02/24/2014 07:27 pm ET Updated Apr 26, 2014

Let's Get Real

I just recently joined other reality TV stars from both current and past reality shows to talk to students at USC about what reality TV is truly all about. It was a unique experience, especially because myself and the rest of the panel were able to talk to a small group of students and yield some questions.

All of us got asked all kinds of things, from the pros and cons of the business to what our lives have been like being in the spotlight. It felt good to open up and talk about what goes on behind the scenes and how things such as egos and how the glorification of drinking and partying can really impact society. All of these things make good TV, but at the end of the day, its good to reiterate that it is just that -- TV!

As we were asked more and more questions, I kept being brought back to when I was on reality TV. The Hills was one of the most popular reality TV shows at the time, and still continues to hold a significant place in the reality TV world. I know I had joined this panel to talk about my past experiences on this show and on Laguna Beach, and while I definitely answered questions about what it was like for me during filming, I kept finding myself talking about life after reality TV.

I took this opportunity to talk about my addiction and my recovery, and the growth I have had since both shows wrapped. Sharing my testimony seemed to just flow organically, and by the time we finished up our session, it was obvious that what I was sharing was striking a chord with the students, because I had about half of them come up to talk to me afterwards.

It was so cool and rewarding to meet these students and listen to their own personal testimonies when it came to addiction. Whether they knew someone in the field, or had a loved one in treatment, they immediately connected with me, and I with them. I was so appreciative that they gave me the opportunity to talk about my life after reality TV, and even more appreciative of the respect they seemed to have for me because of my willingness to share that part of my life with them.

Not only was I happy to get a chance to talk with the students at USC after we finished our session, but I was also happy to be a part of this experience as a whole. It was a really great opportunity to reflect on my journey from reality TV to recovering alcoholic, and see that not much has changed in that world. There are still egos and there are still TV stars that are in it for shock factor, but there are also people like me who are finding more success in and outside of this world!