Marc Maron on the 'Dire Circumstances' That Led to His Sobriety: 'I Was Dealing with Some Fairly Serious Psychotic Delusions'
05/04/2016 AT 02:00 PM EDT
The WTF podcaster, who plays a fictionalized version of himself in the IFC show, is going to rehab in the new season after his character got hooked on pain killers and had a public meltdown in last year's season 3 finale.
For Maron, who is 16 years sober, the fictional stent in rehab comes decades after the first time he tried to get clean.
"I was a lot younger. I was, like, 22. I was clearly out of control. And my parents were worried," Maron, 52, tells PEOPLE. "I was worried for my sanity."
He was living in Los Angeles and having delusions and other complications from cocaine usage.
"I was dealing with some fairly serious psychotic delusions. Because my parents were concerned and I had detached from them and I had blown a lot of money, I had really drifted," recalls Maron. "I came home. I went back to New Mexico. I spent the summer there."
After rehab in Albuquerque, it took him years to stay clean for good.
"It took some pretty dire circumstances to really get me sober. My career was not really going anywhere. I was in a marriage that was not good. I was not being a good man. I was using cocaine and alcohol and weed most of the week, and I was trying to hide it from my wife," says Maron, whose marriage eventually fell apart. "I would go on the road and get into some pretty dangerous situations."
One of the last times used was with comedian Mitch Hedberg, who died of a drug overdose in 2005 at 37.
"Eventually with the help of a woman, who I eventually married, I got the nature of recovery in my head and I stayed with it," says Maron.
He says sending his Maron character to rehab after years of sobriety was about "creating a cautionary tale that was not outside of the wheelhouse of the possibilities."
"I see guys who have been sober decades go out, and it's a horrible reality," says Maron.
Maron returns Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on IFC.