Travel Channel host Andrew Zimmern has been open about his struggles with drugs and alcohol in the past, and now he’s using his social medial platform to get even more candid about overcoming addiction.
On Thursday night, the Bizarre Foods star posted a rare photo of his younger self holding up a glass of wine on Instagram. “Throwaway your life throwback Thursday pic,” he captioned. “1982 or so, deranged drunk and drugged. I was a dangerous mess and still took almost a decade to sober up. #keepitgreen #odat #grateful.” (#odat stands for “one day at a time”, a popular hashtag among those in recovery for various addictions.)
Zimmern added: “I don’t think I ever posted a pic like this before. The smile on the outside is a mask. The pain inside was unimaginable and indescribable. Thankfully I don’t feel that way or live that way anymore.”
Though he’s never shared a photo of himself from this time in his life before, the chef previously opened up to ABC’s Nightline about his “very serious” problem with addiction, which left him homeless and squatting in an abandoned building in Manhattan.
WATCH: Watch ‘Bizarre Foods’ Host Andrew Zimmern Eat Salmon Sperm & BBQ Raccoon
“I would steal purses off the backs of chairs in those swanky little cafes on Madison Avenue, run down the side street, leap the wall at Central Park and 5th Avenue, get on the subway, go down to the Lower East Side and sell the credit cards and passports that were in the purses for money to support my drug and alcohol habit,” he said. “And then go to sleep at night on a pile of dirty clothes in this abandoned building and I sprinkled a bottle of Comet Cleanser around so the rats and roaches wouldn’t cross over at night so I could pass out in some peace and quiet and that’s what I thought was normal. That’s how I lived for a year – no showering, I was the guy you crossed the street to avoid if you walked by me in New York.”
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Zimmern is now decades sober and, when he’s not filming one of his multiple successful television shows, resides in Minnesota with his wife, Rishia Zimmern, and their 12-year-old son, Noah.