See The Real World Season One Stars Reunite for the First Time in 20 Years on E!'s For Real

Eric Nies didn’t just star on a reality television series—he starred on the first-ever iteration of MTV’s The Real World, a show so influential that it’d go on to shape the genre as we know it today.

The experience would be monumental for anyone, but as Eric reveals in this sneak peek of E!’s For Real: The Story of Reality TV, it probably saved his life. 

“If The Real World didn’t happen and my life didn’t go the way that it did, I might’ve been dead,” the 49-year-old reality TV vet tells host Andy Cohen in the above clip, sitting alongside his former castmates Julie Gentry, Norman Korpi and Heather B. Gardner for their first reunion in 20 years.

“There were a lot of wounds that I was suppressing from my childhood and I was on a self-destructive path,” Eric adds. “And I started using drugs at a young age.”