So often, young renegades, seemingly invincible in their recklessness, come to a decision point: clean up, or carry on the same way. Had you been watching MTV during the late 90s and early-to-mid part of the first decade of this century, you'd have not even a moment's second thought when asked the direction that the loudest, most outrageous "Jackass" of them would take.
And you'd be wrong.
Steve-O, the wildest of the ragtag crew of self-mutilating amateur stuntmen who rose on their own pain to three number one movies at the box office fame, is now clean and sober for over a year. It's a seemingly unlikely turnaround -- he of dog feces portapotty catapult and scrotum stapling fame -- but now clean of his previously massive intake of drugs and alcohol for over three years, he's become a vegan stand-up comic with a new lease on life.
Still, with his past literally staring through him at all times -- he sports a full back tattoo of his own face, giving the thumbs up -- the "Jackass" star is haunted enough by that previous life that he's written all about it in a new tell-all memoir, "Steve-O: Professional Idiot." After all, the truth shall set you free.
"Basically, I took an honest look at myself and at my actions, and was horrified and felt like I couldn't forgive or live with myself. I told some people that I trusted in sobriety that I wanted to blow my brains out," he told TheFix.com in a new interview. "And I don't think I ever came close to actually killing myself but I felt so uncomfortable, I didn't want to live."
Some of the stories he has certainly are squirm-worthy.
"[Me and] Mike Tyson locked ourselves in the bathroom in this big mansion," he recalled in an interview with PopEater. "So here I am with Mike Tyson locked in this bathroom in this big mansion just doing piles of cocaine and I looked at him and said 'you know Mike, I'm not a racist guy, but I would like to say I consider myself a [n-word]. And we had a big discussion over this pile of cocaine. My point was that if we could take the color out of this word then we would really diffuse it as a weapon. Mike Tyson said the definition of that word is the people who use it and I thought that was very insightful."
Memories like that kept haunting him, leading him back to rehab.
"I checked myself into a second psych ward and that was when it dawned on me that suicide was not the answer," Steve-O explained to TheFix. "The answer was to stop doing the shit that made me feel bad and create a new history. After the second psych ward, when I had been sober for four months, I had a whole new resolve."
One issue he faced, though, was the coming prospect of a third "Jackass" film. He had performed so many of the stunts that made him famous in a drug-induced, adrenaline-pumping rage, that when it was time to shoot a new film sober, he was afraid -- but determined.
"I was dreading the stunts more than I ever had before, and at the same time, I was probably more eager than ever to do them, because it was so important to me to prove that I still had that in me -- that sobriety hadn't turned me into a pussy," Steve-O explained. He had to do a stunt in which he jumped into a ceiling fan, a repeat of something he had done in the first movie -- with the help of "eight ball of cocaine and one or two vials of Ketamine."
This time, it was nothing but water and preparation. And some prayer.
"I was sitting under the fan sipping water, thinking, 'Man, I hope I don't get paralyzed, I hope I don't land on my head and break my neck,'" he laughed. "But when it comes down to it, 'One, two, three, go,' has always been, 'One, two, three, go.' The difference was the anxiety and the agonizing over potential bad outcomes before but doing the stunt was no different."
For more, click over to The Fix.