What HGTV Star Tarek El Moussa Has Said About His Struggle With Alcohol Addiction

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Note: This article discusses alcohol addiction issues.

At 21, Tarek El Moussa had his real estate license in hand and was ready to strike it rich in Orange County, California — which he did for a time. But when the Great Recession hit around 2007, El Moussa went from selling multi-million dollar mansions to living in his mom's garage. The downturn in the housing market prompted him to renovate and resell homes, eventually bringing about his HGTV show, "Flip or Flop," premiering in 2013.

Unfortunately, the financial crisis of the early 2000s wasn't the only difficulty the multi-hyphenate has faced in his life. Reportedly, the celeb was slated to be a baseball star. He must have excelled at it in his school years because El Moussa was rumored to have planned for a potential career in the sport. However, a shoulder injury thwarted that dream for good.

El Moussa hit a low point in the years between the injury and his foray into real estate. His book, "FLIP YOUR LIFE: How to Find Opportunity in Distress — in Real Estate, Business, and Life," details how he turned to alcohol when the cards of life began stacking against him. According to People, "All I remember was the terrible hangover I had. I had drank over 30 shots of vodka and whatever else I could get my hands on," "The Flipping El Moussas" star recalled before the book's release.

Tarek El Moussa had a serious alcohol addiction problem

Today, Tarek El Moussa is a hardworking house flipper, successful television personality, and proud husband and father. He admits that his workday often begins long before sunrise, sometimes as early as three in the morning. It's a far cry from his days when he was younger. "At 20, I would wake up at 3 p.m. to start my day," El Moussa wrote in his book "Flip Your Life." His sports setback took a toll on him mentally and physically, with him recalling that period in his life as utter apathy, "I gained 50 pounds, lost my confidence, lost my hope, and became a raging alcoholic. All my drive was gone."

It was this sentiment that encouraged him to write his book. Now, in a totally different place in his life, he hopes to give others in his former position the inspiration they need. It's hard to envision the enigmatic El Moussa as apathetic. Still, he confesses he was. "I slept so much not only because I was drunk but because I hated being awake. I hated having to deal with the inner voice in my head haunting me telling me what a loser I was. I hated myself and I hated my life. Every day I wallowed away in self-pity and misery!" he wrote in an Instagram post before the book's release.

The "Flipping 101" host really turned things around for himself, becoming such a great house-flipper that HGTV eventually picked El Moussa and his former wife Christina Hall to star in their series, which ran for 10 seasons.

Addiction would strike Tarek El Moussa again

Unfortunately, Tarek El Moussa's battle with alcohol addiction in his late teen years was not an isolated event. Around 2016, when he was going through a divorce with Christina Hall, he hit rock bottom once again; this time, though, his crutches were steroids and smoking. He received a life-changing cancer diagnosis a few years prior, necessitating thyroid cancer and testicular cancer procedures to maintain his health. Post-surgery, he had to figure out how to manage his hormones, which led him to steroids. "I was on way too much testosterone," he admitted on the "Dr. Drew Show" podcast.

Another injury befell him around that time, too. "After the cancers, I had that terrible accident on my back and I lost like 60 pounds, and I was on all those opiates," El Moussa explained to Fox News. "I was a smoker. Awful for me. I was not eating good foods. I was stressed out all the time." He went on to admit that the years between 2013 and 2016 were some of the worst of his life, and it caused him to seriously reflect on where he was and where he wanted to be.

El Moussa alluded to the fact that Hall's decision to divorce him could have been the catalyst for his lifestyle changes. He eventually quit smoking, created better habits, and took control of his health. Today, he seems happier than ever with his wife Heather Rae and their blended family.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).