Whether you are a fan of Disney Channel’s “Alaskan Bush People,” or whether you are a critic of the Reality TV show, Matt Brown’s words about his struggles with alcohol are heartbreaking. During a recent interview with People, Matt spoke about his downward spiraling life, anxiety, and of feeling ashamed.  As the article’s writer, Patrick Gomez, states in his opening, “Matt Brown didn't like the man he was becoming.”

What kind of man did Matt become?

When speaking about his family, the oldest Brown son admits that (like any man dealing with alcohol), he was hesitant to reveal his problem to his family.  After finally gathering up the courage, Matt first opened up to Gabe, 25, and then to his parents Billy and Ami.

 Of course, like a well-written script, the oldest Brown child says that his family’s support “was unbelievable,” that it made him “instantly” fee better, and that he is on a “successful” journey.

Living a real life on reality TV.

One of Matt’s most symbolic comments during a tour of the Alaskan Bush People home is when he introduces his brother and says, “This is my brother Bam.  And yes, that’s his real name.”  Really? Bam, or Bam Bam, is in reality Joshua Brown. Bam is actually Joshua’s middle name and was given to him in honor of his great-grandfather's love of the Flintstones character Bamm-Bamm.

But is Matt really speaking about reality, or is the oldest Brown family member just saying what he is supposed to say on a reality TV show? 

The truth behind Matt’s family.

Matt’s parents, who are from small North Texas towns, got married in 1979 and lived in Fort Worth for a while.

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After running a small plumbing business, Billy realized that working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. was not quite was he made for. In 1983, after having traveled across the United States, Billy and Ami decided to sell the family’s truck and tools and to spend the money they had to head to Alaska by ship.

Matt, then 3, and Joshua, then 1, spent their first winter and first 18 months in a trapper shack on an island about 50 miles from Wrangell. During that time, Billy and Ami learned that while life in the wilderness was rough, they could survive. “After we realized we weren't going to die, we fell in love with everything," says Billy about those early years in the Alaskan wilderness.

In the coming years, the Brown family grew to seven children including now Matt, 33, Joshua (Bam), 31, Bear, 28, Gabe, 25, and Noah, 23, and daughters Snowbird, 21, and Rain, 12. Despite the challenges of living in the wilderness, the family’s love never changed – but their relationship to civilization changed.

Everything comes with a price.

After Billy self-published books about his life in the Alaskan wilderness, he was approached by Discovery Channel for a reality TV show.

Today, the show is drawing in an audience of 5 million people, but the family members have been paying a price.

In January 2016, Billy and his second-oldest son Joshua were sentenced to 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to lying on Permanent Fund dividend applications with the state of Alaska. The case against the Browns revealed that the family had not lived there from 2009 to 2012. When the verdict was handed down in 2016, the family was also not living in the state.  

Since the Discovery Channel began airing the “Alaskan Bush People” reality TV show in 2014, Billy Brown always stated to the show’s viewers that he had lived the past 30 years in the Alaskan wilderness. While court documents have proven that this is not the case, fans undoubtedly feel the Brown family’s love and respect for their environment.  

Matt’s predicament.

Matt, like his father, did not intend to deceive Alaska or the viewers of “Alaskan Bush People.” Billy Brown sincerely apologized to the state that he calls his home. As for Matt, he speaks highly of his family and the values that he grew up with. However, being 33 years old and not having a wife or children of his own, is alcohol the only way to escape?