“I basically got sober from March  until the middle of June. Going into the season, I was feeling really good,” the 36-year-old Bravo star told Us ahead of the Thursday, February 4, premiere. “I learned a lot about myself; I don’t have to drink to be fun or to be the cool guy. … And I certainly had some other things I was working on personally and it’s just better to work on those when you’re sober. So, I went in this summer thinking moderation was going to be my friend. I felt really good about that. I will say, it’s hard being in the house with everybody and having all these different things going on.”
Carl added that he had “some drinks here and there” during the six-week production last summer.
“You’ll see, like, this balance. You’ll see [me] going to bed earlier, waking up earlier,” he said, noting that filming fulltime vs. just the weekends changed things too. “It’s a side of me that’s been there, [but] the last four seasons, you [saw] me Friday, Saturday, Sunday, which is definitely a slice of who I’ve been in the past, but I think this year, it’d be cool for people to really see how hard we work day to day.”
The former dental salesman told Us that his costars have all “been super supportive” of his journey, citing Kyle Cooke, Amanda Batula and Lindsay Hubbard specifically.
“It’s surprising, but up until a couple of years ago, I had a lot of social anxiety when I’m in big groups,” he told Us. “I would drink to kind of loosen up and I think a lot of us do that. But it was when I was drinking past that point and becoming someone that didn’t really want to be around. … [My costars] just want me to be happy. I told myself going into the summer, if I had a game plan of when I was going to drink, have one or two [and] turn it off or if I have more than that to make sure you mix waters in.”
Carl continued: “I’m a lot more than just my drinking and partying and I hope this season you’ll see a lot of the other side of Carl himself regardless of drinking or partying.”
Another bonus of cutting back on the booze? Social media has been buzzing about Carl’s “glow-up” in-between seasons 4 and 5.
“It’s very flattering and very sweet to hear. I was a late bloomer. I was never viewed as someone, like, the hot guy or the good-looking dude. I was just the nice, fun guy,” he said of the extra attention. “So, I’m very flattered and honored that people think that, truthfully.”
Carl added that fans have asked him whether he’s had work done.
“People [have asked] me if I had about my ears pinned back, people have asked me about my nose … I’ve had Botox questions,” he said. “Literally, all I’ve done is just take better care of myself. I drink a ton of water. Obviously, not drinking helps your glow-up. The meditation, just feeling more comfortable with myself, I think that kind of shows on the outside. I think the beard definitely helps a little bit too.”
Summer House airs on Bravo Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.
Listen to these must-have summer beauty tips from Bobbi Brown in under 5 minutes!