“Grand Cayman” Star Chelsea Flynn Got Sober After Hitting 'Rock Bottom' on TV: 'A Wake-Up Call' (Exclusive)

"I recognize that the drunk version of me is not the best version of me," the mom of three tells PEOPLE

<p>Chelsea Flynn/Instagram</p> Chelsea Flynn

Chelsea Flynn/Instagram

Chelsea Flynn

Chelsea Flynn, star of the reality series Grand Cayman: Secrets in Paradise, made big life changes after hitting "rock bottom" on camera for millions to see.

In the year since the season 1 finale was filmed, the 34-year-old businesswoman, an expat to the island from England, has taken to therapy, buckled down on her fitness and quit drinking altogether.

She says she got sober "because it was clear to me the breakdowns I had in the show" could be traced back to alcohol, she tells PEOPLE. "I recognize that the drunk version of me is not the best version of me."

"It might feel good to have a few shots with the rest of the cast and the crew," she adds, "but play the tape forward: How are you going to end up later? Are you going to start getting angry and over-emotional and misconstruing things with your friends?"

Flynn admits it was hard to watch herself on the Freeform reality show during moments when she would lash out or melt down after drinking. At times, even, she felt "embarrassed, ashamed and really angry at myself" for her "messy" behavior, which she describes as a "rollercoaster."

"What you see in the show is so legitimately real and raw. I was mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically struggling," says Flynn. "It took a lot for me to pull myself out of that, even to show up on camera. It was genuinely happening in real time."

Related: Meet the Cast Making a Splash on Grand Cayman: Secrets in Paradise (Exclusive)

<p>Disney/Jeff Daly</p> Chelsea Flynn for season 1 of "Grand Cayman: Secrets in Paradise"

Disney/Jeff Daly

Chelsea Flynn for season 1 of "Grand Cayman: Secrets in Paradise"

She was losing weight, not eating and often feeling "frantic." Says Flynn, "Looking at how I look in the show, it looks like a different person. Now I'm eating, I'm nourishing my body, I'm feeding my mind. I'm getting rid of anything toxic in my life, not just people, but substances and bad habits." (Strength-training was a game-changer for her too: "There's something so powerful for me as a woman to learn to lift weights with the big boys in the gym.")

A contributing factor to Flynn's past turmoil was her "emotionally turbulent relationship" with ex Tyson, who makes appearances on Grand Cayman. She says she eventually “came to my senses and finally left Tyson" after their "toxic" on-off coupling, much of which is depicted on the show.

Tyson recently said on a podcast that he doesn't plan on watching the reality show but feels he was painted as the "bad guy" on it. "People are entitled to their own opinion," he said, adding that he was not paid to be on the series. "I didn’t do it for the money. I did it for the purpose of getting back together" with Flynn, he said about agreeing to film.

He also admitted to cheating on Flynn while she was pregnant with their son Taron, who is now 2 years old.

<p>Disney/Jeff Daly</p> Chelsea Flynn with costars on "Grand Cayman: Secrets in Paradise"

Disney/Jeff Daly

Chelsea Flynn with costars on "Grand Cayman: Secrets in Paradise"

Today, the exes have "minimal contact," says Flynn, and they "very strictly keep [co-parenting] correspondences" to emails.

She adds, "He's a great father and that's all I care about. Who he is as a person and what he does in his personal life is no concern of mine at all. ... Whether I like it or not he's going to be in my life for the rest of my life."

Her main motivator for lifting herself up and regaining her confidence wasn't to find a new relationship, though. It was her children. In addition to her youngest, Taron, Flynn is also mom to daughter Sienna, 9, and son Jacob, 7, from a previous relationship. They give her "perspective," she explains.

"It was a wake-up call, that you have three children and now is not the time to be sitting here dwelling, being a victim and making those kinds of choices again. I knew that that was breaking point for me," she says.

While she has "no regrets" about her journey and what brought her to where she is today, Flynn says it "makes me sad" her kids "had to see me broken" during her low points.

Related: Grand Cayman's Selita Ebanks Says a 'Light Switch' Went Off When She Turned 40: 'I'm Gonna Own It' (Exclusive)

<p>Chelsea Flynn/Instagram</p> Chelsea Flynn with her three kids

Chelsea Flynn/Instagram

Chelsea Flynn with her three kids

Another romance is "not something I will rush into lightly" nor her "main focus right now," she says. That door remains open, though: "I still see the good in people, and there are good men out there."

By documenting her experiences on Grand Cayman, Flynn hopes to inspire viewers to look in the mirror and make a change for the better. “I am human. I'm not perfect,” she says, adding, “But I've changed my standards for myself, and it's hard.”

Her reminder to other people going through a rock-bottom scenario? “Don't give up. You are worthy. Remember who you are.”

And set boundaries too, then “stick to them,” she says. “I had none before and now I have boundaries that enable me to show myself love. … It's okay to miss somebody who hurt you, but you cannot go back. You need to sit with those feelings and never look back.”

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. 

Grand Cayman: Secrets in Paradise is now streaming on Hulu.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.