The Hills brought fame and fortune for Jason Wahler, 32, when the show debuted back in 2006 — but being in the spotlight led to personal struggles: he’s openly battled addictions to drugs and alcohol, leading him to step away from the spotlight and focus on himself. With those days behind him and now proudly sober, it was a no-brainer to sign on for the MTV reboot — and he’s now ready to help others who have been in his shoes more than ever. “It’s about the mental well being, because at the end of the day, drugs and alcohol aren’t the problem,” Jason told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY while discussing his work with singer Hilary Roberts and The Red Song Foundation as they team up to give away a $100,000 scholarship will help fund the treatment of one trauma victim suffering with substance abuse. “Those were our solutions, and once I identified that, that it’s me, it’s the thinking, it’s the disease that’s centered in my mind and it’s something that I have to do on a daily basis to make sure that I’m taking control on that. Every day is a new day, right? And the biggest thing for me is living in the moment. The thing that I had to do to tackle… There’s life stresses. There’s things that come into your life that can take on chaos and different things. But it’s how I process things today.”
Jason was never one to shy away from his issues on the show back in the day, so of course when it came to the reboot, the same rules applied. “Look it’s a learning process,” Jason explained. “The whole reason I did [The Hills] is to just spread hope and look, I have nothing to hide. I mean, as everybody’s aware, I went through such a public battle with addiction, that, you know, it gives hope to those other people. There’s so many times where I should not be alive. And I feel like this has been an opportunity to be able to really give back and to show people that, you know, you can do this and it’s not just a cake walk”
Though Jason would not confirm if he’s signed the dotted line for the highly anticipated season 2, he’s very clear that his past had nothing to do with returning to the series. “I was very public about what happened on The Hills,” Jason said. “On The Hills I’d talk about body imaging issues. I struggled with weight, there were different things that came up that I was not privy to that were new to this. And it was something that was very uncomfortable for me. There was also like things about sobriety and also learning more about yourself that I was not aware to. And The Hills, I was excited to go back and show, 12 years ago I was this drunk, womanizing, alcoholic, who has transformed his life, who has married, has a kid and gives back and does all this stuff. And then when I dealt with something with weight and other things that I was never privy to, and so I think those are things too, is being mindful of other issues that can arise. You got to take it one thing at a time.”
For anyone interested in applying for Jason & Hilary’s scholarship, applications will be open until November 14 at 11:59 p.m. The scholarship will provide the full continuum treatment – detox, residential treatment, partial hospitalization program, intensive outpatient program, and monitoring – a process that can take anywhere from three to six months depending on the individual’s needs. A winner will be announced on November 18, just in time for Hilary’s new Christmas song.