"When I had gotten out of Jersey Shore, I had a year to settle down and find out who I was, and I wasn't in the best shape," Sorrentino tells PEOPLE. "I had to rebuild myself inside and out."
That included gaining control of an addiction to prescription medication, drugs and alcohol, with a trip to rehab in 2012.
"I've spent the last year in recovery," says Sorrentino, 31, adding that he feels lucky that he finally took control of his issues.
"Because of the parties and the traveling … the percentage on recovery is not the best," he confesses. "It was extremely hard and it took every ounce of effort for me, and I just put my head down and kept moving forward."
"But," he adds, "today makes eight months [of sobriety]. No drugs, no prescription drugs, no hard drugs. None of that stuff."
And despite being arrested last month for an altercation with his brother, Frank, Sorrentino says he's got his life in order.
As for the fight with his brother, with whom he costars on the new reality series The Sorrentinos, which airs Tuesdays on TVGN, "we're all good now," he says. "I've been arguing and fighting with my brothers since I was 6 or 7," he says. "I work with my family and sort of live with them, so it gets a little tricky. No matter what happens I love my family."