Addiction is a thief that steals the lives of the ones we love.
Along with the shame and guilt that comes with being an addict are the side effects of getting clean.
As the rate of overdoses continues to rise, more people are opening up about their struggle with substance abuse — one of which is fitfluencer Joey Swoll. In August, he posted a video on TikTok that gave us a firsthand account of what withdrawals look like and it wasn’t pretty.
Joey Swoll opened up about having withdrawals — what’s going on with the fitfluencer?
Just like you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge an influencer by their following. You might look at Joey and think he’s just like all the other gym bros on social media — but you’d be wrong. Not only are his pecs impeccable, but his story is, too.
In August 2023, Joey posted a video on TikTok that left his followers very confused. In it, viewers can see a bed with a wet spot that stretches from the pillows to the middle of the bed.
Joey captioned the video: “This post will probably cost me some friends, maybe some followers, but I need to be honest and real so f--k it. This is what withdrawal looks like.”
“Insomnia while laying in a pool of sweat freezing and shaking horribly in pain wishing and praying it simply would just end. Minutes are like hours, hours like days. It feels like it will never end,” the text in the video continued.
“This year has been the worst year of my life in every way and for most of it, I was heavily addicted to painkillers and opioids.”
However, when his mom expressed her concerns about him, it was a wake-up call for Joey. Over the next few weeks, weaned himself off opioids — hence the withdrawals.
What we know about TikTok star Joey Swole’s opioid addiction and recovery.
According to Joey, his addiction started in 2020, on the heels of the pandemic. Between his declining businesses and a bad breakup with his ex, he found himself in a spiral of addiction. In a 2022 post on Instagram, he opened up about what led up to his addiction and getting sober.
“Two years ago, I was addicted to opioids, completely alone, and without purpose not wanting to go on living,” he said, adding, “Today I’m clean, happy, cherishing every single day I wake up, feeling amazing, and once again making an impact on the fitness community trying to inspire and change lives.”
“I went from the absolute worst place in my life to the absolute best and working hard every day to get better,” Joey wrote in the caption.
I'd say that Joey is living proof that addiction doesn’t have to define you!
If you or someone you know needs help, use SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to find support for mental health and substance use disorders in your area or call 1-800-662-4357 for 24-hour assistance.