Workit Health recently hosted an exceptional community event, Brandon Novak: Rising From Rock Bottom. Brandon Novak was a pro skateboarder, CKY crew member, Viva La Bam star, and Jackass cast member, and is now a renowned recovery speaker, author, and Certified Intervention Professional. At this online Workit event, he shared the raw, honest story of the heartbreaking depths his addiction took him to, and the hope and joy he now experiences as a man in recovery. Brandon knows what it is like to be at your very lowest, and he offers an inspiring example of the healing and growth that are possible. Brandon also answered several questions submitted exclusively for this event.
How did Brandon Novak become a recovery inspiration?
When I was younger, the Jackass show and movies (and all of their spinoffs) were big in my house. These were the days you just left the TV on, MTV in particular, to run on a loop. For years I watched Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Bam Margera, and Brandon Novak perform their raunchy tomfoolery. “Did you see Jackass last night?” I’d ask my friends. “I can’t believe ______ did _______!”
And then I got older, and so did they, and I didn’t think about them much. Occasionally, I would catch one of them in the news, usually up to no good. They were like the guys you went to high school with; you get an update here and there when one of them got arrested. There would also be announcements of new movies and shows, complete with new wild shenanigans on film. Then, while I was struggling with my own substance abuse issues, I heard that one of them got sober: Brandon Novak. That caught my attention.
I always liked Brandon because he was relatively shy. He fit in with the others … but not quite. He was almost too agreeable, going along with the rest of the group with their daredevil antics. There was a sadness about him that felt different from the others. You could tell he had already risen from a few rock bottoms.
Brandon, of course, is different from the rest of the Jackass fellas. His story is all his own. Like the others, he was a professional skateboarder and rose to fame on Viva la Bam and the Jackass movies. But he was also hooked on heroin for 20 years. Seven years ago, Brandon got sober. And in those seven years, he has honored his sobriety by helping people get into treatment and traveling the country as a keynote speaker.
When a celebrity gets sober, it can be significant. Even more so, when you grew up with them and they’re from your generation. It reminds you, if they can do it, I can do it! Their triumphs can give you a blueprint of hope. And hope comes from the strangest places when you’re in recovery, doesn’t it? The young man we watched, in part, on a path of his own destruction is now a leader in the recovery world with a story to tell and lots of hope to give.