‘Alaskan Bush People’ And Addiction Stigma: Why Matt Brown Rumors Are Gross

Speculating about why Alaskan Bush People got canceled? Okay. Speculating that someone’s struggle with alcohol is likely the reason? Not okay. It’s one thing to hope someone gets help for a drinking problem. It’s something else entirely to practically blame that person for getting his family’s Alaskan TV show canceled — especially if his family likely counts on it as a source of income.

I’m am, of course, talking about Alaskan Bush People‘s Matt Brown and repeated claims that his drinking-related troubles are behind the show getting canceled. What’s wrong with blaming Matt’s struggles with alcohol? Well, it feeds into the negative perception that many people have of those who are openly coping with anything remotely resembling addiction.

The stigma is pretty strong in American society. Those who admit to drug or alcohol problems at risk of losing jobs, friends, and family support. The idea that someone is a “junkie” is enough to ruin his or her reputation. There’s a misconception that addiction is the equivalent of poor willpower.

More often, drug and alcohol abuse can be tied to something sad and simple: Unhappiness. Indeed, Matt Brown himself admitted during his People interview that he was in a very unhappy place in his life.

“Matt Brown didn’t like the man he was becoming.”

“‘I could see myself spiraling,’ the Alaskan Bush People star says exclusively in the current issue of People.”

“Once he began spending more and more time drinking with friends ‘in town’ over the past year, Brown admits, ‘I was more withdrawn. I was slower. Things didn’t excite me the way they used to.'”

But do you know what was especially telling about the Alaskan Bush People star’s interview? He went to great effort to play down his struggles, insisting he didn’t suffer from alcoholism. I doubt it’s a coincidence that his family also repeatedly admitted on the show how no one drank (except for Matt apparently) and that they had a strong aversion to alcohol and drunkenness. For someone coping with alcohol-related issues, that cannot be easy.

As mentioned in an outstanding must-watch educational clip by the YouTube channel Kurzgesagt, the combination of social stigma, a lack of social support, and unhappiness tend to make it especially hard to overcome addiction.

While Alaskan Bush People can be commended for being honest about Matt Brown’s rehab needs…the show also took a step back by indirectly shaming him for having a drinking problem.

It’s possible Matt Brown might decide not to come back to Alaskan Bush People. Right now, there are rumors circulating, via Railing Kill, that the show’s sixth season is currently filming in Alaska. We don’t know much beyond that. What I do know is that it’s in bad taste to suggest that Matt Brown is the reason the show might be canceled.

Of all the scandals — from lying to the state of Alaska and collecting thousands of Permanent Fund Division (PFD) dollars to blatant on-air fakery — Matt Brown having the guts to admit to his issues on camera for Alaskan Bush People, knowing that millions of people would become aware of it, was commendable.

However you feel about the show and the Browns themselves, that’s one of the more honest things we’ve seen. As such, Alaskan Bush People’s fate is probably not tied up in such an important, but ultimately, personal moment.

If you want to know whether or not Alaskan Bush People is canceled or soon to be canceled, there are a couple of key hints:

  • The Discovery Channel isn’t talking up the show the way it has in the past.
  • The last season was moved to Friday, the “graveyard” of TV

In other words, Alaskan Bush Peoples “darling” status is behind it, and as ratings and viewer interest drops, so likely does the network’s investment in the Alaskan reality TV series. There are others to replace it, and since Alaskan Bush People failed to make itself as marketable via products found throughout Walmart, it’s likely most will have forgotten about the show in a few short years.

What should be hoped is that regardless of the fate of Alaskan Bush People, Matt Brown was able to seize upon the opportunity to get help and that he continues to live a sober and happy life.

Why do you think people are blaming the uncertainty surrounding Alaskan Bush People’s fate on Matt Brown? Share your thoughts below!

[Image via the Discovery Channel]