steroids, which is the worst. It brought the inflammation down quickly. I was able to not have crazy amounts of nerve damage because of it. What prompted me to go to the hospital was I lost vision in my right eye. I was completely blind in my right eye, which sucked. After that, I got prescribed as treatment I've been on for many years. It's an injectable like people with insulin. I inject it three times a week and I'm fine. As far as maintenance, I try to diet and exercise as much as I can. I have certain philosophies with MS that doctors would never tell you to do.
I know you're not a doctor. You can't prescribe. You can put it like in your opinion. If somebody had MS and having coffee, what would you do? I don't know what's the better way to put it.
First thing I would tell them would be get your gut health under control, do stool sample tests, find out what bacteria you've got. Also do a full blood toxicity. What are the heavy metals in your blood? Do you have certain parasites? Find out if there's anything in your blood or your gut that's causing your immune system to turn on its head. That's what happens. With auto-immune, your body is being inundated by something that's causing your immune system to flip upside down. I would say that. With MS, a body in motion stays in motion. It's a disease that wants to slow me down, create inflammation and fuck with me physically. I do odd workouts. I do CrossFit anywhere from 3 to 6 days a week, especially in quarantine. I've been hammering it out.
We choose to relapse.
Jack, do you take turmeric? What are you taking vitamin for it?
I go through phases. I'm bad about taking my medication. I do try and get it. My girlfriend is a huge fan of turmeric. She's always thrown it in lattes for me. I do think there are benefits to it, anything that can reduce inflammation.
Jack, I want to ask you about your daily maintenance or your practice all this time. What do you do to keep it going?
Since quarantine, I've been checking in with my sponsor, not as much as I should. We do the light text, what's going on kind of thing. I do a Zoom meeting once a week. I do therapy once a week. I've been on this text chain. Everyone on that is sober. I've been on there for years. There’s ongoing text chain. It's having that constant connection with my close group of friends that if I'm having a bad day, if anyone's having a bad day, everyone checks in. It's like a tribal sponsorship. Everyone sponsors each other and throws in advice, "Try this. Do that. How are you doing?" It's awesome.
It goes along with the fellowship that you’re talking about.
The fellowship side of recovery is something that I didn't realize I needed that in my life and I didn't have it.
When you're out shooting your shows, do people come up to you and talk to you about recovery stuff?
They do. I got a lot through social media. A lot of people are reaching out, especially whenever I post. I think people forget. If I post anything about recovery, I get a lot of messages. Someone reached out to me. They were doing their exams in England. They're doing their GCSE. It is different in England how it works. That's what you take before you go to university. They were doing something about addiction. Someone asked me, "Do you think addiction is a choice or something impulsive that they have no control over?" My instinct was to be like, "We have no control over it." I stopped and I thought for a second. What I've been thinking about is I think at first, it's not a choice because you don't realize the rabbit hole you're going down, but after you've been given the tools of recovery and you've been exposed to sobriety like, "Here's Twelve Steps. This is what you do to stay sober. Here's the roadmap." I think after that happens, I feel like it's a lot more choice than not. We choose to relapse.
Jack, I have a question going off that. I started using at twelve. You were exposed to a lot of thing. It's rare what you were exposed to. Do you think if you weren't exposed to that, you would have use that at all?
I would have because I think it's my makeup. I tell you what. It's been my choice to not pick up again. It's been my choice to stay in recovery. I've had some hard times from losing friends. From 2020 alone, I've lost six friends. One of them was my dear friend. Life is still life. Life is still going to happen whether I'm using or not, but it's my choice in how I engage in life.
I always talk about the RTDs or The Reasons to Drink, and it comes up every fucking day. The normal people find themselves at the bar at the end of the day because they've had too many RTDs. I've had all this. I broke my neck twice. I've been through divorce. I've had all this stuff happened to me. In 2020, I got cancer. There's always going to be a reason to drink. To bring a question into this, what has been your biggest challenge ever where you thought, "Maybe I'll get loaded or is it worth it? Can I make it through?"
For me, my divorce was very difficult because it was about the kids. At the end of the day, divorce is a death. You have to go through that process of losing this unit. I wasn't prepared emotionally going into it. I had a hard time. It's not that I wanted to drink, but where do I go? I don't have a reason to drink. My thing is a reason to check out. I stopped getting those thoughts like driving down on the freeway and an 18-wheeler pulls up next to me. I go, "Do I swerve onto those wheels?"
I want to take the opportunity. I got to ask about your show and about the paranormal. I know we should all talk about sobriety and mental health, but it's so fucking unique. Tell everybody a little bit about Portals to Hell. This is like ghost hunting. It was like going to haunted places. How did you get interested in it? Tell us some rad shit. Are ghost true? You're going to go, "Let me fucking tell you." Whatever that is, tell us that.
I got into this randomly. I've always been a big sci-fi. X-Files, I loved that show more than anything. I was addicted to that when I was growing up. That led to a hobby of reading about UFOs, ghost, Bigfoot, Loch Ness monster and whatever. What happened was I got a call back in 2011. They’re like, "Do you want to go to a ghost hunting show?" I was like, "That sounds fun." I went and did that for two years. The ghost hunting world on TV is a tight knit community. They don't like people comment. It's almost a weird society that approves or disapproves to go something for TV.
Are you a legit ghost hunter or you're making fucking fun of all the other ghost hunters?
To be a legit one, you have to done your time. For some reason, the show that I did resonated well with the audience because we shot it all ourselves. It got me into the paranormal world. That show went two seasons. I did a couple of things in England in between. I did the show with my dad. After that ended, Travel Channel was like, "Let's do a ghost hunting show together." I was like, "I'm in." Portals to Hell arrived. Initially, Portals to Hell was about finding these locations. In the paranormal investigative world, people often will use the term portal to hell. "This place is so sinister. It's as if it’s a gateway to hell." We would try to find those places at first. We realized we're limiting ourselves by only going to those places because there are these fantastic locations out there, which might not necessarily be a portal to hell but that's still terrifying. Me and my cohost, we go find these crazy locations and find out what's going on.
Have you ever seen anything that made you shit your pants?
Yes. I can screenshot and show you something. The backstory to this is we were in a place in Buffalo, New York called the Iron Island. There's a museum there. This museum used to be a funeral home. It's got a crazy wild history. Allegedly, a demonic entity supposedly owns this place. The owners and patrons have all had these crazy experiences. Whatever is that, it supposedly has the ability to turn flashlights on and off. Here we go. That is my camera guy. I'm all the way down here at the end of the hole and then there's a camera man, Scott, next to me. This is Katrina, my cohost. She's had an amazing career in the paranormal. She's been doing it for a million years. There's a flashlight here, there's another one up here, and another one there. She has asked, "If anyone's here, can you turn the flashlight on?" Give it a watch. How crazy is that? I would put my hand on the Bible, the big book, that is not fake. That is 100% legit.
Are you planning on keeping to do that? Are you going to become whatever the esteem is of climbing up in paranormal or is it a cool thing?
I enjoy it.
Are they always evil by the way? Is there ever some good shit?
We've had some good stuff that hasn't felt evil. Even the stuff they say is evil, I don't think it is. For me, what I keep falling on is evils are social construct at the end of the day. What we perceive as evil, in other countries it’s normal. I don't know about the evil stuff. What I will say is as far as continuing to go, I'll keep going. It's difficult being gone so much from the kids. They're my number one priority. It's tough when I'm gone for 2 or 3 weeks at a time. I struggle with that. I would love to have them come with me but it's not the greatest work environment with kids around.
Jack, I've got one thing to say to you. The one advantage of having three girls other than three boys, and I've got a boy and I wanted a girl, is when daddy gets home, the girls are there for daddy. When the boys get to sixteen, they want to flex when the testosterone kicks in. They're going to hate mom. They're going to love dad.
Life is still going to happen whether you’re using drugs or not, but it's your choice in how to engage in life.
This is so true. All my girls are daddy's girls, all three of them.
Do you want to wrap it up with something, Rob, Ricky?
I was going to say the usual thank you. Not everybody that you reach out to does, the people that have influence, not only to meet with us here, to share your story and take time because there's something that you could be doing. Firstly, I want you to know that it's meaningful to everybody that's reading because they’re like, “I used to think about swerving my car under a fucking semi.” It's always meaningful. I want to thank you for taking your time to jump out here. I think you're the coolest. I'm a big fan man. I've been watching you for a long time. Not everybody that was in a position somewhat similar to yours, you’re super famous, you’re in a different kind of a situation, usually it ends badly at least as what we know about. You are a shining example. It's cool for somebody to go, "I know I'm sober. What can I do?” Good for you. It's cool as hell. I wanted to say thank you for meeting us.
Thank you. I appreciate it. Thanks for the time. I'm glad to be a part of this. It's great what you guys are doing.
Thank you, Jack. I appreciate it.
This has been another exclusive interview. We're with Jack Osbourne talking about chasing ghost, MS and family. We didn't even talk about the freaking Coronavirus, which is an amazing topic. We'll table that for some time down the road. Thank you so much, Jack.
Jack Osbourne - Instagram
The defining moment for Actor, Producer, Jack Osbourne was when he "realized he could have more fun sober." It's been nearly 18 years of sobriety since this moment! 18 years!
Jack is cool as hell, super interesting and down to earth.
Recently, Jack has partnered with the “Ghost Brothers,” Dalen Spratt, Marcus Harvey, and Juwan Mass, for a new paranormal format on the discovery+ .In the 10-part series, they'll attempt to completely freak each other out with the creepiest paranormal videos they can find in a frightening yet friendly competition.
You'll love this first episode of the long awaited "Corona Chronicles" and following interesting people throughout regarding sobriety and mental health during the evolution of the Pandemic of 2020 to "God knows when. Soon we hope."