“BTS is a safe place where I can fall and learn and not face judgment,” August M. shares from the Creative Matters office.

Born the only son of five siblings in Berkeley, California in 1992, August’s parents divorced when he was only five years old. That was also the same year he took his first drink. “The whole household was somewhat unstable growing up,” he describes. He lived with his mother till he was fifteen but then moved in with his father when he was sixteen; a father who had not really been in his life very much up to that point. It was around this time that he began drinking and smoking pot. He did this mostly while hanging out with friends; the same friends he would pull pranks with, such as “TP-ing” neighbors’ houses and following teachers home and “egging” their cars.

But it wasn’t all drinking, smoking and juvenile delinquency. “My best friend Matthew and his parents took me under their wings and introduced me to acting, music and church,” he recalls. This connection helped provide some stability in August’s life and it also kept him out of some of that trouble described
earlier. A good student when he applied himself, August also displayed a side of his personality that would continue on as a thread well into his adulthood. “I had a 4.3 GPA at one point but then some drama would enter my life, I would rebel against it and my grades would drop,” he recollects.

Following high school August moved south to Los Angeles to pursue his love of acting. “I started studying at Playhouse West under Robert Carnegie and after a couple years I began working,” he says. To aid him in that process August signed with his manager, Tim Taylor, at Luber Rockland Entertainment. At the same time he also signed with his agent, Joel King, at Pakula King and Associates. “They both really believed in me and gave me a shot,” he remembers. Because of that belief and his significant talent, August was able to get a lot of Theatrical work, mostly in Television.

But then around the age of twenty-five his life was turned upside down, due to some significant legal issues. “My drinking escalated, due to the stress of the situation, and I started hanging out with an unstable crowd of alcoholics and showing up at auditionsndrunk,” he explains.

By age twenty-six it got so bad that he stopped auditioning altogether. He then turned to his other love of music to help him start fresh in another creative outlet and industry. And it began to go really well for him, but much like with his schoolwork and acting career, some emotional or psychological setback would occur, putting him back into a depression funk, and his drinking would worsen. “I would stop one of my music video shoots and have a P.A. (Production Assistant) go get me a pint of whatever I was drinking at the time,” he shares. And it wasn’t long before he began showing up at recording sessions drunk, falling asleep and even blacking out in front of producers.

Concerned for their colleague and friend, many of the people in his life told him that he had a problem. Stubborn and somewhat defiant, August began to isolate and withdraw from his community. At one point he stayed in his apartment for four straight months and, as he recalls, “I also started drinking and
driving as well, waking up in my apartment or car following a blackout.” It all came to a head in 2021 when he got his first D.U.I. Now he finally realized he had a problem. Fortunately, August knew someone at Beit T’Shuvah and he was able to connect with Lysa Harrison. Because he was dealing with that D.U.I. Lysa got him in touch with Rabbi Marc Blumenthal in Alternative Sentencing and he was able to begin his recovery at BTS on October 5, 2021.

“It’s everything I needed in my life,” he describes. Having found it extremely difficult to obtain a therapist or any kind of help for his mental health issues and addiction, August has been gifted with an outstanding team of professionals at BTS to assist him in getting to the heart of his struggles. “Rabbi
Kerry has helped me immensely with respect to my spiritual healing. Leah, my counselor, has been crucial to my overall recovery and my therapist, Stacey, has given me much needed consistency and clarity in facing my psychological challenges,” he explains with a smile.

And as mentioned earlier, August has finally found a safe and loving refuge where he can engage in self-discovery without fear of falling or judgment. He’s also become an integral and active part of the Beit T’Shuvah community. As part of the BTS Running for Recovery LA Marathon Team, August will be joining his teammates this upcoming March 20th as they run to raise money and awareness for BTS. And as a member of the BTS Music Department, he’s finally found a place where he can work and create without needing alcohol. He concludes by saying, “I’m trusted by Max and company to create on my own in the studio. And it’s also been cool to build trust in myself again.”

Now with a new and sober perspective, August is optimistic not only about his future creative endeavors but also with his emotional, mental and spiritual health moving forward. And we at Beit T’Shuvah are thankful you found your way to composing an edifying and lyrical harmony between your inner self and your outward artist and creator.

To donate to August’s fundraising effort as a member of the 2022 BTS LA Marathon Team, click below and give what you can to help him, along with all the members of the team, raise money to help other souls, like August, get the help they need to conquer their addictions.

Spotlight on August M. by Randall S.

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