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The Tragic Real-Life Story Of Matt Bradley From Deadliest Catch

Throughout the impressive 18-season tenure of Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch," one vessel has been a staple of the series — the F/V Northwestern. Helmed by the Hansen family, the boat was bought by patriarch Sverre for $1.2 million after his original boat, the Foremost, sank at sea. According to his son Sig, who now serves as captain, the Northwestern is a Marco fishing boat (which he equates to a Cadillac).

The F/V Northwestern might boast a long history on "Deadliest Catch," but off-screen, several individuals on board have gotten into their share of trouble. A prime example is the captain himself, who drunkenly assaulted an Uber driver in 2017 and received a year of probation (as reported by The Seattle Times). Then there's his brother Edgar, who in 2018 admitted to the sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl, as reported by People.

However, the Northwestern's troubles haven't been limited to the Hansen clan. In fact, Matt Bradley, a long-time deckhand on the boat, battled his own demons for a number of years. Though he can now be seen on the Saga, most of his sea career was spent on the Northwestern after his childhood friend Edgar Hansen introduced him to the art of crab fishing.

"Deadliest Catch" didn't get its title for no reason. The fishermen who are featured put their lives on the line as they brave the tumultuous Bering Sea. The stress can take a toll on their well-being, with many turning to alcohol and drugs when not on the water, according to Bradley, who understands the horrors of addiction firsthand. Let's take a look at the tragic but inspiring story of the experienced deckhand.

Deadliest Catch's Mike Bradley overcame addiction

Mike Bradley may be a "Deadliest Catch" regular, but many viewers might be unaware of his battle with addiction. For over 20 years, Bradley was a heavy opiate/heroin user. Though he would stop using before heading out to sea, he told "Unpause Your Life with Dr. Cali Estes" how he'd usually get sick from the withdrawal. On the boat, he'd recount riveting tales of high-speed chases and eating steak tartare during lavish hotel stays. Meanwhile, his crewmates talked about how they were settling down with families and homes. Sig Hansen would often pay Bradley in increments out of fear he'd blow it all at once.

It took a while for Bradley to get clean, but after some time and a few relapses, he did. So did his wife Angela. At the time of the interview in 2018, Bradley was celebrating four years sober. According to his Facebook page, he's staying strong in his sobriety. "Today, I have a life worth living," he said. Bradley reflected on the pride felt when he was able to purchase a new pair of shoes, rather than steal them.

Bradley's goal is to help others get into a 12-step program, including addicts who are homeless. He also serves as an inspiration to others. Jeremy Broderick, founder of California's Windward Way Recovery, said (via HuffPost), "People like Matt Bradley give me hope for our future as a nation. Even in the dark times of the opioid crisis, when so many people are hurt, scared and dying, we are recovering and thriving."