Mama June Shannon is ready for a new chapter in her life.
Ahead of the premiere of her new reality show, Mama June: Road to Redemption, the 41-year-old reality star opened up to ET’s Deidre Behar about her former drug use, getting sober and her 5-year relationship with Eugene Edward “Geno” Doak.
“I’m feeling really good, because last season we ended and I shared my road to addiction,” Mama June expressed. “I showed the emotional side, I showed everything last season. So this season, you better get your Kleenexes ready, better get your laughs on, because it’s going to be another emotional season. It’s about me and Geno, now, as of the 27th of this month, we’ll be 14 months clean, off of cocaine. Been that way, no relapses.”
Sober since January 2020, June has been dedicated to living a sober and clean life after previously admitting that she and Geno would spend $2,500 a day, if not more, on drugs. In March of 2019, the two were arrested in Alabama. A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office of Macon County, Alabama, told ET at the time that June was arrested on possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia charges. June and Geno are still facing a felony charge and a misdemeanor charge.
“Having to go back and talk about that lifestyle that we had… I don’t ever want to go back to that lifestyle,” she candidly shared. “I wake up every morning and tell myself, ‘I’m going to stay clean these next 24 hours.’ And that’s my saying, every day.”
“Me and Geno both have been fortunate enough not to have a slip up, but a lot of people have relapsed during this COVID virus,” she continued. “Addiction is real, this COVID virus is real, and so you’re going to see all that. Filming during COVID, us fighting our court case still, the drug charges in Alabama, what I’m going through, rebuilding my life, my brand, trying to raise back up to the top.”
As for how she stays sober, it’s a combination of the show’s production guidelines and her wanting to “give back.” “Production holds me accountable too. I have to take weekly drug testings,” she admitted. “If you don’t go take a drug test one week, or if me, or Geno fail, then I can’t be in the show.”
“I go to all these different rehabs and speak and give back my gift. That honestly is what keeps me clean, what keeps me sober because there’s people that are fighting that fight that I know I fought through,” she continued. “It gives me so much more gratitude than you will ever imagine and they give so much more back to me than I can ever give to them.”
'Mama June: Road to Redemption' Supertease
'Mama June: Road to Redemption' Supertease
June understands that she has a “very addictive personality,” and her latest “addiction” is getting her brand back and “working on the relationships with the kids and also working in a rehab” facility center now that she’s been clean for a year.
Being sober together has helped her and Geno’s relationship, but she also understands that she needs to mend the broken relationships with her daughters; Anna, 26, Jessica, 24, Lauryn “Pumpkin,” 21, and Alana “Honey Boo Boo,” 15. After June was arrested, Lauryn was given legal guardianship over Alana.
“As a mom, it’s hard,” June acknowledged. “They say in the 12-step program try to make amends… Recovery, just like addiction, came No. 1 and it sounds selfish as a mom, but recovery is even more selfish. And I have to be good for me to be good for somebody else. None of my kids ever were a trigger, but people, places and things are real. And right now, South Florida, I’ve got a lot of sober support and just trying to make everyone understand that it’s kind of been hard.”
June added that her recovery “is important to me” and “it’s just a work in progress.” “Me and the girls have always been close,” she continued. “And I think a lot of people think that [Geno] had the influence of drugs, but the reality is I was the one with all the drug dealers. I was the one that was hooking him up with the dope. So, like I said, the best way to describe it to somebody it’s a work in progress. It’s an everyday thing.”
June, however, did share that if it ever came to choosing Geno or her daughters, she would always pick her kids. “It’s a no brainer. You always pick your kids,” she declared. “Men come and go. Kids and some family always stay.”
As for June’s own healthy journey, she revealed that she gained weight over the pandemic, but expressed that it doesn’t concern her as she continues to prioritize her recovery.
“I put on about 70 pounds of COVID weight,” she noted. “I’ll get it off. It’s just going to take some time. I mean, I prefer to be healthy and happy and clean and doing what I’m doing and be fat. Personally I feel my best now. I feel like when I did my reveal first season, I was way too skinny. And I think that now at 250, I was 185 when I went into rehab, I’m just kind of happy…I feel comfortable where I’m at right now.”
As for what she hopes viewers get out of Road to Redemption, June expressed, “I want someone to know that they’ve seen me in my addiction, but they’ve seen me overcome it during [the pandemic], and stay clean. So if it makes one person wake up and realize that addiction, their addiction, is really going to kill them one day, then I’ve done [my job] sharing my life with the world.”
Mama June: Road to Redemption premieres Friday, March 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on WE tv.
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