Yawn announced her niece’s passing on November 6, sharing a carousel of photos of her niece with her followers and fans. “Today we lay to rest my niece Jessi,” Yawn wrote in the caption. “Alcoholism took her life. She was 39 years young and our hearts are broken! Addiction steals relationships, children, mothers, fathers, and more lives! If you are suffering, or someone in your family is from addiction please call 1-855-905-3334.”
In the comments, many Below Deck Mediterranean and Bravo stars offered their support to Yawn. Kasey Cohen wrote, “Sending you lots of love, thoughts, and prayers.” Real Housewives of Orange County star Braunwyn Windham-Burke also reached out, writing, “I’m so sorry Sandy, I’m always here if you need anything.”
Captain Sandy Suffered From Addiction Herself
During her time on Below Deck Mediterranean, Yawn has opened up about her previous struggles with addiction. Yawn is currently 32 years sober. “I was a mess,” Yawn said about her addiction to Showbiz CheatSheet in August 2019. “By the grace of God, I’m alive. No matter how much money you have, it’s not going to save your life if you are an addict or an alcoholic. And I was a major addict and alcoholic.”
Captain Sandy Has Helped Others Deal With Their Addiction
Over the years, Yawn has also helped others by sharing her story of addiction. During Season 4 of Below Deck Mediterranean, she talked to deckhand Travis Michalzik about his own drinking. “In my career, I’ve helped many people who have drinking problems,” Yawn said about the experience during a Below Deck Med After Show, according to Bravo. “I’m one of those people… I kept getting arrested, drinking and driving. And then one day, I finally woke up and said, ‘I want off the merry-go-round.’ And then I reached out for help. So when I smelled alcohol on [Travis’] breath, we started talking, and it was such an organic, beautiful conversation. I just wanted him to know that I’m here, and I could help him get help if that’s what he wanted.”
Yawn has also helped Real Housewives of Orange County star Braunwyn Windham-Burke with her recent journey to sobriety, which she revealed during an appearance on Bravo’s The Daily Dish podcast.
“She really clarified it for me. Which was, ‘You had no problem getting drunk on camera. Why do you have such a hard time getting sober?’” Windham-Burke explained on the podcast. “And I told her the truth, ‘Because what if I fail?’ And she said, ‘Look, do it. You’re gonna be accountable.’ So, Captain Sandy was really instrumental in me calling up my producer and saying hey, here’s the truth, I’m an alcoholic. I’m gonna get sober. I’m gonna try and we’re gonna do it on camera and we’re gonna do it right. We’re gonna show the full story. And they just said, ‘OK, we’re here.’”