Meet Eddie. Eddie’s Brain Story is a familiar one; and whether you realize it or not it’s a story that you, a loved one, or someone very close to you has most likely experienced. Eighty-eight thousand people die from alcohol-related deaths yearly in the United States alone, and in 2018, over ten thousand of these fatalities were caused by drivers operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. We spoke with Eddie, an active, supporting, and compassionate member of Alcoholics Anonymous, about the life he led while under the influence, and his life after learning to control his alcoholism. Join the United Brain Association as he opens up about his journey, and how he hopes his story will help.
Anthony Hopkins Alcoholism Recovery Story – From SoberJames
There’s no question that you know, or have known someone whose life has been impacted by alcoholism: a study from 2017 observed that one in eight Americans is an alcoholic. Our friends and family that may be counted amongst these numbers may go unnoticed, or their addiction may not seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that addiction is different for every single person out there, and there are resources and support networks available to help conquer this disease.
The Many Faces of Alcoholism – Functioning Alcoholics
Not every alcoholic succumbs to the more devastating effects of the disease. This may be the most important thing to remember when considering who of our loved ones may live with alcoholism. For some, alcoholism means drinking, in secret, when no one is looking. Having a drink before work, using it to unwind at lunch. It can sometimes be surprising when we learn someone who is outgoing and happy, and even successful in their professional and personal lives may be struggling with alcohol addiction.
“At AA meetings, there’s a statement: Alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful. I agree with all – I want to add one word: sneaky. It’s very sneaky. There are a lot of things associated with it: Sneaky Pete, it is sneaky. The current pandemic makes it worse – you don’t always have your support system available when you need it. Isolation compounds it. You need a support system now – due to isolation – more than ever.”
Is there a fine line between drinking socially and alcohol abuse? Of course – but medical professionals make a clear distinction. Enjoying a few drinks socially can easily turn into harmful behavior, and that’s where Eddie tells us, it’s time to seek out support. We asked him if there was one moment in his life that made him realize his drinking had become a real problem:
“How do you want me to list the ways? Alphabetically, Chronologically, Geographically? It was quite an accumulation of incidents. The sheer volume of incidents finally got my attention. Different problems could all be traced back to drinking, but I didn’t know how to make the connection. A person cannot do this on their own.”
My Alcoholism – 5 Years In Recovery from Janet Devlin
Eddie conveyed that once he chose to take control of his disease, seek support, and move forward, it meant that life after alcoholism didn’t mean he could stop being vigilant. “My behavior today is dramatically different than it used to be. Years ago, I was unbridled and out of control; today, I am bridled. I exercise daily and meditation helps keep me centered.”
Life After Alcoholism – Support, Acknowledgment, and Forgiveness
While Eddie has thankfully lived the past 30 years of his life sober, he recognizes that his disease means he will always need to be on his toes. When we asked Eddie why he wanted to share his Brain Story with us, his response reinforced the support you’ll find in alcoholic support groups across the country.
“I hope that some aspects of my own story might be identifiable to someone with a drinking problem. By virtue of the identification of one alcoholic to another, it can be very helpful. If someone else is wondering…What’s going on in my life? Am I unique? Am I alone? Knowing that someone else has gone through the same ordeal, had the same problems, and can identify with that person.”
Once Eddie decided to take control of his disease, he explored a variety of therapies to help him take back his life. When asked about the treatments he’s utilized, he emphasized the need for mental health support. “Psychiatric counseling: Over 30 different psychiatrists. A couple were “long-term” with some of the best psychiatrists around.” he said, but when speaking to the support network that comes with Alcoholics Anonymous, he says this: “Is AA also a treatment? Or lifestyle? AA is the graduate study of Alcoholism – way beyond anything taught at any university.”
Eddie wanted to fiercely convey that a pivotal component to recovery is support, and the understanding that you are not alone if you’re struggling with alcoholism. “By telling my story, I want to clearly show them that they are not alone and that there may be some elements in my story, as well as others, that they can identify with and see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel if they want to pursue it, and they don’t have to do it on their own.”
In the fight to ensure that anyone struggling with alcohol addiction has the resources they need to help navigate their way out of these dark times, we’ve put together a list of alcohol addiction and mental health resources to help you or a loved one find the light.
- Alcoholics Anonymous – Find meetings, community groups, and networks across the U.S.
- Family First Intervention – A list of recovery resources, family community support, and health and abuse-related information to help you find treatment.
- Alcohol.org – Find medical information, treatment recovery options, community resources, addict and recovery stories, and organization’s profiles.
- List of mental health resources from UBA – Here you’ll find the United Brain Association’s list of mental health resources. You are not alone and don’t have to do this on your own. You are well-loved, and there are people here to help.
At the United Brain Association we strive to raise awareness for, and fund, promising research to help find cures for brain disorders and diseases worldwide. For the latest updates, news, events, and Brain Stories, please sign up for our newsletter.