Reality shows can sometimes bring out the worst in people (viewers and cast members alike) but it turns out, they can actually save lives too. According to a recent piece in Alaska Dispatch News, Nick McGlashan, a Bering Sea crabber turned reality show cast member on Discovery Channel’s hit show, Deadliest Catch, has recently come clean about being clean. Sober since November 11, 2016, his alcohol and drug addiction, and subsequent firing, played out for the cameras and a film crew, before he hit bottom and decided to get help.
Dope Sick is Way Worse Than Sea Sick
According to the piece, “The Deadliest Catch film crew and everyone else noticed McGlashan at his worst: pale, slurring his words, coming down off drugs. He could only hide that he was drug sick for so long.” He was terminated from his position when Captain Bill “Wild Bill” Wichrowski discovered McGlashan’s stowaway: a whole lot of drugs. The moment was captured on the show which I’m sure was both cringe-worthy and life changing for McGlashan. I can’t imagine trying to hide an alcohol or drug problem within the confines of a ship for that long. Perhaps those close quarters ended up saving McGlashan’s life. Before getting clean, he survived three overdoses and was drinking a daily half gallon of vodka.
In a personal essay penned for Chosen Mag, McGlashan candidly writes, “My life went from Bering Sea badass to full blown junkie very rapidly.” Admitting to struggles with alcohol, heroin and meth (gives a whole new meaning to the term, “triple threat”), McGlashan had a moment of clarity that he wanted to turn his life around and attributes his time in treatment as invaluable to his current recovery. The support of other addicts proved crucial to his survival. “I was amazed by the acceptance and comfort which was so openly and willingly given. I needed to be surrounded by one hundred addicts like myself to get the tools I needed to learn to live without the use of drugs or alcohol,” he recalls.
Coming from a rare combination of a background growing up in remote fishing villages in Alaska and one of the most dangerous professions in existence, it’s comforting to know McGlashan still found common ground through an all too common battle: opiate addiction.
The Reality of Addiction, Televised
Addiction and alcohol abuse has played out before our eyes on reality shows for years. Okay, full disclosure, yours truly doesn’t actively watch reality TV, but you know, I hear stuff and I work for an addition website; I’m somewhat in the know. From Real Housewives of Beverly Hills mainstay Kim Richards to the most notorious on and off again Kardashian significant other, Scott Disick, America loves a good trainwreck. Surely folks from The Real World and Jersey Shore are sober by now too? What hopefully more and more Americas are learning as powerful voices fighting the rampant opiate epidemic get louder and celebrities talk more openly about recovery, the dire consequences and bleakness of the actual reality of substance abuse certainly isn’t the entertainment-driven reality that’s filling up our flatscreen TVs.
But perhaps the humanity we witness in stories like McGlashan’s are continued pillars of visibility necessary to make another person step forward and ask for help. Deadliest Catch is a show loved by so many. If one of its biggest stars admitted his own weakness in an environment that requires the bravest people alive, hopefully he gave viewers who might be struggling the incentive to face their own reality.