"Jersey Shore" alum Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino says he realized he was addicted to drugs when he ran out of a prescription medication he was taking to treat an injury he'd sustained years earlier on "Dancing With the Stars."
The hard-partying, self-proclaimed guido rose to fame on MTV's juggernaut reality series. Sorrentino and his costars drank heavily, slept around and reveled in the summer offerings of Seaside Heights, N.J.
Sitch later went on to appear on Season 11 of "Dancing With the Stars," where he was paired in 2010 with pro dancer Karina Smirnoff, but was booted early in the fourth week of eliminations. The TV personality is said to have injured his neck during the ballroom dance competition, TMZ reported.
The tan-loving celebrity is now saying that he realized he was addicted to painkillers on a trip to Australia in February 2012 -- when his prescription for that injury ran out.
"All I had to do was get dressed for a family function and I couldn't do that," Sorrentino told the Associated Press. "The shirt was laid out, the belt, the pants, everything. The shower was on. I couldn't even get out of bed. ... If I can't do that how am I going to continue?"
[Updated, 3:30 p.m. Sept. 10: Still, he told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday: "I have never blamed 'Dancing With the Stars' for my injury and subsequent addiction. I knew the risks of participating in a dance competition and it was one of the best experiences of my life."]
Drug and alcohol rumors swirled around the 32-year-old, but he insisted to the AP that "those rumors were definitely false. I didn't mix anything."
"People would say, 'Mike's not the same Mike we've seen before.'" Sorrentino would say that they didn't know what they were talking about it or assume it was because they didn't like him or "Jersey Shore." However, now he admits he was sick.
"I was suffering a disease," he said.
In rehab, doctors prescribed medication to treat his opioid addiction, the Associated Press said. The medication, which he still takes daily, and counseling have worked best for him, he said, and he is also a spokesman for Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc., which makes his meds. He's working to raise awareness about painkiller addiction through a program he helped launch called Reset Reality.
"The roller coaster of fame and fortune is definitely a ride in itself, but to get to recovery is something special," he said. "There is hope out there, and you can get help."
"A little part of me was like, 'How am I gonna get through this?' but if you watched I didn't have one drink," Sorrentino said.
[For the Record, 3:30 p.m. Sept. 10: The original version of this post implied Sorrentino's addiction was caused by his "DWTS" injury. The original headline tied his addiction to the injury. He clarified to The Times on Tuesday that the injury did not cause the addiction.]
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