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Celebrity in Recovery Profile: Chris Hardwick

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The Nerdist

Chris Hardwick, the self -proclaimed “Nedist” comedian from Louisville, Kentucky has had some major changes in the past decade. His career has flourished from a featured role on MTV, including Singled Out and several other popular projects, to battling his issues with weight and Alcoholism, and eventually reaching new high points in his career like roles in Grown Ups 2 and hosting the AMC recap series Talking Dead where he speaks with stars from popular series The Walking Dead. Currently Hardwick is on a rise in recovery from Alcohol addiction which had for a time put a hold on many changes he was aiming to make for the future of his career, and Chris has now made a name for himself as a contributing writer for Wired magazine, which he has been part of since back in 2007. He also writes for Web Soup and Back at the Barnyard, and he makes a regular appearance on popular shows such as Late Night with Craig Ferguson. Hardwick runs what he calls “Nerdist Theater”, an entertainment spot at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles as part of his “Nerd Media Empire” and recently performed a stand-up special for Comedy Central in New York.

The Problem

The multi-talented, highly motivated, and shamelessly titled “Nerdist” has also done his part to contribute to the recovery community and made an effort to inspire others struggling with substance abuse by telling his story in his part Autobiography, part Self-Help book “The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life)” which was published in 2011.  Hardwick admitted to Larry King on Larry King Now during an interview on September 11th, 2012 that he had a hard time coming to terms with his substance abuse. However he stated he had come to a place where he felt his career was stagnant and he was unhappy with how it had failed to grow. One day while watching an episode of the Daily Show with Jenny McCarthy, he heard Jon Stewart comment that Chris was “probably around fetching coffee” and it had a drastic influence on him. In the interview with Larry King he said his therapist had promptly suggested he quit drinking, and in that moment he had found himself hurt, but still it took years to commit to change. This is an all too familiar feeling to most who struggle with substance abuse, the conditions and regrets that turn up during active addiction that bring us to a crossroad between continuing to settle for less or aspiring for more.  In 2003 Chris had reached his bottom, and the signs were everywhere. Eventually he pieced together some solid sobriety, and recovered his personal life. He began work on addressing his addition head on, worked on his physical health, and ultimately launched himself into new levels in his comedy career he had been trying to reach for years.

The Punch-Line

On Nerdist.com he opened up about his moment of clarity, and gave readers a little positive re-enforcement. Referring back to the experience of seeing photos of himself from the show “I Love the 80’s” on VH1 he goes on to say,

“It reminds how far I’ve come and how you can turn your life around for the better. Honestly. I was at a total dead-end with little hope of resurrecting a decent life. I humbly place my low-point at your feet and tell you that if you’re thinking about making improvements in your life, today is the day to start. Quitting drinking, starting exercising, eating better, pursuing your passion, hugging more puppies–whatever it is. Don’t think about it. Just do it. Over-thinking the ‘hows’ and ‘why comes’ will put you in a never-ending loop of inactivity. You have the power and ability to change the future with a simple ‘pro-you’ decision.”

As a comedian, and advocate for people struggling with substance abuse as well as issues like weight loss, this was issued as a personal challenge. The call to action is an example of how an individual who lives in circumstances outside the normal perspective can still find themselves coping in ways that hinder their growth as both a person and as an artist. Since the beginning of his recovery and improving his health and focus, Hardwick has been given new and exciting opportunities through several media formats. Back in April of 2013 one of the funniest networks in television Comedy Central announced that Hardwick would be hosting a new 30 minute comedic panel show, properly dubbed @midnight, which premiered October 23rd, 2013 and has since started turning some heads. This all goes to show that once you focus on letting go of the things that hold you back most, you can find yourself moving forward toward things beyond your expectations. Hardwick actively works to inform others about his own struggle, and keeps his gratitude for his present momentum. Sometimes you get that wake-up call you least expect, and often times it’s just what you need. No joke.

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