There was a time when Leah Messer wouldn’t admit to her struggles with opioid addiction.
Quite understandably, she was afraid of the ways in which such an admission would be used against her.
These days, Leah is sober and healthier than ever, and she’s finally opening up about her past substance abuse issues.
We’re sure it’s still not easy for her to do so, but we’re equally sure that many Teen Mom 2 fans whose lives have been touched by addiction are benefiting from her openness and candor.
Back in May, Leah published a memoir, in which she shared shocking details of her past trauma.
Many of her more painful memories involved her addiction to opioids and other painkillers.
At one point in the book, Leah recalls a rock bottom moment in which she did heroin with her father, who is sadly still an addict.
Of course, reality TV tends to lag several months behind the real world, so Leah is just now discussing the process of writing the book on recent episodes of TM2.
"I talk about things I never thought I would talk about," Leah said on Tuesday’s installment.
"There are so many reasons behind me wanting to write this book. I feel like I have experienced so much in my lifetime that I haven’t been honest about, and I am finally ready to be open about it, and take whatever comes and not care, as it will make a difference to someone else," she continued.
"I have never said this before but I was addicted to pain medication."
As for why she kept her addiction a secret for so long — even after she got sober — it seems Leah had several reasons.
She said before that she felt the need to hide her addiction from Teen Mom 2 fans, as she felt speaking publicly about it would lead to intense backlash and bullying.
Now, she’s revealed that she feared she would lose her custody of her kids to ex-husband Corey Simms if she were to speak her truth.
"I definitely had a lot… it was hard for me to hear all the backlash and hate, I was scared of the repercussions and I’d have this big ‘addict’ on my forehead, and everyone perceiving every little thing I did was because I was an addict," Messer said.
"I was afraid of the way I’d be looked at, that Corey could use it against me in court," Leah continued.
"It’s nothing I should be ashamed of, so I want others to own their stories and not feel alone."
Speaking with her sister Victoria, Leah revealed that she consumed what she describes as a “ridiculous amount” of pills during the “downhill spiral” of addiction.
The trouble apparently began after a “botched” spinal tap in 2013 during the delivery of daughter Addie.
Leah cited Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Tylenol 3, as the pills that sent her “over the edge.”
"It got deeper and deeper and deeper and I had no idea who I was," she told Victoria.
"I think when they had me on morphine for five days for Addie’s birth, I wad addicted [then]."
Leah says she was ultimately inspired to speak out by the knowledge of the good she might accomplish by doing so,
"I was ashamed of it, now I am okay talking about it," she said.
"I don’t have to keep hiding this s–t, or bottling it up and letting it come out in anger or sadness," Leah added.
"There will be two, three – or even if it’s just one person – who can relate, who had been hiding. I can see my story shedding a light into their lives, [those] who have felt hopeless."
We would guess that Leah has helped far, far more people than that by speaking out.
And by sharing her journey, she’s helped return the Teen Mom franchise to what it originally was — a project through which cautionary tales are transformed into stories of hope.
We applaud her for her courage.