The Alaskan Bush People family is opening up about Matt Brown’s recent stint in rehab for alcohol abuse.
Just a month after Brown completed a six-month treatment program that combined inpatient and outpatient treatment, his family is opening up about the “hard road” he’s fighting and the toll it has taken on the family.
“It was his decision to drop everything and go fix what he hadn’t fixed,” Brown family patriarch Billy Brown told PEOPLE. “He’s fighting a hard road. He has for a long time. We just try to let him know that family’s here no matter what.”
Brown, who rose to fame on the popular Discovery series, had first entered rehab in 2016 after he began spending time in the nearby city of Juneau when the family boat broke down. There, he said, he began hanging out with “people who drank” and quickly found himself becoming dependent on alcohol.
“They didn’t have a problem with it so while I was around them, I started drinking,” he said at the time, adding that while it had started out light, his drinking “got to be more and more,” causing him to become “more withdrawn.”
After realizing that he was “spiraling,” he made the decision to enter an in-patient rehab center for 35 days in the spring of 2016. He re-entered treatment in September of 2018 following “a year of ups and downs.”
In November, just two months after he entered treatment, Brown completed his inpatient stint and continued his treatment at an outpatient treatment facility in California where he attends support sessions and remains committed to his sobriety. Although he completed his treatment in January, the eldest Brown sibling has remained in California, while his family continues to reside in Washington State following matriarch Amy Brown’s battle with advanced lung cancer.
“We miss him a lot, but I don’t even want him to come back until he finishes this,” Ami said of the distance. “We just hope he finds that happiness inside him again.”
In the days and weeks since completing his treatment, Brown has kept fans updated on social media about his life back in the “really real world,” where he says things are “going very well” and where he is “stretching my wings for a new adventure—this next part of my life."
Those new adventures include a YouTube Channel, which Brown recently launched to continue documenting his life post-rehab and have “more wonderful adventures together” with his fans.
Alaskan Bush People will return to Discovery in 2019.