What do you think caused Ryan to stumble down such a dark path in life?

While two paths and up at very different places, when they first branch off, they aren't that different. Many teenagers and young adults experiment with drugs and alcohol and then go on to live productive, successful lives. An addiction can form because of a traumatic upbringing, but it can also grow for other reasons. Many people have some form of trauma in their early lives that doesn't look like trauma to an outsider, and drugs make a person feel better after a long time of something sour living in their brain. It can also be an undiagnosed disorder, something as simple as undiagnosed ADHD can make people spiral because it hurts and you feel like a screwup when you don't know what's wrong with you. It could be something as simple as predisposition to addiction, trying the wrong drug as a teenager, and enjoying a general lack of supervision because your parents trust you. My distant cousin started using heroin because he felt so much pressure to maintain good grades and get into a good college like his siblings, and heroin helped him relax on the weekends - his public life was that of a star student who was active in the community and took advantage of every opportunity to make a positive impact, and then he died from an overdose the weekend after graduation. So you never know what someone is struggling with on the inside, and it doesn't have to look big to other people, all it takes is someone small amplified over time to make someone crave the silence and good feels drugs provide. I think the best way to prevent it is to have a great relationship with your kids, lots of quality time and lots of conversation, and even that isn't foolproof.

In Ryan's case, maybe he felt trapped by teen parenthood and the pressure of being in the public eye. Maybe he hated his job but lacked the motivation to do anything else. Maybe he partied on the weekends, and that was the best part of his life. Maybe he started partying a little bit during the week, too - makes long days easier to get through, once you know how your body will respond and you feel in control - and then it became hard to get through the days without it. Whatever the motivating factors, he hit a critical point along the way where it became impossible to turn back without professional help. For years his dad is just pure anger and grief, and his mom is in denial. Eventually he meets his wife who jumps into a PR position of trying to make his addiction go away publicly but ignoring it privately. Ryan tries to get treatment but sobering up makes you realize how deeply you've alienated everyone in your life. Ryan hasn't just alienated his friends and family, he's on an international reality show and made news for his antics. Everyone knows he is, and everyone who knows his face knows what he has done. Maybe he's been shamed for his addiction by everyone in his life and now he shames himself. Getting sober means he will have to face reality. Life beyond his addiction looks as hopeless as life inside it.

All of that to say - Ryan does come from a "good" family, but oftentimes good families have dysfunctional patterns that will allow cetain things to grow and fester. A good family doesn't necessarily mean a close family or a family with honest communication and healthy boundaries.

/r/teenmom Thread