For a man who has done all manner of humiliating things in front of people — from piercing his butt cheeks together to stapling his scrotum to his thigh — Steve-O is uncharacteristically filled with trepidation when it comes to his latest on-camera offering, the MTV addiction and recovery documentary "Steve-O: Demise and Rise," premiering Sunday at 10 p.m. ET.
The difference this time around is that the 34-year-old [url id="http://www.jackassworld.com/"]"Jackass"[/url] star is not focused on fame-generating stunts. Instead, he's concentrating on staying clean and is worried about the effects his doc (and the resulting publicity) will have on that sobriety.
"My biggest priority by far is [to] get through this — let it come and go — without getting loaded," Steve-O admitted in a revealing interview with MTV News.
The former "Jackass" and "Wild Boys" star originally had no intention of baring the gritty, embarrassing details of his drug and alcohol addictions to the world. But when he began filming, he was, by his own admission, "out of my mind on drugs" and shooting footage he thought was "just genius at the time."
"When I was shooting a lot of the stuff that wound up in this documentary, I obviously wasn't really thinking about making this particular documentary," he said.
Eventually, his "Jackass" friends, including co-star Johnny Knoxville, got so worried about Steve-O that they staged an intervention, which landed him in a psychiatric ward. Suddenly sober, Steve-O decided he should turn all that footage, in which he's seen snorting cocaine and inhaling spray paint, into a cautionary tale for viewers.
"The first thought that I had about really trying to get sober was, 'Man, I could do a lot of good in the world. I can lead by example and just be this heroic recovery guy,' " Steve-O said. "And that's just a bad reason to get sober. You can't get sober for anybody's benefit, let alone the world at large. You really got to do it for yourself."
By the time he made that realization, however, the documentary was moving forward. "Since it's been too late to stop it, I have just been in and out of love with it," said Steve-O. "A TV show that shows me on drugs isn't going to keep me sober. It's not gonna get me loaded."
In fact, the first time he watched the footage, he immediately got the urge to get high again. He resisted, and he's been sober for more than 13 months.
But with publicity for "Demise and Rise" ramping up, Steve-O remains concerned about the impact of the documentary on his own life: "I feel like this is a big jeopardizer of my sobriety."