Leah Messer always wants to be honest with her daughters about her journey to sobriety, even if it means being "open and raw and vulnerable" about the most painful time in her life. Messer spoke with PopCulture.com ahead of the Tuesday, Sept. 1 return of Teen Mom 2, revealing that she hasn't kept her addiction story from her three girls — 7-year-old Adalynn and 10-year-olds Aliannah and Aleeah — after sharing the details in her book Hope, Grace & Faith.
In Messer's memoir, she candidly discussed her pain medication addiction as well as family issues and suicidal thoughts, which she told PopCulture had been met with support and kindness from her friends and fans. "I have been in complete awe of the feedback and love and appreciation of everyone," she said. "Being open and raw and vulnerable — it took a while to be comfortable with who I am."
While Messer was still "on the road to recovery" and discovering where she fit in life, the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction kept her from speaking openly about her struggles, but with the release of her book, she feels like she can "close out the chapters of [her] life there." Part of that means being honest with her daughters about what has happened in her past.
"My girls are getting ready to go into middle school, and there's nothing I would want to hide from them," she told PopCulture. "I'm not perfect; they're not going to be perfect. We're all imperfectly perfect. ...Even with addiction, I want them to understand what can happen if they go down that path and how scary it can be."
That honesty extends to Ali's muscular dystrophy as she enters her preteen years and sometimes struggles when her sisters are able to reach milestones she isn't. That doesn't mean Messer doesn't encourage her to try to push herself, which along with Ali's own will power, has led to powerful moments like the little girl managing to button her own pants. "I've never seen a child so determined," Messer praised.
Showing so much of herself and her family's journey on MTV can be difficult, but the reality star explained, "If I can use [Teen Mom 2] to make a difference in one person's life, I'm happy." Don't miss Messer and her family's journey in all-new episodes of Teen Mom 2, returning for a brand new season on Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. ET on MTV. For more on your favorite Teen Mom stars from PopCulture, click here.