WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Over the course of the next two days, a former actor turned opioid addict will be in Wilmington sharing his story of how drugs and alcohol sent his life into a tailspin.
"I always thought it was someone else, that addiction happened to people on the other side of town," said John Mabry.
The 40-year-old Mabry is handsome, fair skinned, an all-American type, but that's only part of him.
"I am absolutely the face of addiction," Mabry said.
He used to have it all as an actor, spending years rubbing elbows with the rich and famous.
"I worked on the movie Superbad, and big projects like NCIS, ER, JAG and Cold Case," Mabry said.
Acting, while addicted, his life went into a tailspin right after high school.
"The car accident was a whirlwind. It literally flipped my world upside down," Mabry explained. "We rolled 10 times, tire blew out in the friend's car, the driver died."
Mabry became an amputee and an addict for 10 years, popping Adderall along with painkillers and washing them down with alcohol.
Then, more bad news arrived.
"I got a call that my brother didn't show up for work, so I went to his house in Beverly Hills, kicked in his locked bedroom door," Mabry said. "He had been dead for three days from an overdose."
That's when Mabry hit rock bottom.
"I ended up going to the Playboy mansion and taking shots with Adam Sandler to living in a trailer. I got kicked out of my house and fired by Dave Ramsey," Mabry said.
Mabry got treatment at The Treehouse in Texas and now he is two years sober and a speaker for Addiction Campuses. He speaks out across the country about the stigma of addiction.
"If someone has cancer, do we look at them and say, 'You are a bad person because your cells broke down?' No, we say 'How can we, as a community, help you get through this tumultuous time?'" Mabry said. "With addiction, it's like you get better over there because you are making bad decisions."
His message? Ask for help, and speak up.
"I have to stay connected because as soon as I start getting into my own head, I start getting outside of myself. Craziness will kick in and I'll need something to soothe that," Mabry said. "If you know someone that is struggling with addiction or you are struggling with addiction, it is OK."
Mabry will speak to UNCW students 4 p.m. Monday at the Fisher Student Center Clock Tower lounge, and caseworkers with New Hanover Regional medical center on Tuesday.
He also has a weekly podcast called High Sobriety.
For more information, visit: www.addictioncampuses.com/