A local skateboard prodigy's brush with death works for good as he is now trying to keep others from the same fate. This film and TV star is even giving out his phone number to anyone battling addiction because he doesn't want to see any person die from drugs.
"And if you're in that position and you see no way out personally, call me and I will do whatever I humanly can in my powers to help you. And, my number is 610-546-2608," said Brandon Novak, speaking on the phone.
People call Brandon Novak for help a lot. At the skate park he was busy on the phone.
"Have you ever tried to get help before? And, when I say help, I mean treatment?" Novak asks a caller.
Does Novak look familiar? He was a pro skateboarder at 14-years-old, but he's maybe better known as one of the stars of the Bam Margera's shows on MTV and elsewhere. Through all those years, those projects? He was a hardcore addict.
"For 21 years, I shot heroin and cocaine. For 25 years, I smoked weed, sniffed coke, ate pills. You name it, I've done it. My mother had bought me a plot. People were taking life insurance policies out on me. I was on life support for seven days," Novak explained.
The odds were never in his favor to get clean. Doing it for his sake wasn't enough of a reason, he says. And consequences? Please. People who loved him were scared but the world was enjoying the show. Why would he quit?
"You tell me my life's unmanageable. I believe my life's unmanageable, but my bank account states otherwise. It is now my job to get high, for lack of better words," Novak said of his past.
It's not his job anymore. After bottoming out, homeless in a Baltimore garage, Brandon got straight. The thirteenth try. He now works for Banyan Treatment Centers. When people struggling with addiction call him, he answers giving time even when he has none.
"Oddly enough, as crazy as this may sound, drugs and alcohol are now my solution to life, again on the flip side. Because I've used my defects to become my biggest assets. And, what I mean by that is I give my number out and I say if anyone needs help, call me. And, how 99 percent of these conversations go, they say, "Novak, if you can get clean, there's no reason I can't. Can you help me?" Novak said.
Brandon says he can because he does. He's helped something like 16 people into recovery just in the month of February and he works with a non-profit to get people who are broke or without insurance get the help they need. Treatment's expensive, but Novak's on fire.
"The disease of addiction is not a death sentence. And, as long as you're breathing, it's never too late and your history does not have to dictate your future. I'm living evidence of that," Novak states.
Brandon went to the bottom and back. AA lot of it on film and tv. Not always pretty and if you catch him, he'll tell you some stories. But, look him dead in the eye and you'll see the wisdom of one who's knocked on the Grim Reaper's door and been told to come back later. A guy like that? He's a dangerous man in the fight.